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POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78500] Fri, 08 November 2013 16:17 UTC Go to next message
avatar Bobbiethejean  is currently offline Bobbiethejean
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A few days ago I asked if Shapeways would ever consider offering electroplating services for plastics and one of the moderators replied thusly: "Electroplating requests: YES! Please make your voice heard so that the community team can prove there's demand for other materials and finishes. Without that, it's very hard for us to champion them."

So basically what I gleaned from that is something like yes, we will in the very least try it and see how it works out but ONLY if enough people want it and speak out in favor of it. The question then becomes, my fellow Makers, do you want it? Here is my argument in favor of Shapeways offering electroplating services:

1.) It CAN be done! You might be thinking "you can't electroplate plastic! It's not conductive!" No it's not but you can make it conductive with sprays or rinses. If it can hold a conductive coating, it can be electroplated.

2.) Convenience, speed, trust, rapport. I like the idea of being able to have a nice, shiny, plated model straight from Shapeways rather than having to send my model off somewhere else to be electroplated. That would take a lot longer for one thing and I also don't like the idea of shipping my model off somewhere else because they might break it or lose it. I know and trust Shapeways. I feel far more comfortable with them handling my models than some other entity I've not established a rapport with.

3.) Pricing. I can't speak for anyone else here but I have come up with several designs that are, at present, not printable in any of the metals either because the designs are too big, too elaborate, or printing them in metal would be prohibitively expensive. Printing something up in FDP then having it plated would give it that nice metallic look without breaking the bank. I'm aware that plating would add to the price but there's no way plating a 40$ key will come anywhere NEAR the 500$ of printing it up in brass.

4.) Rules, rules, rules. Brass and Bronze appear fairly easy to design for, silver slightly less so, but stainless steel can be a nightmare because of all the rules, especially that pesky sandcastle rule. However, with electroplating for plastics, you wouldn't need to worry about that! The rules for plastics tend to be fairly forgiving.

So to recap:

-It CAN be done.
-It would be more convenient.
-It would be faster.
-You know, trust, and have done business with Shapeways (or presumably you wouldn't be here Razz).
-It would be a great deal more cost effective than printing things up in real metal.
-Designing for plastic can sometimes be far easier than designing for metals.

And there you have it. That's my argument. I'd love to see a discussion on this topic. Would you want Shapeways to offer this service? Why or why not? Potential pitfalls? Anything I missed? GO! Discuss, my fellow Shapers and Makers.

[Updated on: Fri, 08 November 2013 17:20 UTC]

Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78505 is a reply to message #78500 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 16:40 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar barkingdigger  is currently offline barkingdigger
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Assuming it can be done, how will it fare againt the inherent bendiness of thin parts in FD/FUD plastics?
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78509 is a reply to message #78505 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 16:59 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Bobbiethejean  is currently offline Bobbiethejean
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barkingdigger wrote on Fri, 08 November 2013 16:40

Assuming it can be done, how will it fare againt the inherent bendiness of thin parts in FD/FUD plastics?


I would assume that if you were going to have something plated, you probably wouldn't want to bend it around or else the plating would crack. The plating would be entirely aesthetic. At least that's my guess. I don't know for certain.

Right now, my biggest concern is just getting some momentum behind the idea. Ultimately it will be up to Shapeways to discern how feasible the idea is. But they won't even try unless enough people stand up and say "hey, we want this!" Maybe it won't be doable, maybe it will. But right now, we just need to ask them if they can try.

Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78510 is a reply to message #78500 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 17:05 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar AmLachDesigns  is currently offline AmLachDesigns
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Quote:

4.) Rules, rules, rules. Brass and Bronze appear fairly easy to design for but silver and stainless steel can be a nightmare because of all the rules, especially that pesky sandcastle rule.


Unless I missed something, the rules for silver are the same as for Bronze and Brass. Yes, SS is a pain.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78512 is a reply to message #78510 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 17:18 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Bobbiethejean  is currently offline Bobbiethejean
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[quote title=AmLachDesigns wrote on Fri, 08 November 2013 17:05]
Quote:

Unless I missed something, the rules for silver are the same as for Bronze and Brass. Yes, SS is a pain.



I don't believe brass/bronze has this rule: "Designing details must not jut out too much, or have deep engravings." Nevertheless, I should probably reword that.

I can't help but notice neither of you who have responded seem terribly enthused about the idea. Are you not interested in plating for plastics?

