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cloakfiend

When plating PLA goes wrong

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Posted · When plating PLA goes wrong

Well after a successful day of plating, I learnt many valuable lessons about the nature of PLA and plating, and rapid oxidisation. And when I say rapid, I mean like you can see these things rust before your very eyes. In fact they begin corroding as soon as you take them out of the plating tank. You need to keep some distilled water handy to rinse them immidiately. But the main issue it preventing the acid from entering the model, even a drop of it can ruin the model. This is why models treated with acetone work so well. The acetone seals the PLA making it water tight which otherwise is open to leaks and seeping through inside. Once inside a sealed plated object its nealry impossible to get the liquid out because heating it will warp/shrink the object and otherwise it will corrode in a messy green rusty way and because the plate is about 200 microns it just buckles instead of flaking off. I even tried to slice it open and glue it down by injecting super thin superglue underneath but the plate was way too thick for that and it just mangled it and the glue made things even messier and grungier!! Looks kinda cool if you like that sort of thing. I might do it as a opener for my youtube channel using my name! lol. The misery/joy of endless learning.....

 

 

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Posted · When plating PLA goes wrong

The corrosion can give a nice patina too.

 

Mix a bit of baking- or washing soda in the rinse water. Helps neutralising the acid if you dont manage to wash it all off

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Posted · When plating PLA goes wrong

Its not so much the acid, but moisture of ANY kind. The problem is worse when you seal the object after having polished it already with something like say micro crystaline wax. The raw metal is the issue. I love patinas. But bubbling is a nono. No one wants layer separation. And as for the setup its the usaual anode cathode setup routine. If i go any deeper than that then i fall into the endless trap of having to explain every step which i dont even understand all of myself. Just look up the copper face machine and thats my basic setup. Ive butchered mine to oblivion by now. All that remains is the anode and stand from my original purchase.

Im gonna do a patreon if you are really interested, as this is all costing me a bit over time. Gonna give away models and make tutorials and informative vids. 

M

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Posted · When plating PLA goes wrong

At some time I want to try plating, got any good places to source the chemicals needed?

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Posted · When plating PLA goes wrong

Now it looks a bit like those chocolate coins wrapped in silver paper, that we used to get for Santa Claus.

 

Isn't there a way to make the plating chemically bond to the print? Somehow etch and chemically activate the outer layer? Or plate a first layer with a mix of glue and metal, or something along these lines? How do they do this for plastic car "chrome" strips, wheels and radiator covers?

 

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Posted (edited) · When plating PLA goes wrong

just print solid and you'll be fine.

Edit.... Should be fine. Lol. If the plate is even thicker, then it may not wobble but it will corrode over time. Here is a dog i made ages ago... it was perfect at the time but seeing as i drilled holes in it which i then filled with plaster and sealed with filler, the acid clearly got in through the filler hole. Regardless of it being covered with superglue afterwards. The main trouble is that any break in the pla will let in liquid from the plating tank. Ive stopped using filler completely and dont get this problem at all. It only happened this once. I learned from it never to repeat what I did. Perhaps a thin coat of varnish may work. In the plating industry they sometimes use wax to plate pourous materials. 

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Edited by cloakfiend

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