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Help! Electroforming brittle, cracking and distorting when heated.

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  • Help! Electroforming brittle, cracking and distorting when heated.

    I have been working with Caswell Acid Copper for over a decade now using the same process. I recently have been having problems with my electroformed pieces cracking and distorting when heat is applied to it to melt out wax or solder. I have not had this problem in the past.

    The plating appears to start fine with even copper coverage over the painted surface. I use conductive paint covered wax.

    Yesterday I mixed a small quart bath and have the same problem. I’ve checked the Ph and that is on point and added brightener part B.

    The surface is rough, but there are no other visible defects in the plating until I apply heat. I can also easily break it by hand.

    I need to get this fixed as I have a deadline in two weeks.

    I have attached an image of the cracking.

    Any ideas what is going on? Could it be the power supply? Amps?

    Plated surface:
    Victory Brown Wax
    Midas Silver Conductive Paint
    2 square inches surface

    Specs Bath (Mixed 1/30/19)
    Acid Copper
    5 Gallons
    Regulated Power Supply Digital, 0-30 V 0-5 A https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    COPPER C101 Anodes with anode covers
    Amps .4
    Volts .5
    Time 12 hours
    Plate thickness 1mm

    Specs Test Bath (Mixed 8/17/19)
    Acid Copper
    1 Quart
    Regulated Power Supply Digital, 0-30 V 0-5 A https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Caswell Copper Anodes with anode covers
    Amps .4
    Volts .5
    Time 12 hours
    Plate thickness 1mm

    Thanks!

    -Lauren
    Last edited by lk09876; 08-17-2019, 07:09 PM.

  • #2
    It could be due to too much brightener, if you add too much brightener into the bath it can cause the electroplating surface to splinter and have poor adhesion.

    Which is what i think is happening here, since I see you're adding more brightener into solution and this might be the culprit. Try cutting the bath by 30-40% and make up the remaining solution without a brighter adjustment.

    My personal rule of thumb when I only add brightener when the copper is looking dark and matte on my hull cell.
    Jason Panarra, MBA CEF
    Coatings Chemist – Coatings
    Allegion
    jpanarra@gmail.com

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    • #3
      Thanks Jason.

      You know, that might be the one difference between my plating for the last 10 years or so and now. I used to be really lazy about adding brightener, if I did it ever. I'll try it.

      Comment


      • #4
        That was it!

        Mixed a new bath. Added no brightener. Beautiful shiny surface, some very slight distortion around the patch I cut out to remove the wax, but was able to bend back into place (not brittle).

        Thanks Jason!

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