Electroforming nickel dies for jewelry and buckles
Hello, I work for a small company in Oklahoma. I am very much a beginner at electroforming. My job entails the electroforming of nickel dies for pressing jewelry and buckles, using the Ni-Speed process. Does anyone have any tips on how to reduce or eliminate the growth of nodules on the edges of my (disk-shaped) dies?
I use butine-diol and agitation of the nickel bath, but I'm still faced with the daily sanding of these irritating little growths...HELP!
Brian (The Beginner)
award medals - Oklahoma
Based on what little I know, amperage contributes to the speed and distribution of metals. Edges usually plate first and plate heaviest, if the amperage is TOO HIGH! Turn it down and see if that helps.Steve Donegan
artist - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Non-conductive (PVC, acrylic, etc.) shielding of the high current density areas usually works well for nodule suppression.
Good luck, PlaterB
"PlaterB" Berl Stein
Rochester, New York
I don't know what the Nispeed process is, but butynediol is a primary brightener for nickel, I don't think you need it for electroforming. If anything you might want a carrier brightener to control stress. To minimize the nodules at the HCDA, high current density area, shield the edge with a nonconductor, or thieve the edge with a conductor close to the edge.
Falls Township, Pennsylvania
High current density on the edges causes the nodule growth. Consider lowering the amperage on a load. It takes longer but you waste less nickel and sand less. Mr Stein's shielding suggestion works if you can. Several books cover this and you may find a few things in ancient Metal Finishing and AESF magazine (www.nasf.org). If you have a real problem, try using thieves. This is simpler but wastes nickel. Nickel is cheaper than your sanding time though.
The shields require some very good guessing, or blind dumb luck -- or grace, skill and cunning. Beginners are frequently short of that, but experiment. It will make you a better plater in the long run.
- Navarre, Florida
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