The course consists of 8 lessons. The informational material on electroforming with nickel was originally produced by Dr. Ron Parkinson of the Nickel Development Institute (NiDI). The course is intended as both an introduction to the electroforming process, but also delves deep enough into the processes to benefit electroformers with a measure of experience as well.
This course is one of the available courses in the AESF Foundation Master Surface Finisher (MSF) certification program.
This training program is designed to be beneficial for employees and supervisors working in both captive and job shops performing electroforming using nickel or copper. Trainees should have at minimum a high school diploma. Some experience in processing parts for surface finishing is helpful but not required. Line operators, managers, technical sales representatives, any personnel serving in the electroforming industry will benefit from attending this course.
The goal of this course is to provide the student with a broad range of information related to electroforming operations that are commonly conducted on a variety of mandrels.
The objective of the lessons in this course is to prepare the student for a certification examination that will provide said student with an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in electroforming methods, techniques and processes. At the conclusion of this course, attendees should have a basic understanding of:
- Objectives and limitations of the electroforming process
- The relationship between electrochemical principles and electroforming
- Operational conditions for Nickel electroforming solutions
- Operational conditions for Copper electroforming solutions
- Conditions affecting the mechanical properties of nickel electroforms
- The types of mandrels employed for electroforming
- Example applications of electroforming
With the knowledge gained from this training, quality is improved and rejects/finishing problems are reduced, making the trainee more valuable to the employer.
- 1. Introduction to Electroforming
- This lesson introduces the process of electroforming starting with a definition of the process and going through its capabilities and limitations. A comparison of nickel vs. copper is made and other deposits such as iron, silver and gold are briefly discussed.
- 2. Electrochemistry for Electroforming
This lesson covers electrochemical principles that can affect the quality and rate of electroforming. Calculation of plating time using Faraday’s Law equations and calculation of plating efficiency are covered in detail.
Use of conforming anodes, masking, shielding are also discussed. A focus on current distribution/throwing power and how they affect deposit structure is also provided.
- 3. Sulfamate Nickel Plating Part-1
- This lesson will provided the chemistry, operational conditions purification and troubleshooting of sulfamate and Watts nickel plating processes as used in electroforming operations. Plating equipment, solution make-up, solution impurities, stress measurement and control and the function of ingredients are the focus of part 1 of this lesson.
- 4. Sulfamate Nickel Plating Part-2
- This is the second part of sulfamate and Watts nickel plating processes as used in electroforming operations. The focus of part two is the effect of operational conditions such as temperature, pH, current density, additives, and impurities upon the electroformed deposit. A brief discussion of nickel-cobalt and nickel-manganese alloy deposits is also provided.
- 5. Mandrels-Types, Materials, Design and Preparation
- In this lesson, the trainee will be given information on the various types and designs of mandrels used in electroforming. Included are discussions on permanent mandrels made of stainless steel, copper/brass, steel, nickel, and exotic mandrel materials such as Invar® and Kovar®. Expendable mandrels such as wax, zinc, aluminum, plastics and glass are also covered. Preparation methods, backing methods and examples of design issues are also given.
- 6. Copper and Gold Electroforming
This main topic of this lesson is the use of acid copper plating solutions to produce copper electroforms. Solution chemistry, operational conditions and impurity control are detailed.
A brief discussion of gold deposition for electroforming from sulfite and other high speed gold plating solutions is also included.
- 7. Electroforming Applications-Part-1
- This lesson provides real-life examples of products produced via electroforming in the past and at present. Items including DVD, Compact Discs, printing screens, sieves and holograms are discussed in part 1.
- 8. Electroforming Applications-Part-2
- This lesson provides real-life examples of products produced via electroforming in the past and at present. Items including automotive molds, jewelry, aerospace parts such as radar wave guides and printing plates are discussed in part 2.