A 1 litre stripped-down version of the full Copper Electroforming Kit. The Price includes 1 Litre of our Copper Electroforming Solution. It doesn’t include our Hotplate Stirrer so this Copper Electroforming Starter Kit – 1 Litre should be operated in ambient temperatures over 18 centigrade.
Scaling up or down; you can scale the volume of your kit up or down by swapping in different volumes of our plating beakers. You can also switch easily between our different plating solutions, as the Spa Plating tank plating process is very similar across all of our tanks plating solutions.
If you want to scale down the volume of the 1 litre kit to a 500ml kit for example, these are the core items you will need to change;
Copper Electroforming Starter Kit – 500ml (UK and EU only)
Copper Electroforming Solution (UK and EU only) – 500ml
Beaker Ring for Plating in a Beaker – 500ml
Platinum Rod Electrode for Beaker Plating for 500ml Beaker – 2 x 6mm Diameter
Anode Bag – 500ml x 2
Stirring Bar – Medium
Plating Beaker – 500ml
Beaker Lid – 500ml
These same core products can be scaled down further to 250ml or up to 2 litres.
The rest of the items on the kit list can stay.
Orders outside UK and EU
This kit cannot be purchased and shipped outside the UK and the EU because it includes our Copper Electroforming Solution (UK and EU only), one of our range of plating solutions that are regulated for transport.
With the Copper Electroforming Starter Kit – 1 Litre you’l be able to Electroforming on many non-conductive surface such as plastic, stone, leaves and glass.
To position the rod electrodes and anode bags correctly in the beaker, make sure that the anode bag is touching the bottom of the beaker and that the top of the anode bag isn’t touching the electrode ring.
One litre of our Copper Electroforming Solution is capable of plating 25 golf balls to a thickness of 100 microns.
makes an important contribution to the overall success of the plating process
has been thoroughly tested to ensure it performs its job at the highest level in the overall electroplating process
is either made in-house or has been carefully sourced from our trusted suppliers
These factors ensure consistent, top quality plating results for a fair price.
Made of non-corrodible metal
Will not rust and contaminate your plating solution
Has eight threaded holes to securely hold our Rod Electrodes for 1 L Beaker
This allows you a high degree of flexibility. If you only have a small electroforming job, then you may only want to purchase 2 electrodes. Or you can buy the full set of six or eight and arrange them according to the size and shape of the object you’re plating. Either way, you are ensuring you get the optimum performance from our Copper Electroforming Solution.
MF Rectifier Mrk 2
To use this power source for tank plating, please follow the instructions for this laid out in our guide in our electroplating manual – click HERE for the link.
Low voltage solid-state mechanism.
Safe in the event of major spillage.
Minimises/eleminates tide marks especially when plating flat objects.
Minimises the chance of beaker falling off and spilling its contents.
Solution is agitated with a magnetic stirrer at the bottom of the beaker during plating.
Mechanical agitation is a safer alternative to air agitation, as it eradicates any risk of the aerosol effect of the plating solution.
Mechanical agitation keeps the tank plating solution moving over the surface of the item being plated in a consistent way, again maximising the efficiency of the plating process.
Avoids unnecessary oxidisation of the metal plating solution that air agitation will cause.
Slip proof stand.
Minimises the chance of beaker falling off and spilling its contents.
Made from chemically resistant materials.
Particularly useful in corrosive atmospheres such as fume cabinets.
No moving parts (solid state).
Ensures long life.
Made from stainless steel
Will not corrode and contaminate gold tank plating solution. When used with clamp, can be moved up or down the stand in any position to fit any size of plating beaker.
Designed to be used with our Plating Arm and Clamp (sold separately)
Allows for complete flexibility – you can adjust height to of arms to accommodate small 250ml tanks up to and including 5 litre tanks
Electrical connection to work via negative lead, plugged into small socket at base of stand
Again avoids having to dangle work on negative lead directly into tank
Made bespoke from solid stainless steel and designed to be used in conjunction with the Plating Arm Clamp
Fully conductiveWill not corrode and contaminate the electroforming solutionWhen used with clamp, can moved up or down the stand in any position to fit any size of plating beaker.
Has ball head join point at one end to accommodate crocodile clip
Ball head allows complete 360 degree movement of crocodile clip, so you can quickly and easily make fine adjustments to the position of you work in the electroforming solution.
