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Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #7620] Wed, 04 November 2009 23:46 UTC Go to next message
avatar jaykochel  is currently offline jaykochel
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Hi All,

I am complete newb here but investigating the potential to gold plate stainless steel models? Does anyone have any knowledge on this or had any success plating with any other materials (eg silver, chrome, nickel)?

Regards,
JK
Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #7627 is a reply to message #7620 ] Thu, 05 November 2009 18:57 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar GlenG  is currently offline GlenG
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YES,
I'm not sure SW offers the service but it can be done quite easily. Look for someone doing "electroless plating" gold and nickel work very well on the SS material.
Not so sure about chrome, but it should be possible.


"Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art."
Leonardo da Vinci
Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #7634 is a reply to message #7627 ] Thu, 05 November 2009 23:51 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar jaykochel  is currently offline jaykochel
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Thanks for your response. Sounds like great news...time to get planning!
Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #14843 is a reply to message #7627 ] Sat, 17 July 2010 13:42 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar randomhuman  is currently offline randomhuman
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What about silver? Is it a different process from gold or should it work just as well? Am I right in thinking that as long as the stainless steel conducts electricity it should be possible to plate it with anything, or are there other factors?
Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #14844 is a reply to message #14843 ] Sat, 17 July 2010 14:12 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar virtox  is currently offline virtox
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Unfortunately, it is apparently not that simple Confused

I too was hoping silver or similar plating would be as "easy" as gold.

It was discussed during one of the live events here at approximately 14 minutes : http://www.shapeways.com/community/live-archive/july-7th-201 0

They are experimenting with new finishes, but nothing silver like.

Cheers,

Stijn


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Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #14845 is a reply to message #14843 ] Sat, 17 July 2010 14:35 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar aeron203  is currently offline aeron203
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I became very interested in this last year, even getting to the point of trying out copper baths. I ultimately decided against plating my products at home as I learned more about what it takes to really do it right.

The deciding factor was silver, because that's the finish I'm looking for. There are wipe-on solutions that can produce a micro-thin coating that quickly wears off, but the best processes use cyanide solutions that are extremely toxic and dangerous. The used baths would have to be disposed of at the local HazMat center, and an accidental spill would be an ecological disaster. I'm all about DIY whenever possible, but common sense tells me to leave silver to the pros.

I hear nickel is more achievable at home and can give a pretty bright finish. Still I hope everyone does their research before buying chemicals, because when they find out how much they cost to dispose of properly, those chemicals might end up being dumped, and I wouldn't want that happening as a result of my suggestion.


Aaron - 40westdesigns.com/blog
Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #14847 is a reply to message #14844 ] Sat, 17 July 2010 14:47 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar randomhuman  is currently offline randomhuman
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Oh that's a shame. I was planning to print a ring in stainless steel, polish it up and then have it plated, but I guess I'll have to leave it at the polished stage! It is quite shiny when polished so it is not too bad.

Thanks for the answer!
Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #14848 is a reply to message #14845 ] Sat, 17 July 2010 14:53 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar randomhuman  is currently offline randomhuman
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Well I wasn't really thinking of doing it myself, rather having a professional do it after the polishing. I like the DIY approach usually, but I figured for a once off project that step would just be too involved (and you sure make it sound that way!).

But, is there something about the stainless steel material that prevents plating it in silver, or is it just too complex a process to be attempted at home?
Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #14850 is a reply to message #7620 ] Sat, 17 July 2010 15:21 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar pp  is currently offline pp
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HI Guys not sure if you have seen this post >> http://www.shapeways.com/blog/archives/511-Gold-......html

..... or have seen this weeks shop owners newsletter but starting Wednesday we will expand our Stainless Steel finishing with 3 different finishings.

1) Gold plated Polished
2) Antique Bronze Matt
3) Antique Bronze Glossy

Does this help or are there more requirements?
Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #14858 is a reply to message #14850 ] Sat, 17 July 2010 21:30 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar randomhuman  is currently offline randomhuman
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Cool, I definitely won't order anything before Wednesday then so I can check those out!

The problem for me though is that everything ordered here *looks* printed. There's dimpling or ridges, and I understand that that's just the nature of the technology at the moment, and that's fine. However, I need these rings to look really smooth and shiny, and I think that's achievable with the stainless steel and some post-production work. Some sort of plating (preferably silver) would be icing on the cake, but if the plating is done by shapeways then I can't do any sanding to remove the artefacts...
Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #14905 is a reply to message #7620 ] Mon, 19 July 2010 07:59 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar pp  is currently offline pp
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Hi,

We are looking at ways to increase the basic polishing of our Stainless Steel. the difficulty we have is finding a general way that gets the best result for "all" shapes. Now that's a challenge Wink


I know what you mean. I have been polishing SS myself and the results are really great.

If you keep polishing in mind when designing ...... not the way it should be but it does work for now....

