In researching plating on the internet, it was evident that commercial plating operations used hanging rack or rotating barrel systems to plate large quantities of parts.
Rack systems seemed unsuitable - they are best for large quantities of the same, or similar, part, and larger parts that wouldn't tumble very well.
A barrel though, doesn't care what you throw in it, so seemed more suitable for mixed parts. Barrel systems though, tended to be very complex, using complicated gear or belt drives, sealed dangler or permanent slip-ring electrical contacts, hinged doors or flaps for getting parts in and out, labor intensive, etc. And while there are small commercially made barrel systems available, they are quite expensive - far beyond the means of most DIYers.
Then I chanced upon a small design using an angled axle and open barrel, which semed to be simplest of all. Although it used a slip-ring type contact, I decided to try it with a dangler type contact.
So I set about to devise my own barrel/dangler system. Whatever I came up with though (being both lazy, and a cheapskate), had to meet certain criteria:
- it had to be cheap
- it had to be easy to build
- it had to use ordinary off-the-shelf parts, readily & easily available
- it had to be simple to operate
The result is functional, but it could still be improved. Otherwise, it pretty much meets the design requirements.
Take it and run!