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Midas Pen Plating System


Yes, it’s me again asking for advice and I’m not done
yet…I’ve been lurking for a while and these questions are
burning a hole in my pocket…

Rio sells a mini plater developed by Red Sky (pg 196 Rio tools
and equip. cat.). It uses “felt tipped” pens to apply the plating
solution and looks like it would be a helpful addition to my
studio (I do a lot of bi-metal pieces using plating). However, I
know that rodium is fussy and easily contaminated and cynaide is
downright dangerous. Plus I really want to sell a product that
will last and am not willing to put out a lot of money just to
have pieces returned because the plating wore off in three weeks.
Has any one used this unit or one like it. Can they be built?




plating pens I have used a pen kind of like the one you
desribed and I am not too happy with it. Like you said the
solution(rhodium is what I used) seem to get polluted fast and
has a tendancy to darken when plating. One thing good about it is
that it is fast and it is able to do small areas without having
to paint sections off. For the most part I still prefer to dip
the things I plate and the pen spends most of the time on the
shelf. I have seen plans to make one in a small black book, I
think it is called The Jewelers Bench Reference Guide, or
something close to that. It is the same concept as regular
plating, one wire for the work and one for the solution. The felt
tip soaks up the solution which conducts from the tip to the
work. I think in the book they used a test tube with solution in
it and something to allow it soak out slowly.


<< Has any one used this unit or one like it. Can they be built? >>

I built a pen unit that attaches to my regular plater rectifier. It works
fine. You use a regular bic pen, remove the core and replace with a piece
of platinum wire or some other inert non ferrous wire. connect your
positive lead to one end and sharpen the oiher end to jam the little felt
piece on. Just remember a plate will usually wear off especially if it is
in an area that will be exposed to wear. And most of all keep everything
VERY clean otherwise your solution goes south, and the plate looks



Dear Judie

I have been using the pen plater for 5 years now, only I use my regular
rectifier (25amp), not their midas total outfit. Many manufacuters use
this system for quick plating jobs so as not to have to mask off the
complete piece. I simply turn my rectifier to appx. 4 volts, and after
having electrocleaned the piece and rinsed and steamed, plate carefully.
By the way, one must purchase the actual pen plating solution, as this is a
concentrate, different from the rhodium bath.

In all actuallity, I honestly feel that the full rhodium bath does do a
better job. But the time saving is more than worth it.

Waterphoto (Allan Freilich_)


I have been using a Midas felt pen plating system for a number of years
and find them to be very reliable and useful…especially for detailed
work. You can actually shape the tip if necessary. The plate is
essentially the same as any other method in terms of durability. I did one
ring that has been worn nearly everyday for the past three years and only
now the hi-lite areas are beginning to show through. And that was just one
quick pass! Be sure to use the proper cleaners and activators…followi all
the right steps. You will like it. Don


However, I know that rodium is fussy and easily contaminated and cynaide
is downright dangerous.

As I don’t know the model of pen plater you are refering to, I can only
give some general hints:

  1. yes, rhodium baths are easily contaminated, you should work cleanly and
    replace the felt tips when they start to discolour. have them sharpened
    with a scalpell to a very slender point.

  2. cyanide can be lethal, deadly dosis is said to be about 0.2g (3 grains
    troy) if one would swallow it. It also releases prussic acid (HCN) into
    air on contact with any acid, even the carbonic acid naturally contained
    in the air; lethal dosis 0.1mg per kilogramm bodyweight. So, you should
    have some form of ventilation, even as you are working with very small
    amounts. Keep the containers closed when not in use, use a working
    container with just enough liquid for the job at hand. NEVER use the pen
    for rhodium with a cyanide bath!!! Rhodium plating liquids are acids.
    However, I never heard of anyone poisoned in using a pen plater (and I’ve
    been working in Pforzheim and Idar-Oberstein where every third house
    contains some kind of jewellery workshop).By the way, poisoning is by
    blocking the transfer of oxygen from blood to body cells, so one is
    actually suffocated, body just stops breathing.

Can they be built?

You’d need only purchase the pens and tips from your jewellery supplier.
There is a platinum wire in the pen due to the highly corrosive liquids
used. Buy any transformer that gives you the necessary output (up to about
5 volts). Wire the plus outlet to the pen and the minus to a self locking
tweezer to hold your ring. This should be much less expensive than buying
the whole unit (here at last).

Soak the tip until it is satiated. Have it “floating” in the liquid on the
surface and don’t press to hard or you will scratch the metal without
getting a satisfying plating.