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Stainless steel anode baskets for acid electroforming bath?

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"Electroforming for Beginners"
by Jason Welsh

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December 29, 2021

Q. Hi,

Intro: I am a decorative art metal craftsman and owner of a production studio.

Seeking an anode basket from supplier.

Question is whether stainless steel can be used for an anode basket which will hold copper chunks, in an acid electroforming bath; or whether resistance of the stainless steel to the acid will be problematic. Details of the bath (for identifying possible adverse resistance dependent on the level of acid concentration) are below.

The particular setup, for copper electroforming of copper vessels (ie selectively building up the work object surface which is copper to start), consists of a 15 gallon tank (15" dia x 19" high) and a simple copper sulfate - battery acid bath, composition of which is (per gallon):

10 oz copper sulfate pentahydrate
11 cups distilled water
4.5 cups battery acid

The solution level is 5" below tank top and the typical bath time reaches or exceeds 20 hours. 25 amp rectifier.

I doubt the shape / size of the work would matter but it is typically cylindrical, 5 - 6" dia x 5 - 7" high, such that the anode basket would be suitably wider in diameter, surrounding the work.

Many thanks in advance.

Barry Wechsler
art metal studio - Yorktown New York

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

December 2021

A. Hi Barry. I've never heard of stainless steel anode baskets in an acid bath and believe that there is little chance of them working. Titanium is the usual material of construction, but an alternative would be cast copper anodes. They look a bit like the window counterweights in very old houses -- a round or oval slab of copper with a hook embedded in the top.

Luck & Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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