I have used the Caswell products successfully. (Specifically
The bottom line is that the “Plug & Plate” is a cost effective setup
if what you need to accomplish aligns with what it’s designed to
For reference, the after-market gold plated detailing on automobiles
is the result of a process very similar to what the "Plug & Plate"
product will give you.
This technique is commonly called “brush” plating in contrast to
"immersion" or “dip” plating which is often used commercially. (Note
that Caswell offers different solutions for dip vs immersion.) The
small transformer delivers a constant voltage up to a maximum
amperage. This means it’s not very flexible and is mostly suited to
cosmetic plating (like auto trim or touch ups).
With brush plating you control the plating process (and thickness of
plate) with your “brushing” technique, not with your voltage source.
Dip plating uses a variable voltage source to control the plating
(Here’s where it gets complicated.) Remember that a particular
solution requires a specific volt/amp setting.
If you remember Ohm’s law the third part of the formula is R for
For electroplating, surface area corresponds to “resistance.” With
"brush" plating the size of the wand that touches the object
determines the surface area. This is pretty consistent. Now image dip
plating a small earring post versus a large pendant. The surface
areas that are exposed to the solution are very different. If you use
a constant volt source the small object will concentrate the maximum
amperage which might be too much and result in a bad plate. The large
object will have the opposite problem. Too little amperage will be
distributed across the larger surface resulting in bad plate. The
solution is a variable volt/amp source if you want to dip plate
Brush plating is pretty easy to do well; dip plating delivers a
quality product but requires equipment, training, and experience. The
Caswell site is very informative and worth the time to study. Hope
Here’s an example.