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  #31  
Old 2015-02-01, 2:46pm
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Anymore info fpr the newbs? lol Like Ravens lead question?^
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  #32  
Old 2015-02-02, 12:20pm
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I asked the question about leads to amazon and the seller "electronixx" responded that the leads are included with their Tekpower 1803D unit. Here is the amazon.com link Amazon Tekpower 1803D. Price is $59.99 free shipping.

SBerg

Last edited by ItsMeSB; 2015-02-02 at 12:46pm.
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  #33  
Old 2015-02-02, 2:18pm
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I tried the conductive paint from Rio and it doesn't work. I thought maybe I had gotten a bad batch so I ordered another jar. That too was bad so I emailed Rio and did get a refund. I highly recommend using Safer Solutions copper conductive paint and it can be diluted with distilled water. My rectifier is the one on Amazon. I do want to try the graphite in latex paint - talk about a savings!
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  #34  
Old 2015-02-03, 12:08am
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Yes I bought a jar of graphite powder to try, thanks to you and Hannah for the heads up on rio's.

Mine also came with leads, my seller said 'banana to alligator' if you happen to need them. I guess they just come with them, I wasn't sure.

So as far as heating, I can't find much since all the links are for buying a heater lol. But I think if you're in the frozen tundra like me it can only help. I did find this page with temps http://gaterosplating.co.uk/Hints-and-Tips.php
I have a few tiny heaters for bettahs i can use.

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  #35  
Old 2015-02-04, 7:51am
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I'm picking up some graphite later this weekend at Mills Fleet Farm... It should be around $5-10 for a 1 pound bottle. The actual product is "EZ Slide Graphite Powder Seed Flow Lubricant" 1 pound bottle. I have found it online for $4.50 but the shipping is ridiculous as usual... Hopefully my Fleet Farm has it in stock. I'm going to try mixing with latex paint as well as floor wax if I can find the bottle I bought some time ago for some other project . I think the floor wax will be more waterproof for the organic items... Once my 1803D arrives, I'll give it a go and post results if anyone's interested. I have a tiny pinecone that I've been saving for SOMETHING... Now I know why... But it won't be the 1st thing I electroform as I don't want to mess it up.

Thanks for all the info you guys! This is going to be fun...
Sharon in Iowa
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  #36  
Old 2015-02-04, 12:14pm
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Use lacquer on organic items...the entire item needs to be sealed and dried. Do this before the conductive paint. I have soaked small cones in a lacquer/thinner mix...problem is they are still there...5 years later. Go figure!! On the leads to the rectifier...just remember red to positive/anode, black to negative/cathode. Attach with alligator clips or other clamps that are metal.
One other thing, the aquarium pump is to move the solution around, not to heat the solution. If you are living in a cold environment, try putting your container of solution on a medical heating pad or heating type tray (I have an old Salton tray). Heating pad would be my choice. NOT, and I repeat, NOT on a hotplate unless you are using glass as a container. Plastic would melt and you would end up in a 'pretty pickle'. Safety first and have fun. It is a great process...one I do not use nearly enough!!!
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  #37  
Old 2015-02-04, 4:13pm
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Just curious Carol... What did you mean when your wrote "I have soaked small cones in a lacquer/thinner mix...problem is they are still there...5 years later. Go figure!!" I'm not sure if you mean that the lacquer/thinner mix was soo successful that your copper pine cones are still in one piece 5 years later or something else

Sharon in Iowa
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  #38  
Old 2015-02-04, 9:13pm
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Ha ha...no i meant that they are still soaking. I never got around to finishing them. For some organic items, anything that is super porous, a soaking in lacquer and lacquer thinner solution will help. Dry the items and then coat again with lacquer before painting or dippin in conductive paint. The item needs to be sealed sufficiently enough to keep the electroforming solution from soaking into it. If your item isn't porous, just use the conductive paint.
Remember that you will need to have all the parts being electroformed in direct contact with the cathode, usually with wire. The current can only flow through whatever is connected.
Hope this helps.
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  #39  
Old 2015-02-05, 8:57am
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Have you ever tried straight graphic powder? Say after draining your pinecone from the lacquer, dipping into the powder, tapping off the excess... dip into both or just the graphite powder again? I think I'm going to experiment with this method just to see how well the item gets covered. Probably will be rough looking vs the brush on method... Can't use my mini pinecone though... it's the only one I have I'll start with some shells as I have lots of those...

