DIY plated through holes

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Re: DIY plated through holes

Postby Alex555 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:07 pm

Would it be faster to cover the copper side of a single-sided board with masking tape, then apply the current from the backside? That way you do not add material where there is already copper, and all of the current will be through the holes. You might have to be careful with the initial current through the graphite, though.
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Re: DIY plated through holes

Postby bearmos » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:55 pm

Alex555 wrote:Would it be faster to cover the copper side of a single-sided board with masking tape, then apply the current from the backside? That way you do not add material where there is already copper, and all of the current will be through the holes. You might have to be careful with the initial current through the graphite, though.


This would decrease the amount of current needed (although if you only have a single side of copper there's no need to cover the other side in tape (or to do PTH at all for that matter).

The total plating time wouldn't be changed though, it would still take the same amount of time to deposite the desired amount of copper onto the PTH's if you're using the same current density (amps per area).

I can't immediately think of a reason you'd want to bother with PTH on a single sided board, physical connection strength maybe?
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Re: DIY plated through holes

Postby Alex555 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:51 pm

I guess I wasn't thinking when I posted that, but if you covered up some of the surface area, and deposited the same amount of copper you normally would, wouldn't that increase the copper on the not covered area, making it take shorter to get the same amount of copper on?
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Re: DIY plated through holes

Postby bearmos » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:46 am

Alex555 wrote:if you covered up some of the surface area, and deposited the same amount of copper you normally would, wouldn't that increase the copper on the not covered area


If you kept the current the same, then yes (decreased surface area and the same current == higher current density). A higher current density deposits more copper over the same amount of time. The problem with higher current densities is that they tend to deposit copper non-uniformly and you wind up with a fairly rough layer of deposited copper. Here's a link to an example current calculation and plating times.

If you kept your current density the same, you'd need to reduce the current during plating, which would result in the same amount of plating time for the same thickness of deposited copper.

Either method would result in the masked portion not having copper deposited.
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Re: DIY plated through holes

Postby rtrombetta » Tue May 14, 2013 2:38 pm

If anyone is still interested, this video shows how to plate the holes at home using copper hypophosphite pyrolysis to activate the holes.

Copy and paste this address: youtu.be/fY0AjzKLA-8
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