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Electroforming Organic Materials

Hi Joseph

Just a thought: We here in downtown Perth, Australia now are able to
have this done commercially so I would imagine that near where you
are you would have access to such a service. It certainly makes
things a lot easier, what with labour, chemical hazards, etc.

Christel van der Laan

I would love to find this as a commercial service in the US, but have
been looking for some weeks now with no success. So far I’ve managed
to locate one milspec contractor who would charge $100 per 1" part
for nickel forming, a few large firms which are not interested in
craft quantities, and one jeweler who is not taking on new projects.

If anyone can help, I’m in serious need of leads - indeed, I’m ready
to consider leads in Australia. Thanks,

Bathsheba Grossman (831) 429-8224
Digital sculpture
Creative prototyping

Several messages have come through on this topic and there seems to
be a lot of frustration here…

Instructions on electroforming (electroplating) as applied to lapidary
can be found in the archive of the Lapidary Digest. I wrote the
anchor article in January, 1998 but the method is essentially the same
as we use regularly.

This uses non-cyanide plating solutions and it isn’t rocket science.
The most difficult part for most people is to make a constant current
regulator. Next, it takes a really good current meter… typically
$70 from Radio Shack.

To locate this paper, go to HTTP:// and from
that home page, select the link to “Archives (Back Issues)”. On the
main Archive page, select the link to “Threads List (Topics Index)”.
Mouse down the threads list to the electroforming group of messages.
Note the lead article is in Issue #115 (message 2). There are several
follow up messages in other issues.

To read 115-2, press your browser Back-button to return to the primary
Archive. You will see there is a large block of back issue numbers.
Find and select the link marked “LD-115”. This contains the basic
electroform To download LD-115, rather than read it on
the screen, press the Shift key (or the Ctrl key depending on which
browser you are using) as you click on LD-115.

A downloadable search engine is also on site which creates a document
containing every message from all the issues, having a specified key
word, like “electroplate”. Often, a topic is touched upon in the
message when the subject is something else.

This electroforming system is very general and adapts well to
non-conducting surfaces other than rock so long as the material isn’t
reactive to acid (carbonates, etc.).

In my previous message about Electroforming, I forgot that Hale Sweeny
(Lapidary Digest Managing Editor) reprinted the basic article with
a suitable constant current regulator circuit. This can be found from
the link at HTTP:// called, “Articles from the
pages of the Lapidary Digest”.

BTW, this system doesn’t compete with the high amperage, metal
plating, cyanide based systems in common use by jewelers. The target
here is free lancers like ourselves and the craft people where a few
drops of dried cyanide on the floor can take out the cat, if not the
children in short order.