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Electroforming

Electroforming is the process of depositing a layer of metal (usually copper) on the surface of a non-metallic substance (such as glass).  It requires a bath of chemicals and a simple electrical circuit. 

The actual process is not that complicated, but it does require considerable attention to detail and safety procedures.  First, the glass must be coated with a conductive material (often a special paint) so that metal particles will stick.  Then the glass is placed into a tank that has been previously prepared with a precise combination of chemicals (distilled water, sulfuric acid, and copper sulfate are commonly used).  Positively charged bars of copper are placed into the bath and an electrical current is applied. As current flows through the chemical bath, metal particles are deposited onto the prepared surface of the glass. 

Don't confuse electroforming with electroplating.  Although the two processes are related, and although many artists use the terms interchangeably, electroplating properly refers to depositing a thin layer of metal (often gold or silver) over another metal.  Electroforming, by contrast, is the plating of a non-metallic material (such as glass) with a metal (usually copper).

Click here for more about the electroforming process.

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Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

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Copyright 2005-2006 by M. Bradley Walker.  All rights reserved.

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