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Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #4320] Fri, 08 May 2009 14:54 UTC Go to next message
avatar MaxSMoke777  is currently offline MaxSMoke777
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I've done some checking into "Bronzing", or the process of plating copper on the outside of objects. It doesn't seem too hard, although it's something you really need to setup for. There's equipment, and finding the right voltage and chemicals, which makes me think, couldn't Shapeways add this as another service for us?

Once you get setup for plating, it's pretty easy. The chemicals can be reused quite a bit, so it's mostly a matter of time waiting for the metal to bond to the conductive paint. The paint can be sprayed on or even just dipped. There is a small danger of the acids involved when plating, but nothing that can't be easily planned for.

So I guess this is really aimed at the Shapeways staff: Have you considered adding Electroplating as a service for your wares?

It's cheaper then full metal printing, and more reliable. I've noticed that all of my versions of my Dirty Rat have been rejected for having limbs too thin. But "WSF" plastic with a little coating of copper or nickel wouldn't have any such breaking problems.
Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #4322 is a reply to message #4320 ] Fri, 08 May 2009 15:44 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar GlenG  is currently offline GlenG
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Hey Max,
What you are suggesting is known as "electroforming" it is a plating process but differs from simple metal plating. Any non conductive part (plastic, wood, leather etc.) must first be coated with an electro conductive paint. The electroforming process typically deposits much more metal than normal plating, especially on softer materials like leather or wood. This is done to impart strength. Becasue of the longer cycle time in the plating tank and more materials consumed by the process electroforming generally costs a lot more than simple plating. This would all be possible on printed plastic media but would probably double the price of the part.

-G.


"Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art."
Leonardo da Vinci
Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #4323 is a reply to message #4322 ] Fri, 08 May 2009 18:52 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar yanying  is currently offline yanying
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GlenG wrote on Fri, 08 May 2009 15:44

Becasue of the longer cycle time in the plating tank and more materials consumed by the process electroforming generally costs a lot more than simple plating. This would all be possible on printed plastic media but would probably double the price of the part.


I wouldn't mind paying extra for such a service. Very Happy
Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #4325 is a reply to message #4320 ] Fri, 08 May 2009 23:37 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar MaxSMoke777  is currently offline MaxSMoke777
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Yes, I know. Double the price on a $20, to see it with a shiny metal body? SIGN ME UP!

Glen, word to the wise, if you're going to "Correct" somebody, first read their post thoroughly, then use spell checker. I use the word Electroplating because people are more familiar with the term then they are Electroforming. Also I did mention the conductive paint several times, so I'm well aware of how it works. And WSF plastic doesn't need a heavy coat of metal, because it's not a weak material. 1mm is more then enough. I would go as far as to say that the coat of metal should never be more then 1mm in thickness.

As for the price, double the cost is NOTHING. I paid x6 the amount of WSF to see one of my models done in metal. And it's not even a shiny nickel or burnished copper. And after over a month, I still haven't gotten my model.

The worst part about metal printing is how much more touchy it is over WSF plastic printing. My poor Rats can't even be printed, because of all of their thin parts. I've had all of my rats rejected. And I would truly love to have a metal Dirt Rat. I imagine many other interesting models here are also unprintable in metal, just because of thinness.

But with plated models, thinness is no longer an issue. Any model that can be made in WSF can be covered in metal. Sure, it's not as cool as solid metal, but it's almost as good, and probably ALOT less expensive and more reliable. 1mm of metal is all I ask. If Shapeways doesn't do it, I'll have to do it myself. There is alot of preperation involved, and chemicals. I'd rather give them the money.
Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #4331 is a reply to message #4325 ] Sat, 09 May 2009 13:43 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Whystler  is currently offline Whystler
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For those of you in the know,

How much thickness would be added to a WSF piece if it were coated with metal like this?

-Whystler


Check out my website: http://tshawnjohnson.wordpress.com/
Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #4332 is a reply to message #4320 ] Sat, 09 May 2009 15:27 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar MaxSMoke777  is currently offline MaxSMoke777
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In theory, the plating can be as thick as you want, but i think 1mm would be plenty. As long as the voltage and amperage is low, it will slowly form over all the surfaces covered in the conductive paint. If it's too high, it'll build up on the pointy parts and coat unevenly.

I'd have to assume that, since this is done in industry all the time, there are ways of making sure the coating is always even. If we know it's going to be 1 or 2mm ahead of time, we can easily plan for it when engineering parts.
Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #4333 is a reply to message #4332 ] Sat, 09 May 2009 20:21 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Whystler  is currently offline Whystler
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I think it would be good if one of you electroplating keeners would go ahead and use the tutorials they have on instructables, and show us what a shapeways model would look like.

-Whystler


Check out my website: http://tshawnjohnson.wordpress.com/
Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #4334 is a reply to message #4333 ] Sat, 09 May 2009 23:44 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar odd  is currently offline odd
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Hi there - I love the effort to make metal plated plastics!!

A word of warning:

It seems a lot of plating processes are quite poisonous!

The electro plating process creates all sorts of poisonous gasses...and the chemicals involved can be both toxic and caustic...

A good resource on this: http://www.finishing.com/

I would say the best option is to let someone who has the skills and the tools (and protection) to do it.

What do you reckon?

cheers Smile

//O.
Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #4337 is a reply to message #4320 ] Sun, 10 May 2009 09:41 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar tree  is currently offline tree
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id definatly get stuff plated, would probly safe time and effort of trying to get a spray paint finish to look good.

that reminds me, i need to get minicollosus and case printed.........
Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #4475 is a reply to message #4332 ] Mon, 18 May 2009 05:17 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar GlenG  is currently offline GlenG
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I'm not a plating expert but I do know that high build electroforming can be very tricky business. "1mm" is actually a LOT of material to deposit onto a small object. Getting it to deposit evenly and without obscuring detail will not be as easy as it might seem. If the plastic substrate is strong enough as is then plating thicknesses in the micron range would be sufffcient.

