I'm looking to electroplate brass rings with gems glued on top of them (though I believe this is then considered electroforming as the copper builds on the glue or epoxy and around the ring and gem?).
What I'd like to know is:
- What amp and volt size rectifier would be best? Some say 3amp is enough for small scale Jewelry others insist on going up to 25 to 30amp. I can get a 30amp 20volt online for relatively cheap - http://m.aliexpress.com/item/1919812106.html
(They have other smaller rectifiers, all have US plugs but do not state the plug outlet voltage. I live in Australia and need to be sure I can use an adaptor (not a converter) to plug into a 220v outlet).
If I use brass rings do I need to paint them first with a copper conductive paint? What if I want to eventually do silver plating? Would brass be okay to silver plate? I know I would need a different bath for that though, I'm just thinking of possibilities for the future.
Instead of using a copper conductive paint could I instead make my bath with copper sulphate, sulphuric acid and distiled water mixed together?
This is the copper sulphate I am currently using for the bath: http://www.bunnings.com.au/manutec-500g-copper-sulphate-soluble_p2961523 Is this pure enough? For my anode can I use a 99% pure copper sheet to will only 100% suffice?
Lastly, do I need to agitate the bath continually? I wouldn't mind a slightly organic look and have read that without agitation this will happen but I do not know to what extent.
I have experimented with copper plating a silver plated ring but the copper did not build up and part of the ring was eaten way at. I used the copper sulphate and boiling water for the bath, a copper pipe for the anode, and hooked the leads up to a 6 volt battery which attached to the anode and my cathode was a copper wire which wrapped around the ring. Not sure where I went wrong if it was the wrong type of copper sulphate, if I need conductive paint, a rectifier instead of a battery or what. Any assistance anyone could provide would be so very greatly appreciated. I've done so much research but am still at a bit of a loss as to what I need to improve upon to make the process work. I'm very keen to start plating my own jewelry.