Thursday, March 13, 2014

Adventures in Pen Plating!

 So today the ladies came to see how to use a 'pen' to selectively plate metal.

We had a big group: Jowita, Cindy, Ann D., Vicki, Sonia, Ej, Sharon, Odaybea, Ann C., Bodil, and Dana- 4 of which are new Ladysmiths!

The first thing you need is a rectifier- there're several available on Rio Grande, or you can try Amazon, like I did. You need at a minimum a 3-amp machine. You could also use this to electroform as well as do a saltwater etch, so it really is a 3-in-1 tool! (like you need a reason to validate a tool purchase...)

You also need a pen for plating- this is 2 leads (red & black) to plug into your rectifier, plus a clamp, and the pen, with nibs included.

Lastly you need the material you want to plate onto with- there are lots available from many companies- Midas is the most well-known and comes in many types of gold, silver, rhodium, etc... I bought the one above.
It's a nasty and expensive mix, so be sure you don't spill it! It's acid (cyanide) based, and you don't want to get it on ANYTHING.

I got seduced into trying this process by watching Ann Davis' video below. And we were lucky to have her with us today to give us street cred (and lots of advice, which we needed). So PLEASE watch this video if you want to see the process in action!!!! It will explain how & where to clamp onto your piece, and much more. The container of gold actually says to use between 3-8 volts, so that's how you know how to set the voltage- small pieces 3-4, up to larger pieces 7-8. I had mine set too high for a small piece and I was 'burning' gold- it looked brown and ugly. Fortunately Ann was there to set me straight!

Here's a piece 'before'.

And here is the 'after'.


Here's another few pieces I played with. Very fun, satifying... AND VERY THIN. Don't think about doing this with your piece UNTIL EVERYTHING ELSE HAS BEEN DONE. That means final finishing.

Okay- on to some other stuff.... you can see in the background of the above picture that I used some jett sett to sink my bottle of gold into so it wouldn't spill (Ann's idea).

The above piece is Ej's and is a magnetic holder for burrs- they connect on magnetically right to the outer ring. Cool!

Now on to some RECENT WORK:

Jowita is taking a class on resin- these bracelets have different foils floating in them.

And here is a clasp that Jowita made, too- very modern.

Some pieces from Bodil's new line of jewelry with sapphires.

Ann C. is playing with some amazing piercing/sawing techniques.

Cindy's experimental piece- polymer clay base with outlines in metal clay, which were then pen-plated with gold.

Ann D.'s multi-level ring with enamel.

Ann's piece was made of cutouts of copper clay.

Sonia's earrings- very sculptual and with some really cool stones.

Recent pieces by Sharon- Koroit opal, variscite with fossil coral.

Ring by Vicki- one of her first soldering projects!

Another great piece by Vicki.

Sharon's 'pod' earrings.

Odaybea's piece was carved in wax and cast- a remembrance of her late father....

Thanks all- see you next time!!