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Platinum Electroforming

Dear Sirs: How would I go about electroforming platinum. I have a
project I need to create some complex electrodes for and I am hoping
to be able to electroform platinum over resin forms.

James McMurray
instructional technician II
123A art building
school of art, university of washington
seattle, wa 98195

Dear James, I have not done platinum electroforming specifically,
however I have done extensive silver electroforming. The process
should be similar. And BOY are you going to spend money. I just
bought a pint of platinum solution two days ago and the price went
from $80.00 to $150.00 in one month for that pint.

Resin or wax will work well with this process. If you use wax you can
wash it out when you are done and have an extremely light weight

Your first step with you finished and ready to plate piece is to make
sure it is clean. Then paint on as thin a layer of copper based paint
as you can. Rio sells this stuff and it is it a little spendy. Let
this dry thoroughly. Keep it clean and don’t touch it if at all

In a regular plating set up you must nickle flash the part. This
process is done with a regular plating machine and nickle plating
process. Follow the directions on the type of nickle plating solution
you have. Each brand of nickle plating solution has it’s on process.
I have found that most time the instructions tell you to use WAY too
much voltage. Start with a low voltage and work your way to a nice
bright look.

Now here comes the fun part. You must have a milli volt plater. I
think Gesswein still sells these units. These are units that plate in
hundredth of a volt. I usually set my voltage on 4/10ths of a volt.
The solution is also in a magnetic stirrer because the solution needs
to be circling the object constantly for a uniform coverage.

This plating can take up to 4 days. You must keep the water levels
in your solution at the proper level and make sure your solution gets
replenished with new plating solution. Usually I add more solution to
the bath instead of distilled water to keep the plating solution at
it’s best. The solution is room temperature.

After you are done you will still have to polish you piece. This is
the part I haven’t done with platinum. Your piece should come out
with the texture of a snow flake. By that I mean almost frosted in
it’s appearance. I think polishing with the four part platinum
polishing kit should work fine. I would also try burnishing the piece
with steel shot. If your model was wax, before you polish melt the
wax out.

What I might recommend is to do this process in silver first to see
if you can do it technically. Silver is cheaper and you will need to
work out the particularities of you set up. If you do choose to try
it in silver use fine silver instead of sterling and keep the
solution ultra concentrated.

Good Luck!

Todd Hawkinson
TR the Teacher

Hi, I have done thousands of Electroformed Items (Baby rattles ,
Cups, Trophy handles Bracelets) with thicknesses upto .125 " In
sterlingSilver and also 24k gold. I would not Advise trying to
Electroform Platinum without talking to some large Plating supply
Houses… It could be a giant waste of money. In 30 years of
Electroforming, I have yet to hear anyone elctroforming Platinum
successfully. This does not mean it can’t be done… It just means
that unless you want to spend massive amounts of money doing research
,I would suggest you do it Any other way. Just my 2 cents. PS. We may
be taking on some electroforming contracts if there is some interest.
Daniel Grandi

I agree on the difficulty of electroforming platinum. Aya Azraelant
(sp?) has had some sucess doing production in platinum
electroforming. Some of Stuller’s hollow platinum earrings appear to
have been formed that way. I would guess Steve Kretchmer would have
some but I don’t know how to reach him. My first call
would be to Rio Grande, then to Hoover and Strong, and ask for a
"tech-rep" in each case. I believe the secret will be in the
correct alloy. Good luck.

David L. Huffman

Hi ! I would like to know about platinum electroforming, can anybody
help me of the following quires.

  1. possibility
  2. training
  3. who can do for me
  4. any web site for technical

Anupam Karmakar