Personally, I am a strong advocate for printing directly in metal. I work with these materials every day and I see very few limitations to the process. The biggest problem is that the printed object goes through a green stage, when the stainless powder is only held together with resin binders. At this stage it is fragile, like unfired clay. This is the #1 reason for part failure and is probably why Shapeways rejects certain designs. Sometimes only small modifications are needed to produce a successful part. But sometimes the designer needs to think a little further outside the box to make things work. This is cutting edge technology folks! So there will be teething pains to get through. But, the potential is awesome and nothing (so far) will ever take the place of solid metal.

Glen G.


"Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art."
Leonardo da Vinci
Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #4477 is a reply to message #4320 ] Mon, 18 May 2009 05:42 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar MaxSMoke777  is currently offline MaxSMoke777
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Electroplating is still the only solution that will work for me. Here's a few reasons:

#1. Parts often have overhangs or interiors which are still visible, and yet impossible to reach. This is part of the fun of 3D printing, is to produce objects that are impossible in Real-Life. But as a side effect, leafing is not an option.

#2. Plastic printing offers stronger models. Support structures could be added to metal, but then they have to be removed and sanded down. All at the expense of extra time and cost. And some pieces would offer no way to remove these support structures, making their creation impossible with the current method of metal printing.

#3. The cost of plastic printing is 1/6th the cost of metal printing. I doubt metal printing will ever be on par with the cost of plastic printing, I would go as far as to say that it's doubtable the cost would be even be on par with plastic parts that have been plated. It's costly and so far limited to steel and copper. So even for jewelry, the selection of metals is a problem. With plating, silver and gold finishes are possible.

Plating would produce a strong, lightweight, inexpensive model. And as you have pointed out, they wouldn't even have to put 1mm of material on there. So parts wouldn't have to be redesigned to fit, making plating a great alternative to painting. And the cost of plating, once the setup is up and running, should be low per model.

Metal printing is interesting, and if strength issues are fixed in this "Green" phase, it might be useful. But for now, plating is the clear winner.

When I have some time and some money put aside, I intend to test out the process myself. Hopefully within the next month. Of course, I can't do the same quantity or quality of plating as industrial machines. That's why I'm hoping that Shapeways will eventually provide this service for us.

Also, I'm no fan of battery acid. Laughing
Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #29658 is a reply to message #4320 ] Fri, 24 June 2011 23:44 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar lensman  is currently offline lensman
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Yes, I know I'm bumping this up from the archives but there was a link in a current thread...

My concern with plating would be the same as with the gold and other plated metals that we have now: With jewellery like rings I have found that the plating wears off. I won't buy these materials any long for that very reason.

Glenn


Glenn ------ My Website Third Dimension Jewellery
Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #29665 is a reply to message #29658 ] Sat, 25 June 2011 01:10 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar mctrivia  is currently offline mctrivia
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plating would be a great thing. The printed metal designs have really bad accuracy. They look good but if you measure them parts that should be square have warped and no longer are. Fine if you are printing something that is cosmetic only but Functionality I have found metal to lack. I have been considering ordering models and getting them plated. works great for my collection but I want my customers to have the same options. Gold plated polished WSF would make for really beautiful dice at reasonable price. Double even triple the price would often still be worth it though the less you charge the more I can sell.


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Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #29666 is a reply to message #4320 ] Sat, 25 June 2011 01:43 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar dizingof  is currently offline dizingof
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++10


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Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #29676 is a reply to message #29666 ] Sat, 25 June 2011 10:43 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar MuseumofSmallThings  is currently offline MuseumofSmallThings
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Hey,
I can see the benefits both in cost and detail over direct metal printing. I got talking to a chap the other day who ran his own metal plaiting business so i asked about chrome plaiting plastic. He told me that temperature can be an issue in the plaiting process and that only some types of plastics are suitable. This makes me wonder how a .7mm wall thickens would hold up accuracy wise if heat is an issue. Also this may only be relative for chrome and not other metal coatings. I believe anything is possible if done just the right way but it might not be super easy for shapeways to offer this service without a lot of payoff with design rules etc. I also wonder how easy it is to coat WSF with the conductive paint and how thick it is. Still, i have thought about trying it myself but am in no hurry to build, buy and acquire the knowledge that would yield acceptable results.


http://www.shapeways.com/shops/most
Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #29712 is a reply to message #4320 ] Sun, 26 June 2011 01:56 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar MaxSMoke777  is currently offline MaxSMoke777
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I never got around to setting up a plating operation. I just couldn't find a way to deal with alot of acid. I'd still be happy to pay someone else to do it though. My Dragon models would look SO much better with a metallic gleam.
Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #29714 is a reply to message #29712 ] Sun, 26 June 2011 02:11 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar mctrivia  is currently offline mctrivia
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there is a link to a company in the post production section that will do this for you. Would be nice if shapeways could do pre shipping to us.


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Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #29717 is a reply to message #29714 ] Sun, 26 June 2011 03:03 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar MaxSMoke777  is currently offline MaxSMoke777
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What Post-Production section?
Re: Can Shapeways offer us Electroplating? [message #29719 is a reply to message #29717 ] Sun, 26 June 2011 03:13 UTC Go to previous message
avatar mctrivia  is currently offline mctrivia
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Of the forum: http://www.shapeways.com/forum/index.php?t=thread&frm_id =95&

specific post: http://www.shapeways.com/forum/index.php?t=msg&th=5445&a mp;start=0&


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