So you're saying I would need to wrap the pinecone with a few turns of wire (finer gauge... 26-28?) to make it more conductive overall? Just wrapping the stem wouldn't be enough if the graphite coating is complete?

Thx,
Sharon in Iowa

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  #40  
Old 2015-02-05, 10:23pm
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I think that if you have a really good coating of conductive paint one heavier wire on the stem (18 gauge) would be enough. Mind you, I have never worked with the graphite powder...so you are on your own with that one. Try it on the shells, they are non porous. but the powder needs some type of lubricant to make it stick. Another way to get the wire to stick on is with wax (jewelers wax) keeping in mind that the wax would also need a coating of your conductive material, either paint or the graphite. You might ask Hannah how she is doing with her graphite powder/latex paint application! Can anyone answer this...is graphite some type of metal material?? How does it conduct the electricity is what I am wondering?? Does it have a high quantity of lead??? Going to look on the internet. Maybe I will find answers!
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  #41  
Old 2015-02-05, 10:29pm
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Okay! Found one answer on [url]www.preservearticles.com[url] here it is: "The presence of free electrons makes graphite a good conductor of electricity and it is used to make electrodes." That being said, Hannah's use of graphite would appear to be right on the money!!! That is money in our pockets as I am sure it is much cheaper and more readily available than conductive paint. Maybe that is why my conductive paint is silver...although for the $$ is may as well have silver in it. LOL WAY TO GO, HANNAH!!! Now to dig out my bottle of graphite powder and give it a whirl.
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  #42  
Old 2015-02-06, 7:31am
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So I made it to Mills Fleet Farm yesterday and sure enough they had a 16 oz (by weight) bottle of EZ Slide Graphite Powder. IT WAS $6.29... They also had much larger containers proportionately priced.

I was also happy to find 4" x 10" copper/brass sheets in gauges 16 thru 32 (not all gauges in each metal); I purchased 28/32 brass sheets @ $3.09/4.69 and 22/26 gauge copper sheets @ $5.89/7.79. They also had tiny tubing and solid rods in aluminum and brass as well as a few very small sizes of copper tubing at what I thought are also very good prices.

I live just outside Des Moines Iowa and even though it's a reasonably sized metropolitan area, we have few sources for craft/hobby stuff. And at the very few specialty "hobby" shops (not Joann or Michael's, etc.) their prices are very high...

Anyway thought I'd share the info in case anyone has a Mills FF nearby

I'll be trying the graphite powder mixed with latex paint first, as I couldn't find the liquid floor polish (wax) that I wanted. I'll post results once the rectifier arrives and I get going...

Sharon in Iowa

p.s. MFF also had the EZ Slide Graphite Powder in an alkyd "paintable" product... I guess this is a great thing to use on the underside of lawnmower decks. Keeps the grass from sticking... Anyway, even though it's not water based and easily cleaned up, might be worth trying. I'm curious as to how thick it is... couldn't tell by shaking the can ...

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  #43  
Old 2015-02-06, 10:49am
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If you don't have a Mills Fleet Farm near by you could try using the carbon arc rods sold at welding shops although I think you may have to buy a box of some 2 dozen. Mine gave me a half dozen from a damaged box when I expressed interest in them.
Graphite is pure carbon. You can shave the copper cladding off the carbon arc rods with a razor and just keep shaving the carbon in to a powder to mix with your paint.

I was thinking that inexpensive nail polish could work as a paint substitute or maybe even good old Elmer's glue thinned enough and mixed with this carbon dust.

The trouble with open pine cones is that you will have lots of "fingers" but unless you can get your graphite paint up into the crevices the fingers are not electrically connected.

