Copper Electroforming Starter Kit – 500ml (UK and EU only)

You can purchase this kit as it is or if you wish, you can use it as a guide to put together your own bespoke kit. Click on the items in the list to see detailed product information.

£512.26 + VAT

MF Rectifier

£124.16 + VAT

Black Lead Short (0.25 metre)

£4.04 + VAT

Red Lead Short (0.25 metre)

£4.21 + VAT

Copper Crocodile Clip

£4.98 + VAT

Magnetic Stirrer

£98.64 + VAT

Plating Beaker - 500ml 

500ml

Beaker Ring for Plating in a Beaker - 500ml 

500ml

Platinum Rod Electrode for Beaker Plating × 2 - 500ml 

500ml

Anode Bag × 2 - 500ml 

500ml

Copper Electroforming Solution (UK and EU only) - 500ml 

500ml

Copper Electroforming Brightener + 3ml Pipette - 100ml 

100ml

Copper Electroforming Replenisher - 250g 

250g

Conductive Paint (UK and EU only) - 7g 

7g

Weighing Tray

£0.39 + VAT

Plating Stand

£34.25 + VAT

Plating Arm and Boss

£59.95 + VAT

Gold Plated Jigging Wire

£2.71 + VAT

Rinse Bottle

£6.96 + VAT

Safety Glasses

£3.93 + VAT

Assorted Nitrile Gloves

£1.00 + VAT

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A 500ml stripped-down version of the full Copper Electroforming Kit. Just enough to get you started on quality copper electroforming. Doesn’t include our Hotplate Stirrer so this Copper Electroforming Starter Kit – 500ml should be operated in ambient temperatures over 18 centigrade.  See below in the ‘Related Products’ section for links to our 1 litre and 2 litre sized electroforming starter kits.

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.

If you are outside the UK and the EU then you should consider purchasing our Copper Electroforming Solution (export outside UK and EU only). Please see the ‘Related Products’ section below this tabbed panel for the relevant product links.

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.

These jade pieces (Kindly supplied by Siamgems) have been selectively electroformed using our process and then tank plated with our gold and silver tank plating solutions and equipment. Follow this link to our electroplating manual for help with electroforming on stone.

Copper Electroforming Starter Kit – 500ml

Every item in our electroplating kits

  • 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.

Electrode Ring

Features Benefits
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

Features Benefits
Current can be set at start of electroforming process and will remain set at that level throughout No need to check and adjust the setting once electroforming has started. This is critical for electroforming as it takes hours, rather than minutes to build up substantial layers of copper. With this rectifier, you will be able to leave it safely, knowing it’s keeping the current at a regular, correct level and you won’t have to keep adjusting it.
Can be adjusted for use with brush plating Allows you to use the brush plating process as a compliment to the tank plating process, which allows for greater flexibility.

Magnetic Stirrer

Features Benefits
Low voltage solid-state mechanism. Safe in the event of major spillage.
Reversing function. Minimises/eleminates tide marks especially when plating flat objects.
Low profile. 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.

Plating Stand

Features Benefits
Made from stainless steel Fully conductive.
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

Plating Arm

Features Benefits
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

Features Benefits
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.

Copper Brightener

Features Benefits
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

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.

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 electrofoming. This could also be painted on.

We could also use our Conductive Paint, guidance on the use of which comes in a following project ‘Selectively Electroforming using our Conductive Paint’. However, the conductive paint is best used on a less smooth surface, such as a shell or a leaf. With a smooth plastic surface spraying on the Conductive Ink (hi-grade) will give a better result.

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.

If air drying

Leave at room temperature for 24hrs

If oven drying

Leave in a fan oven at a temperature of 45-50 degrees centigrade for three hours.

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.

Here is a screen shot of our Copper Electroforming Calculator

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 lead to 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 substantial layer 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

Operating Conditions and Deposit Data:

Plating Factor 0.035 – 0.05A/cm2
Plating rate 1.0 micron per minute at 0.05A/cm2
Temperature 18 – 30°C
pH <1.0
Agitation High spin speed (reversing mode) on Magnetic Stirrer
Brightener Single brightener. Initial concentration: 25ml/litre
Electrode (bagged) Copper Electrode for Tank Plating recommended
Cathode efficiency 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 8.9 g/cm3
Stress Low (Tensile)
Special storage requirements None
Shelf life 1 – 2 years
Health and Safety classification Corrosive
Transport (UN number) 2796

Magnetic Stirrer:

Stirring speed 15 – 1500 rpm with optional reversing action
Temperature Room temperature – 40 °C
Cover material Silicone rubber – sealed/polyester
Stirring mechanism Coil drive
Plate diameter 100mm
Overall dimensions 115mm x 175mm x 12mm (w x d x h)
Weight 0.35kg
Maximum beaker size 1 litre
Adaptor voltage 220/240v, 50/60 Hz
Input voltage 12v
Power rating 3 watts

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.

Fault

Possible cause

Corrective action

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.
After
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)
Low conductivity. 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. Increase 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. Filter.

 

Grease or oil contamination in solution. Treat with Carbon Powder as above.

 

Unplated area (step or skip plating).

 

Improper cleaning 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.
Organic contamination.

 

Treat with Carbon Powder as above.
Contaminated rises or lack of rinsing.

 

Extend rinsing cycle.
Deposit peels from basis metal.
Improper cleaning.

 

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).