Plating Arm Clamp
Made in-house from non-corrosive stainless steel
Will not corrode over time and risk contamination of electroforming solution
Precision made from solid stainless steel to fit our Plating Stand perfectly, with wing screw for easy tightening
Means that you can fully adjust the height of the arm and it will be held firmly and safely in any position on the stand.
Add small, millilitre sized quantities to you electroforming solution
Keeps the electroforming solution depositing bright layers over multiple uses.
You can work out exactly how much Copper Brightener to use by going to Electroforming Calculator, which you can find on any of our product pages or our Home page.
To work out how much Copper Brightener to add to your electroforming solution, enter in the surface area of the item you’re electroforming and the required thickness of electroformed layer, press the ‘Calculate’ button and the amount of Brightener will be displayed in millilitres.
Copper electroforming on plastic is now straightforward with our Electroforming Kit. When used with our on-line Electroforming Calculator, you can now electroform on to most non-conductive and metal surfaces to substantial and measurable thicknesses.
Unlike many other systems, you won’t need to do lots of post electroforming buffing and polishing, as our Copper Electroforming Solution plates consistently bright and smooth.
If the electroforming bath is likely to remain unused for long periods of time, the copper electrodes and Electrode Ring should be removed from the copper electrode bath and stored separately.
This project has four main stages;
1. Preparing the surface of the plastic model soldier to make it conductive with our Conductive Ink (hi-grade).
2. Preparing your electroforming equipment.
3. Electroforming in the Copper Electroforming Solution.
4. Post electroforming plating of silver and gold.
Please note: The Rectifier shown in this project has now been discontinued and replaced by the MF Rectifier Mk II.
Stage 1. Preparing the surface for electroforming
a) Mounting the model soldier
It’s important to mount you work well before starting as this will make surface preparation and electroforming much easier. Drill a small guide hole in an area where it can’t be seen. At this point it’s a good idea to calculate the surface area of your item, in preparation for entering the correct settings into the Tank Plating Rectifier later on. We estimated that this model has a surface area of approximately 20 squared centimetres.
Screw in a brass screw and then attach a small length of our Gold Plated Jigging wire to the other end. This will have two functions; it will form a conductive link between the object and the Copper Electroforming Solution and equipment, ensuring a good electrical circuit. It will also be able to be gripped securely in the crocodile clamp, making sure there’s no danger of your piece falling in to the electroforming solution.
We’ll be spraying on our Conductive Ink (hi-grade) to make the surface conductive and prepare it for electroforming. This could also be painted on.
b) Spraying on the lacquer
Spray the surface with a fine layer of clear lacquer that can be easily bought from any hardware or car accessory shop. We recommend using a solvent based clear lacquer spray.
The lacquer is an essential step as this forms a key layer for the next layer of conductive ink and in the case of porous materials such as wood, seals the surface. Wait for 10-15 minutes and once the lacquer is almost dry but retains a little stickiness, either spray or paint on our Conductive Ink (hi-grade).
c) Using an airbrush to spray on our Conductive Ink (hi-grade)
Charge your airbrush with our Conductive Ink (hi-grade).
Spray on a fine layer of our Conductive Ink (hi-grade). You only need a few drops of ink – just enough to cover the bottom of the airbrush well. Spray at a distance of 5-6 cm and apply only enough to block out the underlying surface of the object. One layer of ink is is usually enough.
Dry in an oven.
Leave in a fan oven at a temperature of 45-50 degrees centigrade for three hours.
Please note that this ink dries far quicker and harder at higher temperatures. However most plastics warp at temperatures in excess of 50 centigrade.
The temperature range for drying ranges from 45 to 80 degrees centigrade.
Stage 2. Preparing your electroforming equipment
a) Working out the amps for the MF Rectifier and electroforming times
First, work out the surface area of your work in centimetres.
You can then either enter this into the Electroforming Calculator, which you will find on our website and all the calculations will be done for you,
or you can do it manually. If you choose to do the latter, multiply the surface area of your work by the solution factor for the Copper Electroforming Solution, which is 0.05 For our plastic model soldier the calculation works out as 20 x 0.05 = 1.0, so the plating amps will need to be set to 1.0
Then you need to decide how thick you require your electroformed layer to be and therefore how long it should be electroformed. If you are electroforming an item that is quite fragile, you will probably need to build a fairly thick layer of copper. If this is the case, you should be aiming to leave it in the solution for about 2 hours minimum. Our Copper Electroforming Solution deposits copper at a rate of approximately 1 micron a minute, so after 2 hours you should have a layer of about 120 microns. This plastic soldier is quite rigid, so it will be electroformed for about an hour.