Some companies are using oil paint on the surface of a water bath to get the paint into all the nooks and crannies of unusually shaped objects.
Maybe spraying or poring some kind of lacquer or paint on a tub of water and then sprinkling a good amount of carbon/graphite dust on that would get enough of the paint and the graphite into all of the crevices to make an entire pinecone conductive.
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  #44  
Old 2015-02-12, 3:25am
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Dang I hadn't thought of Fleet Farm for graphite! I will remember that. I paid 6 for 2 oz on ebay lol, free ship but still.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smkyquartz View Post
Use lacquer on organic items...the entire item needs to be sealed and dried. Do this before the conductive paint. I have soaked small cones in a lacquer/thinner mix...problem is they are still there...5 years later. Go figure!! On the leads to the rectifier...just remember red to positive/anode, black to negative/cathode. Attach with alligator clips or other clamps that are metal.
One other thing, the aquarium pump is to move the solution around, not to heat the solution. If you are living in a cold environment, try putting your container of solution on a medical heating pad or heating type tray (I have an old Salton tray). Heating pad would be my choice. NOT, and I repeat, NOT on a hotplate unless you are using glass as a container. Plastic would melt and you would end up in a 'pretty pickle'. Safety first and have fun. It is a great process...one I do not use nearly enough!!!
It was an aquarium heater. I have seen the pump in kits, just not the heater until the other night. Still have to get some things, but it is so cold that I have to bundle up where I torch/make things so I think I will get a heating pad

For the laquer, I bought water based, does it matter? I was just reading and it said 'plastic lacquer', now I'm afraid I will have to go back and return it. I've been sick so I thought I could sit and paint some things I've saved forever.

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  #45  
Old 2015-02-12, 9:10am
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I'm using real lacquer (oil based) as that's what I have on hand. I have three finishes; satin, semi-gloss and gloss. I chose to use satin. Hope it works OK... I see now why the pine cone needs to "soak"... The leaves of the cone are coating fine, but the top seems to keep soaking in the lacquer; I've let soak/dry over night twice as well as the first few coats dip/dry the first day. My shells are patiently waiting as testers...

I have almost all my stuff; thought I'd use a regular glass jar for the solution, but what I have isn't big enough and what I found at the store was too big... Ordered the 1000ml beaker from Amazon last night. Can't wait to try this out! Maybe by the end of the week...

What do you guys do with the CS solution when not in use? I liked the jar idea as I could then seal with the lid, but beakers don't have lids. Pour back into the original bottle with a funnel? And can you wash/rinse/dry the beaker in the kitchen sink with no worries?

Thanks,
Sharon in Iowa

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  #46  
Old 2015-02-13, 12:02am
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Good questions, I wondered too about storage and disposal. I read for hours last night just to learn as much as I could in general, I didn't find any answers on that. Which btw there is an oldie but goodie thread here someone boosted http://lampworketc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13716
..edit oh lol I see you already posted in it.

Also in one of the millions of articles I read last night someone uses water based lacquer, so I'm ok with that. Oh and Tink mentioned she did also in that thread.

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  #47  
Old 2015-02-14, 4:35pm
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the solution is reusable for quite some time. I have a large amount of solution and keep it in a 3 gal water jug. If you made a smaller amount a clean plastic milk carton will work. When you put it back into the storage container use a coffee filter in a funnel. Shake or agitate it good before reuse as it settles. You may even notice crystals forming at the bottom. After a lot of use it will be come dark looking,so use the filter/ funnel. I have yet to dispose of any, but would think it needs to go to hazardous waste. YES, you can wash your utensils in the sink!!

Would love to see pictures of what you all do!! BTW not to make any one jealous or anything...but I am visiting in Florida and going to beadcamp next week!! Woot Woot!!!
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  #48  
Old 2015-02-20, 8:48pm
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Well here's my belated report... I got my setup set up and my graphite painted shell only plated at the end where the wire was touching. I will admit that i did not leave it in very long once I noticed that it wasn't EF all over the surface simultaneously. I removed the shell and "restrung" it on the suspension wire and it again plated only in the very immediate areas where the wire was touching; 2nd time was touching at both ends. The good news is what was plating was bright penny colored and shiny.

My question is if I had left it in to continue the process would the plating have continued to spread from those initial points to eventually cover the entire shell or would the EF just get thicker at these two points? In an Interweave video I purchased, the process seemed to cover the whole piece rather quickly and then got thicker over time rather than grow from where the wire was connecting which in that case was a glued on jump ring. Am I making sense?

Another possibility is that I handled the shell too much after painting with the graphite. I have painted another shell wearing gloves to minimize the transfer of oils from my hands and I'll test this out tomorrow or Monday.

