I am attempting to electro-plate vias in a home brew printed circuit board. The medium I am attempting to electroplate is fiberglass bound together with epoxy. This is an intentional insulator.
I drilled a few holes in this medium using a regular electric drill and covered the holes with a graphite based conductive paint by covering the board in the paint and drawing it through the holes using a vacuum. I repeated this in both directions in an attempt to cover the holes evenly. I then cured the paint at about 100C for 20 minutes. In my experiments, this was far sufficient to dry the paint.
I then created a solution of 1000ml distilled water, 250ml of 38% sulfuric acid (battery acid to improve conductivity) 160g of copper sulphate pentahydrate, and 2 ml of polysorbate 20.
I prepared this solution by adding the sulfuric acid to the water slowly (to avoid rapid exothermic reaction between acid and water) then adding the polysorbate and the the copper sulfate pentahydrate. I then mechanically agitated the copper sulfate pentahydrate crystals until the solution was homogenous.
I ran .8A of constant current through the solution with the board as the cathode and an anode consisting of two electrically common (14ish guage) copper wire on either side of the board. After about 90 minutes this was my result...
I'm wondering why the copper clad had "beads" on it...the entire surface was sanded with 1500 grit sandpaper directly preceding the electroplating.
I'm also wondering why the holes are so "rough". In my testing, every via has come up as 0.0Oohms...or electrically common to the clad. Aesthetically though, this is not pleasing and makes me wonder if my method is truly reliable.