[Updated on: Fri, 08 November 2013 17:21 UTC]

Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78514 is a reply to message #78500 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 17:21 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar mkroeker  is currently offline mkroeker
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I recall seeing some pretty convincing images of models that were post-processed with metal effect paints, did you explore that option ? (Think I dug up some of the old threads in your cutlery bowl thread, but I am in a hurry to leave right now)
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78516 is a reply to message #78514 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 17:51 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Bobbiethejean  is currently offline Bobbiethejean
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mkroeker wrote on Fri, 08 November 2013 17:21

I recall seeing some pretty convincing images of models that were post-processed with metal effect paints, did you explore that option ? (Think I dug up some of the old threads in your cutlery bowl thread, but I am in a hurry to leave right now)


I have tried metallic paints (acrylic and gold fleck) and I was unimpressed with the results. The model ended up looking very matte. I want a nice shiny and reflective look without having to break my bank open. The only way I can imagine that happening is through electroplating.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78517 is a reply to message #78512 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 17:54 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar AmLachDesigns  is currently offline AmLachDesigns
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Quote:

I can't help but notice neither of you who have responded seem terribly enthused about the idea. Are you not interested in plating for plastics?


No, not really. If I want plastic I'll go for plastic, and likewise for metal. Personally I always find plated plastic a little disappointing - it's fine to look at but when you handle it, the weight is missing.

Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78521 is a reply to message #78500 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 18:40 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar FreeRangeBrain  is currently offline FreeRangeBrain
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I would most DEFINITELY order plated plastics, high detail or not.


Creativity - sometimes by the brute force method.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78522 is a reply to message #78521 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 18:45 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Bobbiethejean  is currently offline Bobbiethejean
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FreeRangeBrain wrote on Fri, 08 November 2013 18:40

I would most DEFINITELY order plated plastics, high detail or not.


Excellent! I'm glad to hear it. Very Happy My hope is that you'd get the look of real metal without the (sometimes) insane expense. Maybe someday the cost of metal 3D printing will drop precipitously but (if even) until then, electroplating seems like it might be a decent, affordable alternative for a nice metallic look.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78531 is a reply to message #78516 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 20:31 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stannum  is currently offline stannum
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Have you tried Alclad2 paints? They are lacquers for airbrushing.

Have you looked at the Lego compatible hat posted days ago? It was plated and it showed all the plastic grain.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78532 is a reply to message #78531 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 20:34 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Bobbiethejean  is currently offline Bobbiethejean
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stannum wrote on Fri, 08 November 2013 20:31

Have you tried Alclad2 paints? They are lacquers for airbrushing.

Have you looked at the Lego compatible hat posted days ago? It was plated and it showed all the plastic grain.


Can you link me? Also presumably it was printed in unpolished SWF because polished, FDP, and FUD don't really have much in the way of grain.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78535 is a reply to message #78532 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 21:09 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stannum  is currently offline stannum
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It was polished then chrome plated. It shines but looks like as attacked by micro shotgun fire.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78536 is a reply to message #78535 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 21:20 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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stannum wrote on Fri, 08 November 2013 21:09

It was polished then chrome plated. It shines but looks like as attacked by micro shotgun fire.


Oooh, yeah, I see that. I kuh.......inda like it but at the same time, I wonder what effect that substance would have on polished SWF, FDP, and FUD. Would it still look like salt and pepper? In any case, I think it would be nice just to see if Shapewyas would consider the idea. If they couldn't get any aesthetically pleasing results or they couldn't get it to work, then I'm sure thy would just not add it to the material portfolio but at least we could say "hey, we tried, sorry." But if it does work and people like it, then hey, we get a new material/finish to work with and I always say more options is better than less......... well, to a point. XD But you know what I mean.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78537 is a reply to message #78536 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 21:28 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stannum  is currently offline stannum
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The effect you see is over pWSF.

What do you mean with polished SWF? And FDP?
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78538 is a reply to message #78537 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 21:36 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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stannum wrote on Fri, 08 November 2013 21:28

The effect you see is over pWSF.

What do you mean with polished SWF? And FDP?


Ooooh. I see. I guess the p stands for polished? I meant that I wonder if you would see that grainy quality with electroplating done on a model made in frosted detail plastic or frosted ultra detail. Hm........ I looked at Krylon mirror finish paint but that seems kinda iffy. Everything I've read seems to indicate that it is meant for glass..... I think. I haven't looked into Alclad yet.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78540 is a reply to message #78538 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 21:58 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar woody64  is currently offline woody64
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It was polished WSF. I would have expected a more shiny and smooth surface ...

The next test will be run with white detailed.

Would be a very cool option if a shiny look will b possible. Moreover I'm searching for a smooth colored 3d printed plastic. and that would be an option ,,,

[Updated on: Fri, 08 November 2013 22:05 UTC]

Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78544 is a reply to message #78540 ] Fri, 08 November 2013 22:23 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Bobbiethejean  is currently offline Bobbiethejean
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woody64 wrote on Fri, 08 November 2013 21:58

It was polished WSF. I would have expected a more shiny and smooth surface ...

