Author Topic: Restoration of copper-plated chassis?  (Read 384 times)

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Offline neil

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Restoration of copper-plated chassis?
« on: December 03, 2018, 12:20:46 am »
I have an old Heathkit AR-3 receiver that I'd like to restore, but the copper-plated steel chassis is not great - in fact, it was well beyond just trying to polish or buff a few areas. I've disassembled the radio, and bead-blasted the chassis parts so that they're smooth now, but of course, missing the plating in what were the bad areas.

I could paint it, but I'd much rather restore the copper if that's possible. Anyone know of a service that will re-plate it for me?
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Restoration of copper-plated chassis?
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2018, 01:04:58 am »
Anyone who will do an odd lot like this is likely to be a small local outfit.  I'd try google with "copper plating services near me" as the search term, or if you don't like to share your location use near with an appropriate location.
 

Offline 6PTsocket

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Re: Restoration of copper-plated chassis?
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2018, 01:06:17 am »
Copper is pretty easy to plate. I remember kits that just used a flashlight battery for power. I think the electrolyte is copper sulphate it is basically getting the chassis good and clean and filling a pail with the right electrolyte and hanging the chassis from one terminal and a piece copper from the other. I'll let you google the fine points on line. It is not dangerousl like chrome or cadmium plating. People do copper, zinc and nickel all the time. You can probably find a kit. There is even a method that just soaks cotten with the electrolyte, attaches a copper wire to the pad and swabs the chassis. Don't let the wire touch the chassis. Definitely a DIY project. Comercial chrome platers used to start with copper. If they still do, then any chrome plater can dip your chassis.

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Online Ian.M

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Re: Restoration of copper-plated chassis?
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2018, 02:35:32 am »
They still do. e.g.
http://www.castlechrome.co.uk/tripleplatedchrome.html

So just find a local plating shop that does that process and ask if they can do a heavy copper plate, and polish it as a custom order.

DIY copper plating isn't always so simple - it can be difficult to get an even highly adherent coating, as there is a tendency to grow 'brown fur' (fine microcrystalline dendrites).   Getting even plating needs the correct mix of chemicals in the bath, each in an appropriate concentration range and plating at an appropriate current density range, so there's a lot to go wrong if you are trying to set up a plating bath from raw chemicals with little experience.

Caswell are well known for their DIY plating kits and plating chemicals, so if you want the best chance of DIY success, you'd do well to start here: https://www.caswellplating.com/electroplating-anodizing/copper-plating-kits.html 
« Last Edit: December 03, 2018, 02:44:17 am by Ian.M »
 

Offline neil

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Re: Restoration of copper-plated chassis?
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2018, 03:06:51 am »
Thanks to all for the responses. I don't think I want to start trying to learn to plate (I've got enough hobbies already!), but I will start calling some chrome plating companies tomorrow. It's probably grossly expensive, but my first exposure to electronics was when my father and I built an AR-3 back in the late '50's so this has a large nostalgia factor.
 


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