Peter Paul


index.php?t=getfile&id=4209&private=0

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[Updated on: Mon, 19 July 2010 07:59 UTC]

Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #14914 is a reply to message #7620 ] Mon, 19 July 2010 10:59 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Drawn-SteelHero  is currently offline Drawn-SteelHero
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Wow - the piece on the left looks amazing! I assume the one on the right is a 'before' picture, showing how it looked with printing artefacts?
How are you polishing these, PP?
Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #14915 is a reply to message #14845 ] Mon, 19 July 2010 11:02 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar virtox  is currently offline virtox
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aeron203 wrote on Sat, 17 July 2010 14:35

I became very interested in this last year, even getting to the point of trying out copper baths. I ultimately decided against plating my products at home as I learned more about what it takes to really do it right.



I have also been experimenting with copper plating.
With moderate success. It's not too difficult to get a copper deposit on steel, the trick is keeping it on Wink
Would love to hear what you learned, my experiences so far :

Disclaimer: my chemistry knowledge is not much these days, but I like to experiment, experts feel free to correct me here.

General safety warning for anyone trying this:
Wear old/work cloths, wear protective gloves and glasses/facial protection at all times!
WORK OUTSIDE in the open air.
Away from children animals plants humans etc.
Do not eat drink or smoke or work near fire.
Don't breath in the fumes.
If you don't know what you're doing, don't do it Wink


I use Acetic acid (a common cleaning product)
As this is a "fairly safe" acid. But the fumes are horrible Wink
Be careful, hydrogen might form at some stages of these processes.
And since there is also electricity involved..
spark + hydrogen = boom!
Be careful

If you put in lots of copper pieces and wait a really long time (days/weeks) the solution will turn bright blue meaning some copper has dissolved. Do not close of the jar completely as pressure might build and do NOT keep this in your house.

(Btw, congratulations you will have now created your first chemical waste. Do not dispose of this solution through a drain !
When finished add some steel wool and wait until the blue is all gone.
It will absorb the copper.)

A quicker way is to hook up a long piece of coiled up stripped copper wire (donor) to the plus of a single 1.5v cell, and another scrap piece as a temporary "dump-site" to the minus.
For safety I always add a an ampere meter in the plus line to monitor the current.

Once you have a decent copper acetic acid solution,
connect the stainless steel object to the minus site of the electrode, and a (fresh) donor coil to the plus side.
Suspend both in the solution. Copper will now deposit on the object.

If you wait an hour or so, the object will look like it's fully covered in copper ! But unfortunately, most will rub off easily..

I believe one of the problems is, that we have little control on how and where the copper deposits. I assume oxidation and corrosion during the process won't help either.

Adding a little salt might help with the conductivity, but if you add to much, chlorine (dangerous) and hydrogen(explosive) gas will develop.

Adding some fine sugar to the solution, results in smaller crystals.

Other than that, a lot of patience, retries and runs are necessary.
And I have some promising but not picture worthy results, where after polishing a thin copper shine was still left on the steel.
But other attempts seem to mainly "rust" the steel Rolling Eyes

I read somewhere that the ss from shapeways is covered with a protective coating against staining. This will interfere with the plating, as will finger-grease and such, so proper cleaning/sanding/polishing is a must
If I'm able to polish and clean the steel better prior to plating, I hope the results will improve.

Also thinking "baking" the object with the rough deposits, to see if it
might weld/stick better.


The final goal is to also use the copper base for adding silver.
Either with a more durable rub-on solution, or perhaps just dunking in molten silver. (I had some items silvered (quite a thick layer) this way, but not sure how they did it)

Maybe even use a soldering iron and the new lead-free but silver base solder used in electronics.


But I do these experiments mainly for fun Wink


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Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #14926 is a reply to message #7620 ] Mon, 19 July 2010 14:49 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar pp  is currently offline pp
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Whooo Stijn .... great experiment!
Got some pictures of the end result?

@Drawn-Steel Hero;

I started with rough machine polishing to get ride of the production marks.. layering etc.

Then the actual polishing starts. I used the 200, 400, 800 and 1200 sand paper. For me this best works wet.
Once this is done I used a polishing past (you can get this any were... It's used a lot for car cleaning.
Then the ultimate gloss I got by using a head on a drill. You can get the same result by hand it just takes a bit longer Wink

I have some more models I have polished. Will share later.

[Updated on: Mon, 19 July 2010 14:50 UTC]

Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #14928 is a reply to message #7620 ] Mon, 19 July 2010 15:24 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar aeron203  is currently offline aeron203
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@Peter Paul:
I'm happy to see the bronze finishes being introduced. I'm wondering if the bronze items we've seen so far represent the matte or gloss versions. Is matte bronze simply unpolished?

