Copper Electroforming Plastic

Copper Electroforming Plastic

You can use Spa Plating’s Copper Electroforming
Kit to copper electroform on non-metal surfaces such as plastic, glass, stone, wax and stereolthic
3D printed objects. In this video we will show you how to copper electroform on a plastic
surface, in this case a model soldier, and we will be using an airbrush to apply our
Conductive Paint Airbrush version. The video will be presented in four stages; first, we’ll
show how to prepare the surface of your non-conductive item with the conductive paint airbrush version,
second, how to use our copper electroforming calculator to work out how long to electroform
to achieve your desired thickness of copper and thirdly, how to set up and use your electroforming
kit. Finally we’ll also show you ideas for silver plating on top of your copper surface,
using our brush plating equipment. To start then at the first stage, carefully work out
the surface area of your item and make a note of this. We estimate the surface area of this
plastic soldier to be about 20 centimetres squared. Assemble you airbrush according to
the manufacturer’s instructions and have your conductive paint airbrush version to hand.
First, mount the item using the gold plated jigging wire. To do this we drilled a hole
in the bottom of the model and secured the end of the wire with a small amout of epoxy
resin. If you are electroforming an item which has a porous surface for example a leaf or
a piece of wood you will need to seal the surface with lacquer. You can use our Sealing
Lacquer or you can use a clear lacquer spray that can be bought from any DIY or car accessory
shop. Guidance on how to use our sealing lacquer can be found on the sealing lacquer product
page on our online shop. If you want to electroform on to glass you will need to use our Glass
Primer instead of the spray on lacquer. You can watch instrictions on how to apply this
in our Copper Plating on Glass Video, links to which can be found on the glass primer
product page. Once the item has been mountedand if porous has been treated with sealing lacquer
it is now time to apply the conductive paint airbrush version. Using one of our pipettes
drop in enough conductive silver paint to cover the bottom of the well of your airbrush.
Spray at a distance of 5-10 centimetres and apply just enough to lightly cover the item.
You don’t need to apply a thick coat, as a fine coat will be just as conductive. Once
you have sprayed on the conductive paint for airbrush, you will need tyo leave it to air
dry at room temperature for one hour. Check that you item is fully conductive with our
Conductivity Tester. Be careful to gently rest the conductivity probes against the item
in case you puncture the thin and delicate layer of the dried conductive paint as any
damage will prevent plating. Next you need to work out the amp levels and electroforming
times for your item and you can do this by entering in the surface area and your desired
thickness of copper into our online copper electroforming calculator. At this stage we
strongly advise you to use our Copper Electroforming Solution Tracker to record the resulting calculations
generated by our copper electroforming calculator. To download this go to our electroforming
kit product page and click on the link. Enter in the surface area and the desired thickness
into our online copper electroforming calculator. The surface of our model soldier was approximately
20 centimetres squared and we decided on a thicknes of 100 micreons as this would ensure
the model ended up completely rigid. The amp level was 0.7 with the time being 2 hours
nine minutes. The figures in the volume of copper electroforming brightener to add and
weight of Copper Electroforming Replenisher add fields are the quantities of these products
that need to be added once the electroforming job is complete. The bath usage figures tells
you the percentage of the copper that will have been used from the electroforming solution
once the electroforming job is complete. Our calculator also estimates how much the job
will cost. Once you have these figures, they should be recorded on our copper electroforming
solution tracker. You will need to add the most recent bath usage figure to the previous
total bath usage figure to help you keep track of the bath usage over time. When the total
bath usage reaches 100% it is time to renew the copper electroforming solution. To set
up the equipment, take the electrode ring and slip the anode bags over the rod electrodes.
Place the plating beaker over the electrode ring and then turn the beaker the right way
up and put the stirring bar in the beaker. Attach the thermometre probe to the side of
the beaker and turn the hot plate stirrer on to its lowest setting so that the copper
solution is being agitated. Make sure the temperature of the solution is in the range
of 22-28 degrees centigrade. Fill the rinse beakers with tap water. Make sure the output
switch is open on your tank plating rectifier and adjust the volts to 3-3.5 Attach the red
lead to the plating arm, close the output switch and adjust the amps to 0.5 to start
with and then once you’ve started electroforming, after about 15 minutes, you can increase it
to the full 0.7 amps. Open the output switch, attach the red lead to the electrode ring
and lower your work into the solution and start the timer. Turn on the output and check
that the amp level is correct. In this case with the plastic soldier, it should be reading
0.5 to be increased after 5 minutes to 0.7 You Should quickly see a layer of copper building
on your item. When the time is up remove your item from the electroforming solution and
pass it through the two rinse beakers. Your work will be covered in a bright, shiny and
substantial layer of copper that should not require polishing or buffing. At this point
if you’re using our rod electrodes, you should add your Copper Brightener and Copper Electroforming
Replenisher, according to the amounts recorded on you copper electroforming solution tracker,
so that your copper electrofoming bath is ready for the next electroforming job you
need to so. Make sure you stir the solution for long enough, for the electroforming replenisher
to fully dissolve. Once you have electroformed a layer of copper you can easily deposit another
plated layer using either our tank plating equipment or our brush plating equipment.
In this case the tank plating rectifier will be used to silver brush plate the electroformed
soldier. First, plug the red and black leads into the correct sockets, close the output
switch and turn the amp knob up to maximum. Finally, adjust the volts according to the
requirements of the brush plating solution you’re using. So, not only does Spa Plating’s
electroforming system deliver consistently bright layers of gleaming copper with minimum
polishing or buffing, it also integrates beautifully with the rest of our plating equipment. This
allows you maximum flexibility to get the job done efficiently and to a fantastic standard.


  1. Hi, thank you for uploading this video. I've found your calculator very useful. I am initating myself on copper electroforming for jewelry and I have, perhaps, a silly doubt, what is the amount of microns necessary to create a nice deposit for jewelry pieces? And second question, does change the microns if after plating my piece I want to modify the piece such making holes, bending… Thank you for your attention, the truth is that I've found little information about small-scale electroforming on the internet.

  2. hi Julia, I'd like to eletroform a part of a little stone, not totaly, to create a pendant, is it possible? and what can I use? and how I can proceed?

  3. nice video. but it remains question in my mind. is it possible we do chrome electroplating after copper plating? will the result be good?

  4. Ive always fancied having a go at this and have uses for it, unfortunately its price prohibitive as the kits are so damned expensive. Unless using these kits constantly and getting good mark ups on restoration jobs I can never see me doing this 🙁
    Great video though

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