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Thread: Removing copper plating

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Mo
    Posts
    316

    Default Removing copper plating

    Got a Colt SAA in for restoration, non factory nickel plate over a pitted & buffed frame. Stripping the nickel easy… under the nickel plate .. copper plate, Ni stripper won’t touch it. Need a way to strip/dissolve the copper without too much damage to the base metal.

    Thanks

    Mike Hunter
    WWW.Hunterrestorations.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    52N 122W Western Kanuckistan
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    Default

    I think the best way would be to use "reverse" electroplating using only a weak copper sulphate solution. Normally the target object to be plated is the cathode or negative side of the dc power but in this case the object to be stripped would be the Anode or positive side. I haven't tried this but I see no reason that it won't work. All you need is some deionized or distilled water and a couple of teaspoons of copper sulphate. Power can be supplied by a few batteries in series, maybe 6 volts or so. The cathode to which the copper will be deposited should be a piece of copper and connected to the negative. Attach the positive lead to the part and immerse in the solution along with the cathode. "Un-plating" should occur but the steel will not be affected. How long it will take will depend on the thickness of the copper layer and the orientation of the part in the solution. Plating generally only occurs along a rough line of sight to the cathode so you may need to turn the part to remove all the copper.

    I expect this will work and it shouldn't harm the steel at all.
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Origin now settable to bottom left! All values positive. Click Here

  3. #3

    Default

    Ferric Chloride? It's used to etch printed circuit boards and should be available from most electronics component stores. The hotter the solution, the more quickly it dissolves the copper.

    Mariss

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Langdale, B.C.
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    26

    Default

    Electronic printed circuit boards have a layer of copper on one or both sides. The unwanted copper is removed by soaking the board in Ferric Chloride or Ammonium Persulphate. This material can be obtained from electronic supply houses or possibly through Radio Shack. Remember to read the instructions first.

    Dennis

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Corning, NY
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    176

    Default

    Be careful, Ferric Chloride will work very well for etching steel. And don't get it on anything you don't want stained. It will give you very persistant rust colored stains.

    By the way, I suspect that Ammonium Persulphate will also work to etch steel, but I haven't tried it.
    Last edited by mwechtal; 07-16-2008 at 11:31 AM.
    .
    Mike

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Montezuma, IA
    Posts
    938

    Default

    Nitric acid will eat copper iirc, try a weak solution first.

    David
    Montezuma, IA

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    52N 122W Western Kanuckistan
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    Hydrochloric, sulphuric and nitric acids all will attack iron as will other acids. Ferric chloride is especially active and will attack steel and aluminum quickly. Electrostripping will not harm the steel at all in a copper sulphate solution.
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Origin now settable to bottom left! All values positive. Click Here

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    SW Ohio
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    447

    Default Ref..

    For your reference..............
    http://www.mgchemicals.com/products/415.html

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Mo
    Posts
    316

    Default

    Thanks for the feedback

    Well I've got the Nitric, hydrochloric, sulfuric acids as well as the Ferric Chloride, all ingredients in rust bluing solutions, but they will all attack the steel base. Looking for something that won’t etch the base metal.

    Beginning to like the “reverse" electroplating “idea more & more, may hit a farm store for some algae killer.

    What about Sodium Hydroxide? I’ve used that in the past to remove Zink plating from screws, will eat the heck out of Zink but won’t touch the steel.


    Mike

    Mike Hunter
    www.Hunterrestorations.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    141

    Default Copper Removal

    Why not use what we put in the barrel....ammonia?

    Montana Gold BMG or similar.

    MM

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