Last question, does anyone know HOW CONDUCTIVE the paint needs to be in OHMs? I purchased a multimeter to be sure my paint was conductive enough since I was making my own, but I'm not sure how to read it. When I touch the two pins to either side of the shell the needle flies over to the "good" section so it seems like the shell is conductive...

Thanks,
Sharon in Iowa
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  #49  
Old 2015-02-20, 10:53pm
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I think you will only get cladding where it started at the contact points. If it was going to cover it all it would have started all at once. Your coated surfaces are not connecting to each other so that is the source of it not working well for you.

I think the meter is not going to give you information that you can depend on if you are not familiar with using the meter.


I suggest using tweezers or pliers to handle things once you are at the coating stage so the is the absolute minimum contact.
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  #50  
Old 2015-02-21, 6:57am
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Thanks Phill... I'll give it another shot with the newly painted shell and see how that works. And I'll try to find some detailed instruction on the meter... starting with Google of course.
Sharon in Iowa
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  #51  
Old 2015-02-21, 8:03am
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The meter is kind of straight forward.

When you set it to the resistance range pick 'R x 1'. That is the lowest range.

Hold the two tips together and if the battery in the meter is good the needle will swing over past the end of the scale.
There is a wheel or maybe a knob that you use to adjust the needle to line up over the 'zero' mark right at the far end of the scale.
This adjustment will be slightly different for each of the ranges of electrical resistance, R x 1, Rx10, Rx100, Rx1K and such.

Once you have it set to zero for the range you are using then you can touch the two tips to two different spots on the item or you can hold one tip on the wire you are going to use and the other to multiple places on the thing you are going to electroplate. How far the needle moves back toward zero shows how good the electrical connection is.

Do keep in mind that the points on the tips can be sharp and it is possible to poke a hole in the coating and wind up scratching the coating away from the tip and losing the contact of the conductive coating between the tips.


Getting a good coating of the conductive paint is going to depend on how the clean the item is before you paint it on and ensuring that the coating covers the surface consistently with out gaps unless you want those gaps there and that there are not any isolated areas that don't have some paint connecting to the other areas. And then not getting any finger oils on the surface. Tweezers are the best way to keep things clean during the whole thing.

It is possible to do individual patches that are not connected with the paint but each area will need a separate wire going to it connected to the other wires or you can do them one session at a time but that can take up a lot of time.

Mostly it will be a matter of getting an even coating of conductive paint or paint and graphite dust all over the parts you want to grow the copper on and into the crevices if there are any.
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  #52  
Old 2015-02-21, 1:48pm
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Phill,

Thanks for the explanation... helps a lot! The lowest setting on this meter is x10 and after calibrating the needle to zero, it only moves a tiny bit from the original left position to about 60. If I set the resistance to x100 and then 1k, and recalibrate to 0 each time, I get between 10 - 8 and 1 - .75, respectively. And, of course, when I touch the tips to the small amount of copper on the first shell, it goes all the way to the right past zero.

Am I understanding correctly that the lower the number the more conductive the piece?
What range reflects good conductivity for electroforming?

I guess even the two I didn't touch need a couple more coats of the paint... Going to do that now...

Sharon
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  #53  
Old 2015-02-21, 1:50pm
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Also, when you wrote "Do keep in mind that the points on the tips can be sharp and it is possible to poke a hole in the coating and wind up scratching the coating away from the tip and losing the contact of the conductive coating between the tips." Do you mean the coating on the object to be plated or the silver coating on the probe? I'm thinking you meant the object...

Sharon
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  #54  
Old 2015-02-21, 4:17pm
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The silver on the probe is safe from just about anything we can do to them. They are solid metal so no worries there.

And yes I did mean the coating on the object. It is only going to be less than onion skin thick at the best so when you poke it with the tips you can easily scrape it off and it will stop conducting where it's missing. So do your testing and then it would be a good idea to recoat so you don't wind up with bare spots.

As to the meter, if Rx10 is the lowest scale then when the needle swings over to the 1 mark that means it has 1 times 10 'ohms' of resistance. Resistance is the opposite of conductance. Smaller resistance = more conductivity = good in this case.

If the needle goes past zero you will need to touch the tips together and reset the wheel so that it stops at zero if you want the numbers to make sense.

