Copper Tank Plating Solution

£12.44£66.25 + VAT

Clear selection

Our copper tank plating solution plates a semi-bright layer of copper. In a lot of instances, for expample plating onto nickel silver and zinc, we recommend a bonding layer of alkaline copper beforehand.

You can use it to build up a thick layer over zinc and zincated aluminium, which has been plated with an adhesion layer of alkaline copper. The thick layer of copper will protect the base layer of zinc or zincated aluminium from corrosion.

If you are plating onto zinc or zincated aluminium we recommend plating 1 micron thickness undercoat of our Alkaline Copper Tank Plating Solution or our Alkaline Brush Plating Solution.

Please use our platinum electrodes and anode bags for plating with our copper tank plating solution to avoid the requrement of continual filtration.

This solution can be used for plating over conductive silver paint, however subequent mechanical polishing may be necessary especially in recessed areas.

This solution contains 56 grams of copper per litre and is designed to be used to exhaustion at approximately 15 grams per litre giving a useable copper per litre is approximatly 40 grams.

Available worldwide.


HS Code: 3824 99 70

After striking zinc and zincated aluminium parts with our Alkaline Copper Tank Plating Solution, or  our Alkaline Copper Brush Plating Solution, we recommend a build of to 10 microns with Copper Tank Plating Solution to protect from corrosion if the part is going to be used outdoors.

Also, as the solution ages and its acidity increases, you may wish to consider the use of Copper Tank neutraliser to control its acidity especially when plating zinc and zincated aluminium (please refer to Tech Specs for more info).

This solution only works with platinum rod electrodes with anode bags.

Our Copper Tank Plating Solution is supplied with enough brightener to last for the life of the solution (please refer to Tech Specs tab for more info).
However under certain circumstances, a little brightener may be required especialy towards the end of the solution life.

Copper electroforming on stone

This project shows you how to copper electroform on stone using a slice of agate as an example. This is demonstrated using our Conductive Paint (UK and EU only), which can be used for electroforming on a wide range of non-conductive surfaces.
The benefit of using this paint is that it is a much quicker option than using our other two conductive inks because the Conductive Paint can be applied without having to first spray on a key layer of lacquer. This is great if you’re intending to selectively electroplate, as you don’t have to do any tricky masking out.
As well as this, it becomes touch dry in 15 minutes and is fully cured by 8hr at room temperature and 1 hour at 60 degrees centigrade.

Stage 1. Surface preparation for electroforming

a) Assembling your kit

Get together everything you need for preparing the agate slice; this will include the Conductive Paint, The tubes of Conductive Epoxy and a jump ring to hang the agate piece on the chain, once it is electroformed.

At this stage you need to work out the surface area of part of the item you’re intending to electroform. The rim of this slice of agate was estimated at having a surface area of 3.5 cm squared and this was noted for later use. It will also be useful to have your Conductivity Tester to hand, to check that the Conductive Paint and the Conductive Epoxy you’ll be applying is, in actual fact, conductive.

Mix the Conductive Epoxy according to the instructions on the packet.

conductive paint and epoxy filler

b) Painting on the Conductive Paint

Carefully paint on the Conductive Paint around the rim of the agate slice, using the enclosed brush. Once this is done, either leave to dry at room temperature (25 degrees centigrade) for 24 hours or dry in a fan oven at 60 degrees centigrade for an hour.

c) Using the Conductive Epoxy

To attach the jump ring to the rim of the agate slice, mix up a small amount of our Conductive Epoxy Filler and use this to stick the ring directly onto the dried Conductive Paint. The ring now performs two functions; it allows the piece of agate to be hung from its chain and it also forms the conductive connection that the agate can be held by in the electroforming solution.



Stage 2. Electroforming the agate slice

a) Working out amp settings and electroforming time

Work out the amp setting and electroforming time by entering in the surface area into our online Electroforming Calculator. Then set up your electroforming equipment following the instructions detailed in another section of this manual called ‘Copper electroforming a plastic model soldier

b) Using the Electroforming Calculator

The surface area of the rim of this slice of agate is approximately 3.5 cm squared and the required thickness of the electroforming is 100 microns. These details are entered in to our online Electroforming Calculator and this produces an amp level of 0.12 amps and a plating time of 2 hours and ten minutes.

c) Finishing

The finished piece of electroformed agate was taken out at the end of the alloted time and given a rinse. It is now possible to apply other plated layers of silver or gold, for example using either tank or brush plating or a combination of both.

