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Electroforming onto silicone forms

July 30, 2021

Q. I'm interested in electroformed molds for prosthesis manufacturing. More specifically, I'd like to plate copper over silicone forms (ie, hand, ear, etc.), to a thickness of ~0.080". The silicone plugs will be discarded, and the electroforms will be used to mold prosthetic parts.

Does anyone have any experience electroforming over silicone plugs?

I understand that plastics are commonly etched => catalyzed with palladium and tin salts => electroless plated => electroplated. Can the same process be used for silicone? Is there anything you would do differently? In particular, I'm not sure about the best way to activate the silicone plugs.

Thanks for your suggestions.

RFQ: I need electroformed molds for prosthesis manufacturing. I can provide silicone forms (i.e., a hand, or ear), and I need them plated with copper or nickel, to a thickness of ~0.080".
Expect small batches of 4-8 parts, and an annual volume of 30-60 pieces.
My local plating shops won't do electroforming. Please E-mail me if this is something you are experienced in.

David Shelton
- Woodland, California
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Ed. note: As always, gentle readers, technical replies in public and commercial replies in private please ( huh? why?)

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