And yes the lower number the better.


Oh and turn the switch to off when you put the meter away. The battery will run down in a week if you leave it in one of the R x number positions even if nothing is touching the tips.
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Old 2015-02-21, 4:40pm
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Now that I understand, the meter will actually serve a purpose . I have coated the shells twice more while wearing gloves so they should be uncontaminated. Tomorrow I will check with the meter and try the EF again.

Thanks very much Phill for taking the time to get me on track...

Sharon in Iowa
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  #56  
Old 2015-02-21, 8:48pm
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Your quite welcome Sharon. I have had plenty of help along my way so it is time for just a little payback when I can.
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  #57  
Old 2015-02-22, 9:40am
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I'd like to confirm that it's ok use use a regular plastic container for the copper sulfate solution? I'd like to use a container that has a lid to keep it from evaporating and I also don't want to have to pour/strain the solution back into the original bottle EACH time I use it. Based on what I've read here I think it should be OK, but I want to be sure there are no problems with everyday plastic (old rubbermaid container and such)...

Thx,
Sharon in Iowa
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  #58  
Old 2015-02-22, 10:30am
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That is what my friend uses. A largish Rubbermaid cake box kind of plastic tray some 4 inches deep and a snap over lid.

I would caution you to store it out of reach of curious minds and critters but plastic is fine.

Oh and it goes without saying but I will say it anyway; Some sort of permanent marking that it should never be used for food again would be a good idea. These tools probably will clean up just fine but no one should take the chance either.

You will want to find out what the best neutralizer is whether it is kitty litter, oil absorbing kaolin or bentonite from the auto parts store or baking soda and keep it nearby in 5 or 15 pound quantities.
Kitty litter soaks up a multitude of stuff but I don't know that will stop the action of the acid so you might want it and baking soda.
One to contain the mess and the other to make it safe to dispose of.
Oh and look into how to dispose of it once it is used up too.
Some counties have pretty specific requirements.
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Old 2015-02-22, 8:45pm
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Well, my graphite/floorwax paint doesn't appear to be very conductive (at x10) but I've got it soaking anyway. The suspension wire was wrapped around the tip for the first couple of hours and the EF coating spread from top to bottom.

Even though the other day I got nice shiny copper where the wire was touching the shell, today I'm getting the dull salmon coating. The rectifier was set at .05 so I raised it to .09. I removed the wire and re-wrapped it before it got stuck; I wrapped it loosely around the whole shell. The copper does not scratch off and is only as rough as the graphite/floorwax coatings... not bad but not smooth either. I'll let it go overnight and see what happens...

Phill, I'm curious about your friends plastic container... Only 4" tall? Not tall like the beaker? Hmmm... How are things laid out with a flat vs. tall container?

I have a couple of containers of baking soda on the table where I'm setup, but like the cat litter idea or some other kind of absorbent. I do have a few nosy cats that I'm afraid will check stuff out one of these days, which is why I want to use a container I can seal up tightly. I think you can buy litter with baking soda to help control the odor. 2 for the price of 1 .
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Old 2015-02-22, 9:27pm
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She does acid etching on copper and brass mostly and I am afraid I got that confused with what we are talking about here. She tapes the metal with inked designs to the underside of some Styrofoam and puts it in that setup I described and sets the whole thing on her dryer while she has a wash load to dry. (Homemade stirring plate).

As for electroplating anything plastic will also work just fine.

You will want to pick something with a positive catch to the lid. A simple coffee can lid might let the contents leak if it got knocked over so the taller Rubber Maid containers would be good.


As to the kitty litter and the baking soda; the litter is only going to soak up the spill but I don't think it will neutralize the acid so it will just become hazardous kitty litter. The baking soda will neutralize the chemical properties of the acid and render it safe to put in the land fill with the garbage so you want probably twice as much baking soda by volume as the liquid acid maybe more. Too much is a lot better than not enough even by a little bit.

I know Sam's Club has baking soda in 13 pound bags and Wally
world probably has it in quantity too.

If you have inquisitive cats you might want to go the full monty and store it all in one of those larger plastic tubs with the snap down lids just to be safe. A belt and suspenders approach is always safer.
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Last edited by Speedslug; 2015-02-22 at 9:30pm.
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