Electroformed-agate-slice copy

Copper Tank Plating Calculator

How to use this calculator :

1. In the first box, enter the thickness that you want your electroform to be plated to. (thousandths of a millimetre).

2. In the second box, enter the surface area of the article in square centimetres (cm2).

3. Click the ‘Calculate’ button.

4. Read off the amp setting for your rectifier and the plating time.

5. If using an amp-hour meter or our Coulometer to monitor the process, read of these figures.

6. If you wish to keep the pH of the copper solution constant, read off how much stabiliser to add.

7. Finally read off the weight of copper that should be plated.

Operating Conditions and Deposit Data

Plating Factor 0.02 – 0.04A/cm2 (optimum: 0.035 A/cm2
Plating rate 0.7 micron per minute at 0.035A/cm2
Temperature 18 – 30°C  (optimum 26°C) (see note 1)
pH (of working solution) 2 at start: Working range 0.5 – 2.0 (see note 2)
Agitation Medium to high
Copper concentration (start) 56 g/l (see note 3)
Copper concentration (end of bath life) ~15 g/l (see note 2)
Copper concentration (end of bath life) ~15 g/l (see note 2)
Sulphuric acid concentration (start) 0 g/l (see note 2)
Filtration Occasional batch filtration may be necessary to remove extraneous particulate contamination (see note 3
Visual qualities of deposit Bright to semi-bright depending on thickness (see note 4)
Brightener The solution is supplied with enough brightener to last to exhaustion.
Anode Platinum (bagged) (see note 5)
Cathode efficiency Above 99% at Plating Factor = 0.035A/cm2
Hardness of deposit 160 VPN falling to 100 VPN over 5 days at room temp
Density of deposit 8.9 g/cm3
Stress Low (Tensile)
Special storage requirements None
Shelf life Over 2 years
Health and Safety classification Harmful
Transport (UN number) Copper Tank Plating Solution is not classified as dangerous for transport.




    1. Higher temperatures favour less burning on exposed areas ie: sharp edges or pointed parts.
    2. Copper Tank Plating Solution is supplied at a pH of 2. During the plating process, sulphuric acid is generated at the platinum electrode and when most of the usable copper is plated out from the solution (about 25 – 30 grams of copper for every litre) the pH will reduce to around 0.4 – 0.5.  This is around 5% sulphuric acid.
      The pH can be held at any disired level by adding Copper Tank pH Stabiliser. Caution is advised if adding Stabiliser. You can read more about this on the Copper Tank pH Stabiliser page.
      When electroforming on to acid-sensitive like shell or heavilly-recessed zinc or zincated items (where the copper strike may not have reached), it is advisable to keep the pH around 2 using Copper Tank pH Stabiliser to minimise the attack.
    3. We have designed this solution for use with insoluble electrodes (preferably platinised titanium). This solution only requires the minimal of filtration because it doesnt’s produce
      any sludge as with conventional systems using copper anodes.
    4. Thinner layers up to 10 microns plated on bright surfaces tend to dublicate the brightenss of the underlying surface. Thicker layers, especially in lower current density areas tent to be semi bright.
    5. Platinum anodes with anode bags must be used with this solution.

General guide;

Certain small items, for example Swabs, Nibs and Plating Pens can be sent by normal post within the UK

  • The courier option for UK deliveries is FedEx
  • Free UK mainland delivery available on orders over £200
  • International orders usually 3-5 working days.

For all price quotations for deliveries, please add your items to our shopping cart. You will be able to see the shipping costs by clicking on the ‘Calculate shipping’ button in the cart and before checking out.

Please click on the link below to download the SDS for this product:


Possible cause

Corrective action

No plating at all.
Electricity not flowing Check that the the rectifier is switched on, that volts are showing and that the circuit is switched on (see manual).
Check all electrical contacts and clean if necessary.
Conductive layer has broken with the main jigging wire breaking the electrical circuit. Remove from the process, rinse and dry.
Repair the brocken circuit with Conductive Paint and allow to cure.
Replace in tank and start off at half the calculated amp setting for the first 5 minutes. This will allow enough copper to plate to carry the amps.
5 minutes, increase to the calculated amp setting.
No plating. Item looks damaged on removal from plating process
Leads connected wrongly. Check that the black connection from the rectifier is connected to the work piece and the red connection to the Beaker Ring.
Dullness of plate in the middle of articles and recesses.
Amp setting too low


Increase the amp setting until brightness returns.
Lack of brightener. Add 2ml of Copper Electroforming Brightener for every litre of solution and check for difference.
If no difference is observed after a third addition, do not add any more.
Temperature too high.


