Home » Community » Post Production Techniques » Electrolysis finish
Search Search  
Show: Today's Messages    Show Polls    Message Navigator
Electrolysis finish [message #36611] Thu, 13 October 2011 21:15 UTC Go to next message
avatar MichaelMueller is currently online MichaelMueller
Messages: 207
Registered: July 2011
Go to my shop
Senior Member
If you recieve a silver item from shapeways, you may find it too bright and glossy.
Using electrolysis is an easy way to make the silver darker so it gets more contrast and an "ancient" look.
http://www.pookas.de/shapeways/electrolyse_00.jpg
In my opinion, the technique is pretty harmless, but please be aware that you're doing this at your own risk!


What you need:
- Old Spoon
- Old AC/DC power supply or power transformer
- Baking Soda
- Glass of water

http://www.pookas.de/shapeways/electrolyse_01.jpg


1. Dissolve baking soda.
Dissolve some baking soda in a glass of water. I've used approximately one teaspoon of it for 400 ml of water.

http://www.pookas.de/shapeways/electrolyse_02.jpg


2. Prepare the power supply.
I would recommend a 6-12 volt power supply with 500-1000 mA (=1 Amper). More amper would make it work faster but this is where you enter the "danger zone", so I wouldn't use a stronger power supply for this project. Wink
Make sure the power supply is "DC" and has a cable that's long enough (about 1 m).
If there is still a plug on the supply, cut it off and remove the insulation on the two wires. Now it should look similar to the one in the picture.

http://www.pookas.de/shapeways/electrolyse_03.jpg

To check which contact has "plus" and which one has "minus" just plug in the power supply and put both wires in the glass with the water and baking soda.
Make sure that the two wires are separated from each other. A contact could damage the power supply. After putting it in the water, you'll see that one wire is turning dark. This is the "plus" wire. There should be bubbles coming from the other one. This is the "minus" contact.
The best thing is to mark the "plus" wire with some tape so there won't be a mix-up.


3. Put everything together.
Make sure the power supply is disconnected. Connect the spoon with the "minus" cable by wrapping the blank wire around it. After that, do the same with the silver item and the "plus" wire. Put the connected spoon and the item in the water and keep them separated from each other. Plug in the power supply and enjoy the show.

http://www.pookas.de/shapeways/electrolyse_07.jpg


4. Check the silver item.
You should stop the electrolysis after a minute to check if the silver is already dark enough. Make sure you disconnect the power supply first. You should clean the silver with e.g. an old toothbrush. This also ensures the electric conductivity to the wire.
If it is not yet ready, put it back on the wire and turn on the power supply again.
I usually do this 5 to10 times till the silver is kind of black.

http://www.pookas.de/shapeways/electrolyse_11.jpg


5. Polish the silver item.
A black silver item isn't nice at all. The embossed parts should be polished now so these areas are becoming glossy again. I use fine sandpaper (800-grit) for this.
After this, it should look similiar to the picture at the top.


Helpful links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolysis
http://www.ighunters.net/metal/electrolysis/equip.htm
http://www.mycoincollecting.com/collecting/cleaning-coins-el ectrolysis.html


Please let me know if you know how to improve this technique.
Have fun!

Michael


Michael Mueller
www.pookas.de
Re: Electrolysis finish [message #36907 is a reply to message #36611 ] Tue, 18 October 2011 19:56 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar erckgillis  is currently offline erckgillis
Messages: 68
Registered: October 2011
Go to my shop
Member
As a Jeweler we use simple chemical preparations to "Patina" silver or other metals. For the silver traditionalist use liver of sulfur or Potassium Sulfide (K2S).

While this works well your results can vary greatly from just the black by using a warm solution and adding a tablespoon of ammonia (NH4). These can vary the Silver from gray to Green and Purple to iridescent to the black.

A quick wipe on solution of Copper Sulfate "Cupric Sulfate" ( CuSO4) will also give instant black.

then just wipe or polish the highlights back.

Some of these solutions will work with copper/brass/bronze findings as well so you can match to your other components.

YMMV

ERCK


Ed
ERCK Store
Re: Electrolysis finish [message #36912 is a reply to message #36907 ] Tue, 18 October 2011 20:30 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar MichaelMueller is currently online MichaelMueller
Messages: 207
Registered: July 2011
Go to my shop
Senior Member
I guess sulphurliver is really the best way. I've used it too, with great results. Unfortunately it's slightly toxic and it seems that only jewelers are allowed to buy it... at least here in germany.
Electrolysis works fine too, but I would prefer sulphurliver if I could get my hands on it, cause it seems to be more "mild" to the silver material.
Michael


Michael Mueller
www.pookas.de
Re: Electrolysis finish [message #36917 is a reply to message #36912 ] Tue, 18 October 2011 21:00 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar erckgillis  is currently offline erckgillis
Messages: 68
Registered: October 2011
Go to my shop
Member
you can make Potassium Sulfide at home with potassium permanganate and Sulfur

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFIxvMZYeLY

Try this over a bath of Hydrogen peroxide, the K2S will fall from the reaction into the H2O2 and create the solution you need.

heat and add NH4!

Ed


Ed
ERCK Store
Re: Electrolysis finish [message #38750 is a reply to message #36917 ] Thu, 17 November 2011 16:54 UTC Go to previous message
avatar 1ko  is currently offline 1ko
Messages: 10
Registered: May 2011
Go to my shop
Junior Member
Looks really nice this way!
Does it work also for gold plated finish?

 
   
Previous Topic:Eletric Conduction
Next Topic:Plaster Master Molds from Prints