silver electroplating stainless steel models

Discussion in 'Finishing Techniques' started by noformdesign, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. noformdesign
    noformdesign New Member
    i've just finished trying silver electroplating on some of the pieces i had printed in the bronze sintered stainless steel (all rings). i've had some issues with the bronze causing discoloration on the finger when the pieces are worn for long periods of time (as i'm sure anyone here who's had jewelry printed in stainless can attest to). i finally bought a bottle of silver electroplate and tried it out with my rectifier (that i use for anodizing aluminum and titanium). the results i got are very good. with just a few minutes in the bath, the pieces have a nice silver plate. i'll wear a couple of the rings for a while to see how well the plate holds up and if there are any discoloration problems that remain.

    just thought i would share...i know i'll feel much better about having jewelry printed in the stainless.
  2. dizingof
    dizingof New Member
    Care to share links for that silver bottle ? and how many DC volts does it take for a good even coating of shapeways stainless steal?


    btw, i have a silver pendant i printed here at shapeways long time ago and it is oxidized now - i guess all silver is - so it needs that silver cleaning solution i saw once on some infomercial at 3AM in the morning when i traveled to US

  3. noformdesign
    noformdesign New Member
    sure, here's the place i bought it from:

    i set my rectifier at 4vdc and 1amp and let it plate for 3 minutes. i still have to play with times and voltages, but i got a decent result with that.

    if you want to remove the tarnish on the pendant, try one of these: ;cat=0&page=1

    oh, and just in case you weren't clear about it, shapeways doesn't print in silver...they print the model in one of the acrylics and then cast it in silver. if you ever have a piece that they won't do in silver, i can probably help.
  4. erckgillis
    erckgillis New Member
    I do a lot of plating and anodizing work.

    here is a good supplier for materials however chemical solutions can be gotten in bulk much cheaper.

    You can wand plate small parts by hand. I can't wait to try a few parts from here...


    Larger objects they have full immersion kits and all the supplies.

  5. noformdesign
    noformdesign New Member
    $29/quart isn't too bad compared to some online suppliers i looked at, plus i can pick it up since the supplier is only a half an hour away.

    i almost got some nickel plating solution, but i would probably only use it as a primary plate under the silver since i would be using it on jewelry and people can have a reaction to the nickel.

    do you do chrome plating? that would be interesting to see on the printed stainless.

    i've been using a stainless anode, but i want to get some fine silver to use and see if the outcome is different.
  6. erckgillis
    erckgillis New Member
    I do the cheaper chrome that caswell calls "copy chrome" or Electroless Krome these are actually Cobalt plating kits that have a single pass solution.


    Depending on your metal you may have to copper or nickle plate first to prevent it from peeling off depending on the base metal beware....YMMV.

    The triple chrome and hard chromium plating take multiple steps and require zincate, nickel and other metals then plate with chromium for a durable hard non-porus cover. More expensive an fumes are bad even without the CN process.

    Blacke Krome is cool also. I have some pics somewhere?

    The use of silver or any metal anode/cathodes of the appropriate metals will simply extend the life of your solutions and reduce contamination with other metals and wires in the process.

    see ya!
  7. Jaewo
    Jaewo New Member
    Do you have any guide how to to do electroplating from a beginners perspective with no equipment?
    Just a simple equipment list, where to buy, and basic process. I know the chemistry of it, just don't know what it takes to get it done. Thanks. :)

    And also that arsenic stuff makes me nervous (warning: may cause death).. jeez. Any not murderous stuff you can use?
  8. erckgillis
    erckgillis New Member
    Yes I can help out. PM and or email me.

    Complete steps are a bit long for here for thread. :cool:

    They have instructions here rticle/View/92/19/plug-n-plate-kit-instructions I show how to DIY steps below.

    The options and results will vary by the quality & concentrates of the materials you use, as you are looking to forgo expensive materials and eliminate any cyanide solutions I'd recommend a silver plate, not chrome. Then the durability of the process vs. wear and use. This is most important. Is a art piece differs from the wear on everyday jewelry!

    Materials and availability vary by country so I will assume USA.
    Two commercial direct silver rub on plating solutions exist. Google for Silverplater or Silversmith rub on solutions etch with scrub puff or acid then rub on. or

    Electro process is thicker and harder you need a small silver/copper anode the same SURFACE area of the piece to plate (pure .999 FINE Ag not plate & a stainless cathode 2:1 as large as the anode), a DIY ion Salt Silver solution like Silver Chloride and a power supply. Youtube has plenty of examples of how to make silver salts and setup anode/cathodes and I can be more specific in PM or Email!

    Your challenge with steel is the alloy with Cu and the pitted SW finish. Copper plate is same as above but use Cu anode and Copper salts or DIY root killer (copper sulfates).

    1) You'll need to etch Steel with acid (HCL or Sulfuric) and then plate nickel or copper (Nickel looks better with Gold plate, copper is fine for silver and bonds well with the SW alloy).reverse Elctro etch works even better with Baking soda.

    2. Use a old DC power supply from a laptop or a 12v auto battery charger. A constant current regulator is best but expensive. Look for 5-12v for copper plate 2-6v for Silver at 1 Amp for for dip plating. Half this or less if you plan to brush plating on.

    3. Attach part or touch to cathode and .999 silver/Copper to anode after etching and rinsing, no oils or fingerprints CLEAN CLEAN clean...

    Apply current for a few seconds. if part turns dark or black don't worry, see if it buffs off and shines! then lower current or voltage to minimum for effect. Move the part so all areas face the anode.

    Try to keep PH 8.5 to 9.5 with Acid (Muratic) to lower and Sodium Hydroxide (lye/draino) to raise PH and Temp to 68 F.

    Test, practice and vary as dip vs. brush on plating vary.

    See tips

    I don't work for or refer to any specific vendors YMMV and cavet emptor!


    I can help with issues/problems. No mistakes as you can etch or buff off any finish and retest!