The next test will be run with white detailed.

Would be a very cool option if a shiny look will b possible. Moreover I'm searching for a smooth colored 3d printed plastic. and that would be an option ,,,


I hope I'm not being a bother but could you perhaps apprise me further on the details of your endeavor? Personally, I am looking for a less expensive alternative to the metals. Right now, a lot of my designs would be prohibitively expensive to print in any of the metals. Printing something up in plastic then having it plated would give me the look I want while keeping the cost down.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78570 is a reply to message #78500 ] Sat, 09 November 2013 15:29 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Bobbiethejean  is currently offline Bobbiethejean
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Well, after some research, it appears this wouldn't necessarily get the effect I was hoping for. I was really hoping for a cheaper alternative to the metals while still being able to enjoy that nice sheeny look.

It still might be worth it for SW to try it out and see what happens but I don't expect we'll be seeing electroplated plastics as an option anytime soon, if ever.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78576 is a reply to message #78570 ] Sat, 09 November 2013 15:53 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar bartv  is currently offline bartv
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Hey Bobbiethejean,

thanks for keeping us on our toes! This is a great discussion and I'll pass it along to our materials team.

One of the issues I can see with plating has been mentioned before - flexible models may cause the plating to crack. Now if you print products for yourself this is not a big issue, but imagine selling something to an unsuspecting customer through your shop? They would certainly be disappointed if the plating dropped off.

I'm not familiar enough with the technology, but I think you should expect special design guidelines for plated *SF materials. We've done this before: polished SF has slightly different requirements than 'vanilla' SF.

Cheers!

Bart


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Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78581 is a reply to message #78516 ] Sat, 09 November 2013 16:14 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Bobbiethejean wrote on Fri, 08 November 2013 17:51

I have tried metallic paints (acrylic and gold fleck) and I was unimpressed with the results. The model ended up looking very matte. I want a nice shiny and reflective look without having to break my bank open. The only way I can imagine that happening is through electroplating.

This thread was what I had in mind (Krylon brand paints, but of course you never know how much of the impression is due to clever lighting). Then there was the guy who copper leafed a model - guess you need lots of experience, patience and dexterity for that.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78592 is a reply to message #78544 ] Sat, 09 November 2013 16:55 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar woody64  is currently offline woody64
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The result on the picture shows a very similar structure then the original pWSF.
As with this material on the photos it always looks worse then in reality.
We here have often an magnification of at least 1:4.

It was done by a contact which does that for normal Lego pieces. He even does not do it himself because he is sending the pieces for plating. I've received some examples from normal Lego (smooth ABS plastic pieces) and the difference is significant.
Thus the pWSF structure hinders to get a shiny smooth surface.

We will give this run a further try with the detailed material. Here I would expect that this structure pWSF has is not visible and a more smooth result will appear. But let's see.

Woody64

[Updated on: Sat, 09 November 2013 16:57 UTC]

Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78596 is a reply to message #78500 ] Sat, 09 November 2013 17:52 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Bobbiethejean  is currently offline Bobbiethejean
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Great discussion guys! Thanks. Smile

I know some of this has been tread and retread before time and time again over and over ad infinitum and we're still waiting on the cows to come home but I think it's worth it. Ya never know what might come of it. I've already learned several new things and discovered several new opportunities. And according to our wonderful Mr. Bart, there may be hope for electroplated plastics yet!

I imagine that some fixative might be involved to insure the plating stays put and maybe a warning not to bend the models? Or something? Like Bart said, there would be different rules. Even if it doesn't work out in the end, I'm very excited to know that it might, mayhap, possibly, maybe, perhaps, perchance be even so much as considered. Very Happy SQUEE!
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78601 is a reply to message #78500 ] Sat, 09 November 2013 18:48 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Someone needs to design some Lady Gaga baby shoes, have them made in WSF, and plated at one of those baby shoe plating services!

In fact maybe Shapeways could use one of those places as a contractor to do the plating. They already have all the nasty chemicals and plate all kinds of strange things so they should be good to go.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78696 is a reply to message #78500 ] Mon, 11 November 2013 13:47 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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What about vacuum metalization with a PU coating? Food for thought Wink


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Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78730 is a reply to message #78696 ] Mon, 11 November 2013 16:10 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Youknowwho4eva wrote on Mon, 11 November 2013 13:47

What about vacuum metalization with a PU coating? Food for thought Wink


O__O Wat. And GOOGLE TIMES! *chicken dance music* ................ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_metallizing MAN! See? Learn something new every day. XD I had never even heard of such a thing.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78740 is a reply to message #78500 ] Mon, 11 November 2013 17:19 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar MrNib  is currently offline MrNib
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Vacuum metalization isn't very heavy but it would look good. If you want plated plastic to be more like metal (weight wise) it would require a thick plating that can't be achieved with vacuum depostion. Thick plating also covers up finer detail.

