Copper plating and etching Altoids tins

Craft & Design
Copper plating and etching Altoids tins

Jake writes in with a how-to plate and etch Altoids tins…

“Using a car battery, blue vitriol solution (an archaic name for copper sulfate) and printed circuit board making techniques, I etched and copper plated some Altoids containers this past weekend.”

Copper plating and etching Altoids tins- Link.

26 thoughts on “Copper plating and etching Altoids tins

  1. SonicReducer says:

    is there a way to adapt this to make plated through holes in PCB’s?

  2. knotlinks says:

    I just tried this really quick with my modest desktop power supply. Being a PCB maker, I was able to transfer pretty well, and the actual etching with power process is fantastic to do and watch. Thanks for pointing this one out, PT.

  3. Dax420 says:

    is there a way to adapt this to make plated through holes in PCB’s?

    Posted by: SonicReducer on February 07, 2007 at 07:43 PM

    Yes. It was linked on the make blog last month. The guy was using black magic marker and spray paint with masking tape to create the copper trace lines in blank PCB board. Then etching them with salt watter and a 12v wall wart power supply and a 12v car light bulb in series as a resistor.

  4. SonicReducer says:

    what? how could i have missed that?

    to the archives!!!

  5. c0redump says:

    That salt-water electrolytic etching thing was fine for removing copper from a board, but the original question asked about through-hole plating. That would require adding copper to a board that had been drilled, and just adding it to the insides of the holes. In industry, it’s done by electroplating, but I don’t know how they make the insides of the holes conductive, nor how to plate the holes and not the rest of the board.

  6. blackrazorus says:

    I _love_ the boxes etched with the picture of Ada Lovelace! Amazingly beautiful.

  7. vonSlatt says:

    Thanks Blackrazorus!

    SonicReducer – what you are looking for is here:


  8. skabdude says:

    Is HCL in any cleaning products, or is there a simple way to get it? Everything looks awesome!

  9. Crosius says:

    Muriatic Acid (HCL) is available in stained-glass shops for cleaning the oxides off lead caming prior to soldering.

    For similar reasons, it is available in plumbing supply stores for preparing copper pipe, and as a pickling solution in jewellers’ supply stores.

    You can also find it at plating shops, which is pretty unsurprising.

    Essentially, any industry that needs to get oxides off metal will have uses for HCL.

  10. chroma says:

    HCl (aka hydrochloric acid/muriatic acid) is sold as a swimming pool treatment. It is also sold as “driveway cleaner”. Copper sulfate is sold as “root killer” with plumbing supplies.

  11. skabdude says:

    Thanks chrom and crosius. I just found out some of my toilet bowl cleaner has hcl in it, too. Wow! There’s a use for toilet bowl cleaner! (just kidding)

  12. wai_xing_ren says:

    This is f’ing beautiful!

  13. vonSlatt says:

    Wait! Read the article! HCL was not actually used in any of the successes, only Copper Sulfate (blue vitriol).


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