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How to plate spheres


#1

Cast three .5" diameter sterling silver basketballs that my client
wants me to gold electroplate.

I know how to electroplate, having been doing so for over a quarter
century, but I have no clue how I can hold the darn things and not
get a spot.

I was thinking of constructing a three-point (literally) rack to
rest the balls on (one at a time) and turning the pieces frequently
during the plating process.

I know how an industrial plating shop would accomplish this, having
worked in one, but I don’t have the need to be so tooled up.

Any clues cheerfully pondered.

NM


#2
I know how an industrial plating shop would accomplish this, having
worked in one, but I don't have the need to be so tooled up. 

Not sure what they did in your shop but one solution that could work
is a vertically agitated basket. The basket would be agitated at a
rate just fast enough to get the balls free-fall through part of the
down-stroke and rotate themselves. I don’t remember who sells
complete units, but I bought one for $200.00 about 10 years ago. The
plated finish will of course be somewhat courser than you’d normally
get from your bath. Some experimentation would be required to
optimize the results.

Dan Culver


#3

What you need is someone who will barrel plate them for you.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#4

without knowing the actual function of 3 gold plated basket balls
of .5" dia. i might put this to the customer: “basketball bladders are
made of black rubber…” if you can solder a single wire [hanger], in
the location of the bladder nipple, then oxidise it after plating
and removal, it should be at least visually acceptable; and
photographically accurate. are they pendants/key fobs… shouldn’t
there be a bail/loop or other fastening mechanism[to hang from
during plating]?


#5

I had an interesting experience a few years ago plating an artist
friend’s 1 in. diameter ball bearing. I made a little hoop holder for
it, resembling that little gadget you use for dunking Easter eggs
into the dye bath, that I used to successfully copper plate, and then
24K gold plate the steel ball bearing.

Unfortunately, just at the end of the plating process, the ball
bearing slipped out of the little wire holder as I was removing it
from the gold plating beaker, and the heavy ball bearing dropped into
the Pyrex beaker and broke it. I watched all my expensive gold
plating solution run across the counter top and onto the floor…

Jay Whaley


#6
without knowing the actual function of 3 gold plated basket balls
of.5" dia. i might put this to the customer: "basketball bladders
are made of black rubber..." if you can solder a single wire
[hanger], in the location of the bladder nipple, then oxidise it
after plating and removal, it should be at least visually
acceptable; and photographically accurate. are they pendants/key
fobs... shouldn't there be a bail/loop or other fastening
mechanism[to hang from during plating]? 

They are some kind of trophys. They go into nice little padded boxes
with glass windowed lids and can be taken out and fondled. But your
idea is excellent and I will sell it!

Thanx!!