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  1. #1

    Reinforced Copper Plated 3D Print

    So something I've been working on here and there for the past couple of months has been copper plating 3D Prints to give them functional strength. I have a pretty legit homemade electroplating bath that I do a lot of copper plating with. I recently copper plated the one finger knuckle that I printed for my Draken tutorial videos. After I plated it I was very pleased to find that it was strong enough to actually do quite a bit of damage. Of course I had to make a video and share .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmeLfZw7pD0



    And if you want to see my copper plating bath in action watch this video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QXi4PM39ho



    I'm curious to hear your guy's thoughts on this. There was a kickstarter campaign not too long ago that was for an electroplating bath specifically for 3D Prints... Personally I think copper plating prints opens up nearly limitless possibilities both artistically and in engineering.


    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...ref=nav_search

  2. #2
    Technologist 3dex ltd's Avatar
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    Your finished prints look really great! Thanks for sharing

  3. #3
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    you do know that brass or copper knuckle dusters are pretty much illegal just about everywhere - including most us states ?

    I like the copper plating - but maybe next time something that's not going to get you arrested :-)

  4. #4
    Do you have a source? To my knowledge there are only a couple of states that have an all out ban on brass knuckles.
    http://injury.findlaw.com/product-li...d-the-law.html

    #Murica , not worried about getting arrested haha.

  5. #5
    Staff Engineer LambdaFF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by curious aardvark View Post
    you do know that brass or copper knuckle dusters are pretty much illegal just about everywhere - including most us states ?
    Sad thing is, it costs less than 10$ in any russian market.

    Impressed with the plating ! Bought a kit to try but didn't have time to set it up just yet.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    well my source is a us policeman on another forum.
    they are also one of the proscribed items you're not supposed to buy mail order for delivery into the united kingdom.

    Anyway I don't need brass knuckles I have bear paws :-)
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Homdox%C2%AE...ords=bear+paws

    and yes they are legal - the world is mad :-)

    Mnd you I've only used mine for pulling pork - so far ;-)

  7. #7
    Staff Engineer LambdaFF's Avatar
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    Hi Garage science,
    The kit I bought includes a much more powerful power supply and didn't indicate any temperature requirement.
    I'm gonna operate are roughly 20°C, is that acceptable ? Why limit to 1volt ?

    My kit contains silver paint, any special advice on thickness or application ?

    Thanks

  8. #8
    Staff Engineer LambdaFF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by curious aardvark View Post
    Anyway I don't need brass knuckles I have bear paws :-)
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Homdox%C2%AE...ords=bear+paws
    and yes they are legal - the world is mad :-)
    ... that is indeed quite a loophole.

    I have pretty much the same thought everytime I take the plane and they bother you for a nail cutter but let you take a powerful compūter battery with you...

  9. #9
    LambdaFF, that silver paint should work really good, better than copper paint. Just make sure you have a good consistent coat. The reason I like to use the spray paint base coat is because in the case where there might be a hole/crack/break ect. in my copper paint the base layer will still provide conductivity. It's not necessary just something extra I do. I do recommend applying two coats though, again just to make sure the entire surface is conductive.

    Also make sure when you plate the part that there are multiple contact paints with whatever wire you are using to hang the part. If you're familiar with a voltage divider you can think about the surface of your part as being a giant voltage divider. So the further a point on the surface is from the wire bringing in the electrical charge the more resistance in the paint it will encounter. For example say a point is 5mm from your wire contact, and another is 10mm away. Assuming consistent surface resistance. The point further away will experience half the current the closer point experiences, this assumes away several other factors but as a rule of thumb the further a point is from the source of current on your part the slower the plating at that point. The resulting effect is that the plating will slowly migrate across the surface of the part until the whole surface has an initial layer of metal and then the plating speed will be basically the same across the part.

    If you bought a kit you probably don't have to worry about temperature. Temperature increases allow for faster plating speeds. Here is a great discussion on bath temperature. http://www.finishing.com/1600-1799/1721.shtml

    There is a plethora of information at finishing.com and I've learned a ton at that site. But yeah, if you bought a kit I'd follow the instructions for the kit.

    I hope that helps. I'm by no means an expert. I'm a mechanical engineer by trade and picked up electroplating with the purpose of plating 3D prints for functional use.

  10. #10
    the copper layer seem to be good, but need more smoother

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