b) Setting up your electroforming kit
Fill the rinse beakers with tap water and turn the Hot Plate Stirrer on to its lowest setting so that the copper solution is being agitated. Make sure the temperature of the solution is in the range of 22-28 degrees centigrade. Plug one end of the black lead as shown into the front of the Tank Plating Rectifier and the other end into the base of the Plating Arm.
c) Setting the volts
Make sure the Output switch is open on your Tank Plating Rectifier and adjust the volts to 3 – 3.5
d) Attaching the red lead
Attach the red lead to the Plating Arm.
e) Closing the Output switch
Close the Output switch and adjust the amps to 0.5 to start with and then, once you’ve started electroforming, after about 15 minutes, you can increase it to the full 1.00 amps.
f) Open the Output switch
g) Attaching the red lead to the Electrode Ring
Attach the red leadto the Electrode Ring
Stage 3. Electroforming in the Copper Electroforming Solution
a) Placing your work into the solution
Lower your work into the solution and start the timer. Turn on Output and check that the amp level is correct; in this case with the plastic soldier it should be reading 0.5 to be increased after after 5 minutes minutes to 1.00
You should quickly see a layer of copper building on your item.
b) Finished electroformed soldier
When the time is up, remove your work from the electroforming solution and pass it through the two rinse beakers. As can be seen in the photograph, your work will be covered in a bright, shiny and substantial layer of copper that will require very little if any, polishing or buffing.
b) Electroforming on other non-conductive surfaces
The same sequence of applying lacquer, conductive ink and then electroforming can be used on natural materials such as shell, wood, stone and leaves.
If you intend to electroform on semi-absorbent surfaces such as wood you will need to apply at least 2-3 layers of lacquer to completely seal the surface.
For electroforming on shell, the surface of the shell must not come into direct contact with the electroforming solution as the solution will etch the shell, so every part of the shell must be covered in layers of lacquer.
If you want to electroform on glass, you’ll need to use our Glass Primer, rather than the spray on lacquer and then follow the same stages with the Conductive Ink. Please see our video on plating a glass plaque which can be found on the Glass Primer page on our shop and see the instructions for use on our online shop.
Stage 4. Brush or tank plating subsequent layers
a) Preparing the copper electroformed surface
Once you have a substantiallayer of electroformed copper on your piece and you have passed it through the rinse stages, you can now go ahead and plate other layers such as silver or gold. If you wish to gold plate, you’ll need to plate a barrier layer of white bronze or silver beforehand.
To prepare the copper electroformed surface for further plating, you can simply dip it into some Acticlean to restore it to that freshly copper plated look; you don’t need to use power via the rectifier.
b) Brush plating a silver barrier layer
The beauty of Spa Plating’s system is its flexibility. You can move seamlessly between tank, brush and pen plating once you have our Tank Plating Rectifier.
To brush plate a barrier layer of silver, set up your brush plating equipment as normal by attaching an electrode handle fitted with a platinum electrode to the red lead and grip a Conductor Strip into the crocodile clip on the black lead. Estimate how much Silver Brush Plating Solution you’ll need with the online Plating Calculator, then follow the instructions for brush plating silver that you’ll find in previous projects in this manual.
c) Gold brush plating
To gold brush plate the item, calculate how much gold solution you’ll need with our Plating Calculator and then refer to the previous projects that include gold brush plating for guidance.
Copper Electroforming Calculator
How to use this calculator :
1. In the first box, enter the thickness that you want your electroform to be plated to. (thousandths of a millimetre).
2. In the second box, enter the surface area of the article in square centimetres (cm2).
3. In the third box, enter the volume of solution that you are using.
4. Click the ‘Calculate’ button.
5. Read off the amp setting for your rectifier and the plating time.
7. The volume of Copper Electroforming Brightener to add.
8. The weight of Copper Electroforming Replenisher to add (Only applicable when using Platinum Rod Electrodes).
9. The bath usage. This figure is the percentage of the total bath life expectancy when
using Platinum Rod Electrodes.
If you’re using Platinum Rods for anodes, we highly recommend our Copper Electroforming Solution Tracker
which can be downloaded by clicking HERE.
This will help you keep track of the life of the bath and estimate when it’s time to renew it.
