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topic 8139

Electroforming on Plastic


Hi,..I have been trying to spray a smooth finish on a plastic piece (using a copper conductive mixture).

I have altered the formula for mixing the chemicals, varied the air pressure (of the airbrush), and changed the distance between the airbrush and the object to be coated.

I have done all combinations of these alterations. I have coated dozens of items and they always have the texture of fine sandpaper. I know it can be done just by looking at all the plastic on an automobile. Since my plastic items have small detail on them, they can't be buffed down. They have to go straight into the copper electroforming bath after they are sprayed with the conductive coating.

If you can give me an answer, please reply.

Thanx p.s...maybe there is a manual with the answer to my problem

Don Marshall
- Woodland, California, USA


There are several different ways to make plastic conductive for subsequent electroplating. The method used on automobile parts is one, but is probably not the best for your needs.

What you need sounds very similar to what the people who made stampers for LP vinyl records needed, and its not very far from what you are doing. The only required change I see off-hand is that instead of starting with a copper paint you should start with a two-part silvering solution. One part is soluble silver (probably silver nitrate) and the other part is a reducing agent that causes to silver to plate out. The finish is very smooth and will follow your small details fine.

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

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