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Electroformacin

Cmo se electroforma una hoja


Escrito por Ricky Andromeda | Traducido por Marcela Vilanova

La electroformacin es una manualidad que te permite convertir objetos comunes que no son de metal a
obras de arte metlicas. A pesar de que es simplemente para decoracin o para preservar artculos
queridos (como los escarpines de beb), la electroformacin, similar a la galvanizacin, usa electricidad
y pintura conductiva para cubrir objetos en una fina capa de cobre o nquel. Es fcil electroformar un
simple objeto como una hoja para propsitos decorativos o educativos. Una vez que consigas organizarte
con la electroformacin y practicar un par de veces, pronto estars electroformando ms que slo hojas.
Nivel de dificultad:
Moderadamente difcil

Instrucciones
Necesitars

Suministro de energa de corriente directa


Pinzas de cocodrilo con alambres de plomo
Guantes de goma
Gafas protectoras
Tubos de plstico o resistentes al cido.
cido sulfrico
Agua destilada
Cristales de sulfato de cobre
Hoja de cobre
Brocha pequea
Pintura de estao conductiva
Brocha de alambre

Configuracin de la estacin de electroformacin

1.

1
Conecta las pinzas de cocodrilo con cables conductores de calibre 18 a la fuente de corriente directa.
Una buena fuente de corriente debe producir menos de 15 voltios y 3 amperios de electricidad.

2.

2
Crea tu solucin de electrolito para disolver el cobre y conducir el proceso de electroformacin. Agrega
2 libras (900 gr) de cristales de sulfato de cobre a 2/3 de galn (2,5 litros) de agua. Agita o revuelve la
mezcla, luego agrega 2/3 tazas de cido sulfrico, el cual debe ser al menos 90 por ciento cido.

3.

3
Pon la solucin dentro de los tubos slidos de plstico o de los recipientes a prueba de cido.

4.

4
Corta una pieza grande del revestimiento o del tubo de cobre a lo largo de los bordes del recipiente en la
solucin para funcionar como tu nodo, el cual lo transferir a tu hoja. Conecta el cable positivo al
nodo de cobre con una pinza.

Electroformando la hoja
1.

1
Pinta la hoja minuciosamente con la pintura de estao conductiva. Asegrate que la superficie est
cubierta ya que el cobre se adherir a la pintura. Elige una hoja slida que no se romper al pintarla.

2.

2
Conecta una pinza en los cables negativos a la hoja y sumergirla en la solucin. No enciendas la
corriente todava. Asegrate que la hoja est completamente sumergida.

3.

3
Prende la fuente de corriente directa. Debes ver grandes voltajes y amperaje en tu medidor de corriente
mientras el circuito se completa. El cobre comenzar a adherirse a la pintura conductiva.

4.

4
Remueve la hoja despus de varios minutos para ver pequeos pedazos de cobre pegados a ella.
Dependiendo de la mezcla que usaste y de tu fuente de energa, puede llevar una hora o ms en
electroformar completamente la hoja.

Consejos y advertencias

Regularmente cambia el lquido de electroformacin ya que puede contaminarse con partculas


con el tiempo y causa una formacin pobre de cobre en tu hoja u otro objeto.
Utiliza guantes y gafas protectoras todo el tiempo mientras electroformas. Contacta al servicio
de control de envenenamiento o un hospital en caso que consumas o tu piel est en contacto con el cido.

Electroforming Tutorial: Iris Seed Pod

Equipment and Materials

18-amp Digital Rectifier


1000mL Pyrex Beaker
Lacquer
Conductive Paint
2-Part Epoxy
1 quart Bright Copper Electroforming Solution
Copper Anode
22ga Copper Wire
Paint Brush
Tweezers
Copper Rod/Tubing
Latex Gloves
Baking Soda
Scotch-Brite Pad
Water

Liver of Sulfur
Brass Brush

Day One
First, you need to find an object you wish to electroform. The possibilities are
almost endless, from shells, fabric, wax, clay, plastic, paper, seeds and pods,
etc.Be creative! For this project, I have selected an iris seed pod from my
garden. I have removed the stem and leaves.

Attach a copper jump-ring to your piece. This will serve 2 purposes - to attach to copper wire to
suspend in the electroform solution, and to attach to your finished jewelry piece. Use hot glue or a

2-part epoxy.

For porous objects, such as seed pods, they need to be lacquered to seal them. Paint or dip the object
in the lacquer, making sure it is completely covered. Hang to dry in a cool, dry place, avoiding dirt
and dust. Let them dry overnight.

Day Two
Make sure to avoid touching the lacquered surface of your object. Use gloved hands or tweezers to

hold the seed pod, and paint on a thin layer of conductive paint.

Check to make sure areas are covered with an even layer of paint, especially the area where the
copper jump-ring meets the seed pod. Paint over the glue and onto the jump-ring. Hang the item to
dry overnight.

Day Three
Prepare the copper anode. I use a 22ga sheet of copper with the top bent over so it will hang over the
side of the beaker. With gloved hands, scrub it vigorously with a scotch-brite pad to remove any dirt
or oils from the surface. Fill the beaker with the electroforming solution, and put the anode in place.
With the rectifier turned off, attach the red (positive) lead to the anode with the alligator clip.

Next, prepare the seed pod. Make sure to wear your gloves, as you want to avoid getting any oil or
dirt on the painted object. Attach a length of copper wire to the jump ring, secure it by twisting the
wire back on itself.

Attach the wire to a long length of copper tubing. The tube will
rest on the edges of the beaker, allowing the seed pod to be suspended into the electroforming
solution. Attach the black (negative) lead to the copper tubing with the alligator clip.

Turn the rectifier on, keeping the amp and volt set both below 1.

Slowly submerge the seed pod into the solution, making sure it is completely covered. After a few
seconds, you should be able to see a light layer of copper forming on the surface!

Let the copper tubing rest on the beaker. Make sure there is
plenty of space between the anode and the seed pod, they should never touch. You also want to
avoid allowing the seed pod to rest against the glass. Check the amp and voltage setting, they should
both be at or below 1. You want a very slow and steady build-up of copper to form, otherwise it can
flake off.

And now, you wait.


The electroforming process can take several hours - a slow and even layer is the most durable. It is a
good idea to check on your piece every 30-45 minutes, checking the amp and voltage setting, as well
as your piece to make sure an even layer is forming.

And wait a little more...

After 4 -5 hours, remove the seed pod from the electroforming solution. Rinse in a neutralizing bath
of baking soda and water, making sure all acid has been rinsed away.

A solid, even layer of copper has been formed on the surface of the
seed pod. It has a bright new-penny copper finish, and is easily tarnished. Once you have your
desired finish (I prefer a darker patina using liver of sulfur) lacquer the piece to seal the finish. It is
now ready to be turned in to jewelry!

The copper builds up the fastest


on thinner areas. You can see how little beads of copper have formed on the wire attached to the
seed pod. While this is an interesting texture, they flake off very easily.

Also pay attention to any points or protrusions on your piece, as they can be prone to a fast buildup, seen here on the tips of the iris pod.

Here are some electroformed seed pods in contrast to their original form.