Operating Conditions and Deposit Data:
0.035 – 0.05A/cm2
1.0 micron per minute at 0.05A/cm2
18 – 30°C
High spin speed (reversing mode) on Magnetic Stirrer
Single brightener. Initial concentration: 25ml/litre
Copper Electrode for Tank Plating recommended
Above 99% at Plating Factor = 0.035A/cm2
Hardness of deposit
160 VPN falling to 100 VPN over 5 days at room temp
Density of deposit
Special storage requirements
1 – 2 years
Health and Safety classification
Transport (UN number)
15 – 1500 rpm with optional reversing action
Room temperature – 40 °C
Silicone rubber – sealed/polyester
115mm x 175mm x 12mm (w x d x h)
Maximum beaker size
220/240v, 50/60 Hz
Some items are regulated for transport and can only be delivered to destinations in the UK and countries within the EU. Alternative or substitute products are detailed in the ‘Description’ tab of this tabbed panel or under Related Items below this tabbed panel.
For all price quotations for deliveries, please add your items to our shopping cart. You will be able to see the shipping costs by clicking on the ‘Calculate shipping’ button in the cart and before checking out.
You can access our MSDS by scanning the QR code which is on our product bottles.
Here is a video to show you how;
No plating at all.
Electricity not flowing
Check that the the rectifier is switched on, that volts are showing and that the circuit is switched on (see manual).
Check all electrical contacts and clean if necessary.
Conductive layer has broken with the main jigging wire breaking the electrical circuit.
Remove from the process, rinse and dry.
Repair the brocken circuit with Conductive Paint and allow to cure.
Replace in tank and start off at half the calculated amp setting for the first 5 minutes. This will allow enough copper to plate to carry the amps.
5 minutes, increase to the calculated amp setting.
No plating. Item looks damaged on removal from plating process
Leads connected wrongly.
Check that the black connection from the rectifier is connected to the work piece and the red connection to the Beaker Ring.
Dullness of plate in the middle of articles and recesses.
Amp setting too low
Increase the amp setting until brightness returns.
Lack of brightener.
Add 2ml of Copper Electroforming Brightener for every litre of solution and check for difference.
If no difference is observed after a third addition, do not add any more.
Temperature too high.
Reduce temperature to within operating range (see Tech Specs)
The bath starts off at a lower conductivity. The conductivity will increase as the bath is used (using our Platinum Rod Electrodes) and brighteness distribution will also increase.
The conductivity can be increased by adding sulphuric acid, but this must be done by a qualified person.
Copper content too high.
Lower the copper content by allowing to plate out without making Copper Electroforming Replenisher additions.
Deposit dull all over.
Grease or oil contamination.
Treat with Carbon Powder (see shop).
Add 10ml of Copper Electroforming Brightener for every litre of solution treated.
Run the plating bath until full brightness resumes.
Burnt deposit especially on corners and edges. Nodular in extreme cases.
Amp setting too high.
Decrease the amp setting.
Article too close to the anode.
Move the item in the beaker or rearange the anodes.
Low copper content evident in clearness of solution.
Add Copper Electroforming Replenisher at 40 grams for every litre.
Repeat unti original solution colour has returned.
Too little agitation.
Temperature too low.
Increase temperature. Please note that deposit will become less bright if the temperature is raised over 25 centigrade.
Matt deposit, rough in extreme cases.
Particulate contamination especially in small installations without continuous filtration.
Filter solution into a clean beaker/container.
If using copper anodes, scrub to remove fine particulate copper and rinse anode bags thorougly.
To prevent particulate contamination from copper anodes, consider using platinised anodes with bags.
Pitting of deposit – small holes which can become larger on further plating.
Fit anode bags.
If anode bags are not fitted to the Platinum Rod Electrodes, gas bubbles will escape and adhere to the surface of the work causing gas pitting.
Particulate matter in solution.
Grease or oil contamination in solution.
Treat with Carbon Powder as above.
Unplated area (step or skip plating).
Check cleaning cycle especially for water breaks (see Online Manual)
Vertical tide marks especially evdident on thin, flat articles.
Laminar nature of agitation especially when stirring.
Consider using a stirrer with reversing action in order to make the agitation more turbulent.
Streaking of deposit.
Excessive brightener additions.
Plate out without adding brightener.
Treat with Carbon Powder as above.
Contaminated rises or lack of rinsing.
Extend rinsing cycle.
Deposit peels from basis metal.
Check the cleaning cycle for the metal (see Online Manual).
Check the type of metal being plated.
Consider gold flash intermediate coating especially of plating on brass, steel or stainless steel (refer to Online Manual for a list of pretreatment stages).