@Stijn:
There's nothing like hands-on experience to get a good idea of what's involved with this stuff, as long as we do it safely. The hydrogen build-up point is a good one since even a little flash could blow acid all over the place.
The reason I was checking out copper baths was actually not for SS, but for plating plastic prints. Some print bureaus already offer this as a service, and I'd love to see Shapeways give that a try (Wink, nudge).
I was painting models with a conductive paint made of dissolved copper with suspended silver particles to make the models conductive so they can be plated. It's actually a fairly common technique artists use for metal plating of organic objects and would be a great way to achieve a metal look and feel, hopefully at a lower price. Maybe Alumide would help the process along...or maybe react badly. This area is ripe for experimentation!


Aaron - 40westdesigns.com/blog
Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #14942 is a reply to message #14905 ] Mon, 19 July 2010 22:05 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar randomhuman  is currently offline randomhuman
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Wow, that finish is really impressive! It's nice to see what is possible!
Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #14963 is a reply to message #7620 ] Tue, 20 July 2010 10:34 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar pp  is currently offline pp
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Here is a sample of the materials for tomorrow.
the left is Antique Bronze Matte and the Right is Antique Bronze Glossy.

the finishing are different to the basic polishing level is the same for both.

You will see it next week Aeron Wink

index.php?t=getfile&id=4219&private=0

[Updated on: Tue, 20 July 2010 10:35 UTC]

Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #14968 is a reply to message #7620 ] Tue, 20 July 2010 12:07 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Drawn-SteelHero  is currently offline Drawn-SteelHero
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Ooh, pretty... Shocked
Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #15086 is a reply to message #14963 ] Thu, 22 July 2010 15:40 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar GlenG  is currently offline GlenG
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Hi all,
the "antique bronze" finish is quite simple to produce on the SW/SS material. All it takes is heat, no chemicals at all!

Before coloring, parts must be finished to the desired luster then cleaned of all coatings or contaminants and absolutely dry. A temperature of approx. 350ºC - 662ºF will produce a brown bronze color. Time at temperature can vary with the mass of the piece but 1 hour dwell time should be adequate for most Shapeways sized models. Increasing/decreasing temperature, and/or time, will produce variations to the color which can range from golden yellow on the low side to reddish purple on the high side. At temperatures above approximately 450ºC color will start to turn gray and no further color change will occur. If metal is heated further, to the point where it starts to glow red, expect the result to be a matte gray black color.

The iridescent colors are known as an "interference colors". They are caused by the micro thin oxide layers that form on the surface of some metals when exposed to heat. As time and temp increases these oxide layers refract the light hitting the surface of the metal and so change the visible color. Color ranges and time/temp factors will vary with different types of metal but once the gradients for a particular metal type is determined the results should always be the same.

I'm not sure a home kitchen oven or toaster oven will range high enough to achieve the antique bronze color. The effect can be produced with a hand torch but care must be taken to do it slooowly and evenly. Once a particular color is reached the only way to reverse the effect is by re-polishing.

I have not mapped a complete gradient for the SS material so experimentation is in order. This would make a great science project eh?

-G


"Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art."
Leonardo da Vinci
Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #15087 is a reply to message #7620 ] Thu, 22 July 2010 15:55 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Drawn-SteelHero  is currently offline Drawn-SteelHero
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Wow, that's fascinating - I thought you actually applied an extra patina to the steel to get the colour (in fact I'm pretty sure Bart said as much last night).
In that case, can we expect to see a range of steel colour options when you've experimented some more? Very Happy

Andy
Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #15105 is a reply to message #15086 ] Fri, 23 July 2010 01:46 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar bitstoatoms  is currently offline bitstoatoms
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Hey there,

I have done some home post processing on stainless steel rings by putting the components on a gas fire stove top till red hot then quenching in cold water.

I did not do this evenly or slowly but with the reckless abandon of experimentation.

The parts did go a very nice matt black but it also increased the 'tea staining' (rust discoloration) if worn on the finger.

The process is kinda fun to do and great if you want to make your items a little more on the punk side of the steampunk scale. It also provides a nice contrast to details if you heat treat then re polish the surfaces so any negative parts are left blackened.


Duann Scott

Re: Gold Plating 420 SS+Bronze? [message #15133 is a reply to message #15087 ] Fri, 23 July 2010 16:33 UTC Go to previous message
avatar GlenG  is currently offline GlenG
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Hi all,
In the case of the SW "Antique Bronze" finish, this is definitely achieved by the heat process I described. But yes, color effects on the SS media, (patina) can also be done with chemical solutions. Shades of brown and black are pretty easy to produce with homemade or off the shelf formulas. What is so nice about the heat process is that it costs less, is environmentally neutral and works as good or better than chemicals.

Here is a bit more information on heat coloring. Above a certain temperature, which varies with each particular type of metal, the so called interference colors will fade to gray/black. If temperature increases to red heat most metals will begin to form a scale like layer of oxide (firescale). Surfaces are now entering a new state of being! Sometimes this effect can produce esthetically pleasing effects and sometimes not. It should not be surprising that this firescale will corrode (tea stain) more rapidly when against the skin. Moisture, and skin oils can induce the black oxide layer to change into a rust brown oxide. Isn't inorganic chemistry fun?

-G


"Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art."
Leonardo da Vinci

 
   
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