On 9/25 you said:
Now we’re getting there… A train transformer . . . or aren’t these
’plug-in’ adapters for calculators, or anything portable transformer as
well??? If so then all we have to assure is the current from 2 D
batteries… we already know the voltage(1.5 v) in series… think the
voltage stays the same and the current doubles (adds together) when
batteries are in series(Please verify)!
Does this make sense people… ??
When batteries are connected in series (+ to -), the voltage is additive, 1.5V +
1.5V =3V. The current produced remains the same as for a single battery.
When batteries are connected in parallel, all +s together & all -s together the
voltage produced remains the same but the current producing capability is
If you elect to use one of those little xformers that are so popular with phone
equipment & small electric powered toys be sure to check the electrical rating
(it’s usually printed on the case somewhere). For plating you need one that
produces DC (direct current). I’ve seen units that produce 3vdc at 300ma &
others that produced 6vac at 600ma. The point is, there are various sizes &
voltages, AC & DC, available, get one that will work for you. The 3vdc at 300ma
is probably the minimum size that would work. The XXXma is the current
capability of the unit in milliamps (1 amp=1000ma).
A variable voltage unit could be made by installing a variable resitor in series
with positive lead (now we’re getting fancy).
I’ve not done any pen plating myself but have seen it demo’ed many times. Here’s
a DIY idea for plating pens.
You might try shrink tubing as a holder for the replaceable tips from Rio &
others. I don’t know what the diameter of the tips is, but if you take one along
to a good hardware or electronics (Radio Shack) store they will have a size of
shrink tube that will work. You might have to experiment a little to find the
best size. Shrink tube shrinks about 50% when its heated. You’d have to replace
the shrink tube every time you replace a tip.
If you want to build your own pen/s, I’d suggest stripping the insulation back
about 1/2 " (13mm) on a 16-20 guage copper wire. Then insert the exposed portion
of the wire in the center of the new tip. The amount of exposed wire should be
adjusted so there is good contact with the material the pen is made of, but the
wire length shouldn’t be so long that it is exposed at the business end of the
tip. The bare wire could also be wound (very tightly) around the tip several
If you want to use a brush rather than the tips, just get a size shrink tube
that will fit the brush ferrule. Instead of sticking the exposed wire into the
tip, place it along side the metal of the ferrule. For good electrical contact
the ferrule should be cleaned down to bare metal. If desired the wire could be
soldered to the ferrule.
Place the wire so it will contact the ferrule. Scotch tape can be used to hold
the insulated part of the wire to the handle while put on the shrink tube.
Place a piece of shrink tube over the ferrule so that it covers the ferrule
entirely & extends a short distance upr the handle.
Note: If the shrink tube covers the brush bristles after heating, trim it back
to a convenient length. Leaving it to cover the ferrule will prevent shorting
the ferrule to the item being plated.
Obtain a wood or plastic dowel (an un-sharpened pencil or old ball point pen)
about the same diameter as the tip.
Note: the dowel diameter doesn’t have to be exactly the same size as the tip;
the shrink tube will accomodate the difference.
Insert the tip, with the wire inserted, in the shrink tube.
Insert the dowel in the shrink tube from the other end. Press it against the end
of the tip. Be careful not to knock the wire loose.
The shrink tube should extend up the dowel about 1.5" or more before heating.
Heat the shrink tube to cause it to contract around the tip & dowel. Note: A
heat gun works best, but a soft flame directed close to it, but not on the
shrink wrap will also work. Apply the heat all around the shrink wrap, it
doesn’t take long. A hair, blow drier may work.
Connect the wire coming from the pen to the positive side of your voltage
I’ll leave you to come up with the negative lead that suits your fancy.
I’ve not tried this but ‘It looks good on paper’ & even if it doesn’t work you
have spent more than a couple of bucks, but look at all the fun you’ve had (bg).
Buying everthing you should be able to ‘roll your own’ for less that $20.00, not
Good luck & happy plating!
Dave Arens G.G. & Tool Designer