Reduce temperature to within operating range (see Tech Specs)
Low conductivity. The bath starts off at a lower conductivity. The conductivity will increase as the bath is used (using our Platinum Rod Electrodes) and brightness distribution will also increase.
Copper content too high. Lower the copper content by allowing to plate out without making Copper Electroforming Replenisher additions.


Deposit dull all over.
Organic contamination Treat with Carbon Powder (see shop).
Add 10ml of Copper Electroforming Brightener for every litre of solution treated.
Run the plating bath until full brightness resumes.
Burnt deposit especially on corners and edges. Nodular in extreme cases.
Amp setting too high.


Decrease the amp setting.
Article too close to the anode. Move the item in the beaker or rearrange the anodes.


Low copper content evident in clearness of solution. Add Copper Electroforming Replenisher at 40 grams for every litre.
Repeat until original solution colour has returned.
Please note: At the end of the bath life, due to the build up of sulphuric acid in the solution, replenisher will not be able to dissolve in the solution.
Plate our the remaining copper and dispose of the remaining solution as battery acid.
Too little agitation. Increase agitation.


Temperature too low. Increase temperature. Please note that deposit will become less bright if the temperature is raised over 25 centigrade.


Matt deposit, rough in extreme cases.
Particulate contamination especially in small installations without continuous filtration. Filter solution into a clean beaker/container.
Pitting of deposit – small holes which can become larger on further plating.
Fit anode bags. If anode bags are not fitted to the Platinum Rod Electrodes, gas bubbles will escape and adhere to the surface of the work causing gas pitting.


Particulate matter in solution. Filter.


Grease or oil contamination in solution. Treat with Carbon Powder as above.


Un-plated area (step or skip plating).


Improper cleaning Check cleaning cycle especially for water breaks (see Online Manual)
Vertical tide marks especially evident on thin, flat articles.
Laminar nature of agitation especially when stirring. Consider using a stirrer with reversing action in order to make the agitation more turbulent.


Streaking of deposit.
Excessive brightener additions.


Plate out without adding brightener.
Organic contamination.


Treat with Carbon Powder as above.
Contaminated rises or lack of rinsing.


Extend rinsing cycle.
Deposit peels from basis metal.
Improper cleaning.


Check the cleaning cycle for the metal (see Online Manual).
Check the type of metal being plated. Consider gold flash intermediate coating especially of plating on brass, steel or stainless steel (refer to Online Manual for a list of pre-treatment stages).

Plating on zinc (also see notes below)

  • Degrease
  • Electroclean
  • Rinse
  • Microetch in Activator for 20 – 30 seconds
  • Rinse
  • Plate for 5 minutes at plating factor 0.01 A/cm2

You can now leave the surface with its matt/satin finish or hand polish using Autosol.
You can also apply either tank or brush plated layers.
If the item is likely to be used outdoors, then we advise a copper layer of 5 – 10 microns
which can be plated quickly using Copper Tank Plating Solution.
If nickel tank plating, polishing may not be necessary as the nickel brightens as it plates.

Plating on to Aluminium

  • Degrease
  • Electroclean
  • Rinse
  • Zincate in Zincate Dip for 30 seconds to 2 minutes
  • Rinse
  • Plate for 5 minutes at plating factor 0.01 A/cm

The same post plating options apply as for zinc above.

Plating on to steel

  • Degrease and remove any traces of rust
  • Electroclean
  • Rinse
  • Dip in Activator or ActiClean for 30 seconds – 1 minute
  • Rinse
  • Plate for 3 – 5 minutes at plating factor 0.01 A/cm
  • Rinse and plate in Copper Tank Plating Solution to the thickness you require

Plating on to brass, bronze, pewter and other tin based alloys

  • Degrease
  • Electroclean
  • Rinse
  • Dip in Activator or ActiClean for 30 seconds – 1 minute
  • Rinse and plate in Copper Tank Plating Solution to the thickness you require

1) Please note that the Activator dip should be kept exclusive to a single metal for example, if the Activator
has been used for zinc, it is not advisable to use the same solution for steel.
2) Most zinc is cast and contains surface impurities that need to be mechanically removed to achieve good adhesion.
This can be done in a variety of ways including abrading, polishing or tumbling in a barrel with abrasive medium added.
Poorly prepared zinc usually results in deposits which bubble up.