Introduction To Electroforming
|Electroforming is the process of electrodepositing on a mandrel and then separating to make (or duplicate) a metal article.|
Advantages of electroforming
- 1. Can perform ultra-precision processing (good replication accuracy). The most important feature of electroforming is that it is highly “realistic”. Electroforming can even replicate metal wires below 0.5 microns. For example, a high-precision metal mesh (ultra-fine metal mesh) for a television camera with 2,500 3.5-micron ultra-fine wires in a width of 1 inch is produced by electroforming. The cigarette filter fiber is also made of cellulose through an ultra-fine metal mesh, which cannot be achieved by other metal processing methods. The accuracy of electroformed replication is very high. The manufacturing method of the high-precision metal mesh is to apply an insulating layer (protective layer) on a base plate by using a photo-making technology as required, and then use this as a template for electroforming.
- 2. Can adjust the physical properties of the deposited metal. The hardness, toughness, and tensile strength of the deposited metal can be adjusted by changing the plating conditions and the composition of the plating solution. Multi-layer electroplating, alloy electroplating, and composite electroplating can also be used to obtain physical properties that cannot be obtained by other processing methods.
- 3. Not limited by product size. As long as it can be placed in the plating tank.
- 4. Easy to make parts with complex shapes.
Disadvantages of electroforming
- 1. Long operation time. For example: It takes 25h20min to deposit a 3mm thick nickel layer with a cathode current density of 3A / dmm. Even when using small and thin parts to plate thick layers, the cost is high, but it can be left unmanaged during the plating process.
- 2. Operate by experienced and skilled personnel. The electroforming device is simple, but in replicating a complex shape model, a master mold, a conductive layer treatment, a peeling treatment, etc. are required. These processes require personnel with experience and skilled skills to operate.
- 3. There must be a large working area. Even small products need to have a flat layout such as a plating tank, a water washing tank, etc. The wastewater treatment device must have a relatively large operating area.
- 4. In addition to electroplating operation technology, you must also have mechanical machining and metal machining knowledge. The electroforming method does not produce products by electroplating alone, but also mechanical operations such as substrate processing and grinding, so it is necessary to have knowledge and skills in these areas.
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