Electroforming is a process where electroplating is used to create entire parts out of a certain metal, using molds or dies. Electroforming can be achieved with our acid copper plating process, and now, with our new Nickel Electroforming Kit.
With this kit, you can create intricate parts out of nickel using molds or dies. The electroforming process can build up thicknesses up to 0.08". It can also be used to build up worn shafts and as a base for hard chrome. It is highly ductile and flexible. It plates at the rate of approx 1/1000” per hour. Plating times range from 1-80 hours.
The system operates at between 0.07-0.3 amps per square inch at approx 2-4 volts. Higher currents will lead to faster plating times, but can sometimes cause rough plating. Low and slow is the best method for reliable electroformed parts.
Electroformed nickel will be a dull grey color. It can be polished, or plated with Bright Nickel, then with other plating kits, such as gold or chrome.
Nickel electroforming is not possible with our Bright Nickel Plating Kit. The chemistry is very different; the bright nickel formula will not plate heavy thicknesses.
Our Nickel Electroforming solution will plate readily onto copper, brass, bronze, steel, iron, zincated aluminum, and copper and silver conductive paints. When plating over conductive paints, we recommend dipping the painted part in tinning solution prior to plating for best adhesion and coverage.
Nickel will plate quickly, and if left too long will grow nodules and trees resembling coral growths on the part. These are fairly hard to remove. Agitation and a lower current will reduce the amount of buffing required.
Although the average plating time is 15-20 minutes, nickel may be plated for several hours if a really heavy layer is required. For a finer, denser plate, increase the tank temperature using the aquarium heater, and reduce the amperage. If the nickel plate looks dark and is rough, or has a layer that rubs off, you will need to reduce the amperage during plating.
Because the nickel is being plated from solution, not from the stainless anodes, the solution will need to be replaced occasionally. 1.5 Gals of solution will plate approx 100 sq ft at 1/1000".