What about vacuum deposition on something heavier like ceramics? As long as they survive the process without cracking it also provides a firmer substrate.




[Updated on: Mon, 11 November 2013 17:21 UTC]

Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78760 is a reply to message #78740 ] Mon, 11 November 2013 22:50 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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I would absolutely buy the crap out of electroplated plastics.


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Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78761 is a reply to message #78760 ] Mon, 11 November 2013 23:24 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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GarySG wrote on Mon, 11 November 2013 22:50

I would absolutely buy the crap out of electroplated plastics.


Awesome. :3 I'm glad to hear that and even gladder to be able to say that we may yet see electroplated plastics!
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78771 is a reply to message #78761 ] Tue, 12 November 2013 01:48 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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I'd love some electroplated plastic. Especially in detailed plastic. Wouldn't have the weight of the metals, but a detailed material with a metallic finish with a price point closer to the plastics would be awesome.


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Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78790 is a reply to message #78500 ] Tue, 12 November 2013 10:31 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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I would certainly be interested.



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Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #78793 is a reply to message #78790 ] Tue, 12 November 2013 12:11 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Sweet. Very Happy Looks like more people are interested than I thought would be. That's happy news.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #79202 is a reply to message #78793 ] Sun, 17 November 2013 23:06 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Maybe that would be a really interesting finish for Detailed or FD.
If the result is as shiny and smooth as with normal plastic. Let's see on the results I await them within the new 2 weeks.

And yes that would be definitively interesting as option and would partly solve the request for colored plastic items.

Woody64
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #79209 is a reply to message #79202 ] Mon, 18 November 2013 04:18 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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I'm really hoping SWs can find a way to make plated FDP look like plated brass. It won't have that same heft to it but it will look nice and it will be a LOT less expensive. That may be hoping for too much but hey, doesn't hurt to ask.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #91179 is a reply to message #79209 ] Wed, 04 June 2014 03:24 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Has anyone had any of the white polished material successfully gold plated? I actually have a project that more or less requires it and I've been waiting on pulling the trigger if it can happen or not.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #91192 is a reply to message #91179 ] Wed, 04 June 2014 09:48 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Let's electroplate the crap out of WSF!

Interlocked parts with a metal look, fantastic! And even if it would wear, the nylon beneath wouldn't stain any skin green like plated brass or stainless steel.

And yes, you can plate products yourself with home kits, but it's a lot of work with chemicals and you can't sell it. So please, Shapeways, think about it.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #91228 is a reply to message #91192 ] Wed, 04 June 2014 18:09 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Daphne wrote on Wed, 04 June 2014 09:48

Let's electroplate the crap out of WSF!

Interlocked parts with a metal look, fantastic! And even if it would wear, the nylon beneath wouldn't stain any skin green like plated brass or stainless steel.

And yes, you can plate products yourself with home kits, but it's a lot of work with chemicals and you can't sell it. So please, Shapeways, think about it.


I've been cheerleading this from the start but the idea never really seemed to be taken seriously which is a shame. I have a feeling there are many people who would love an electroplating option. I know I would and I know a lot of my customers would. I really hope SWs considers the idea.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #91255 is a reply to message #91228 ] Wed, 04 June 2014 20:41 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar mkroeker  is currently offline mkroeker
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Going back a few posts in this older thread, it seems that at least the initial results of woody64's experiments with chroming were not entirely satisfactory, with the process unexpectedly enhancing the pitted appearance of the surface - surprisingly even with the detail material that should be far less porous than wsf.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #91261 is a reply to message #91255 ] Wed, 04 June 2014 21:12 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Yeah, it looks pitted but it's still cool and I'd still love to have the option.It has kind of an antiqued look to it.
Re: POLL: Should Shapeways Consider Offering Electroplating Services For Plastics? [message #91289 is a reply to message #78500 ] Thu, 05 June 2014 04:09 UTC Go to previous messageGo to previous message
avatar roofoo  is currently offline roofoo
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In theory it sounds great, but I think the reality is that current 3d printed plastic will be nowhere near as smooth as injection molded plastic so the metal plating will be coarse and not very shiny or reflective. Hopefully one day the resolution of 3D printed plastic will be high enough that it's feasible to electroplate. But then prices will be high so it might be just as affordable to get an actual metal print.


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