Parts Dipping Basket

Zinc plating

Wiring up lots of small pieces is a pain. I knew there had to be a better way, so I made this dipping basket.

Pictures all link to higher res images (1024 x 768)

A small piece of 16 mesh copper screen (3" x 5") with a piece of 14 ga. copper wire (stripped Romex) woven through it provides the conductive path for parts.

The nuts are for reference. These are 3/8" nuts, 3/4" across x 0.6" tall. Each nut has 2.8 sq-in of surface area, for a total of 22.4 sq-in.

Now looking at the screen, you'd think it doesn't have much surface area. NOT SO! The screen has 22.6 sq-in of surface area! (More than the nuts)

Add another 1.5 sq-in for the 14 ga. wire that's immersed in the electrolyte, and the "dip" conductor totals just over 24 sq-in! By itself, my "dip basket" needs 2.4 amps!

Surface areas are very deceptive to estimate. Read more about it.

The little plastic basket comes from a toy shop for 50¢.

The screen fits the bottom of the basket, and the wire sticks up out of the electrolyte for power connection.

The "S" hooks provide secure hang from the tank bar, and lower the basket far enough to completely immerse in the electrolyte

Here I've got all 16 nuts that I needed to plate. Total surface area including screen is 68.9 sq-in!


As it will look when hung in the tank.

Every so often I have to manually stir the parts around to get even plating and prevent "cathode shadow". It's a pain to do, but easier and more convenient than wiring each part individually.

A plating "barrel" is in the works.