INSTRUCTIONS FOR CONDUCTIVE COATING
Dalmar conductive coating is a ready to use lacquer based coating. As with all of our products, it is safe and easy to use. It is made with the highest quality at the most affordable price.
Always shake and stir this product before use. Keep the cap on the jar to avoid unnecessary evaporation. You may use lacquer thinner to clean brush or hands. Lacquer thinner may also be used to “thin” down the solution, however, avoid over thinning.
Conductive Spray Kit
The conductive spray kit includes a jar of conductive coating, one loose empty jar and one empty jar that is attached to the main body of the sprayer. Pour the contents of the conductive coating into the empty glass jar that is attached to the sprayer. Shake container with the conductive coating vigorously before using and also at intervals while using it. If the coating is too thick it can be thinned out with lacquer thinner. The second jar in the kit is to be used with lacquer thinner to clean the nozzle of the sprayer when you are finished. Follow directions below to electroform over a non-metallic item.
1. PREPARE THE WORK PIECE
If the object is a seashell, sand dollar, or anything organic, and you are going to leave part of it exposed in your design, spray a coating of clear plastic or lacquer on the piece to protect it. Keep in mind that the solutions we use are made with a mild acid that will attack shells and porous items, if a clear plastic or lacquer is not applied first. On seashells, the clear coating can be left on permanently.
Minerals that are in the Copper family will dissolve in the solutions. These include malachite, chrysocolla, azurite, and untreated turquoise. Fortunately most turquoise today is stabilized with plastic. The plastic prevents the acid from attacking the turquoise. If the surface of the item is oily or dirty, it should be cleaned with warm soapy water.
2. IF YOU ARE MAKING A PIECE OF JEWELRY YOU SHOULD NEXT ATTACH THE FINDING
Any finding such as up-eyes, bails, buckle backs, or pins should be attached at this time. Glue them in place with a craft glue, we recommend Bond 527. Any glue that is waterproof will work. Allow the glue to dry completely before proceeding to the next step. Attach a 6 inch piece of bare copper wire to the work piece. Connect the negative (Black) Lead to the copper wire on the work piece.
If you are electroforming any other type of piece that is not jewelry, then copper wires will have to be attached in some other way to complete the circuit of electricity. This can be accomplished by taking a piece of copper wire and bending the end over at a 90 degree angle for about a quarter of an inch. Now glue this end of the wire to the work piece. This can be done in an out of the way place on most items, for instance on the back or bottom of a piece. For pieces that are over three inches it is advantageous to attach multiple wires to get a good contact. Sometimes when it seems like you are not getting good contact between the work piece and the copper wire you can rinse off the piece and either paint of spray the area where the wire is attached again. A sure sign of poor contact on the connection is the build-up of heavy dark, bumpy copper on the wire but not the work piece.
Do not attach the copper wire by wrapping it around the piece. In most cases this will lead to a bad contact point and if you do get contact there the wire will become a permanent part of the piece that you are electroforming.
3. MAKING THE PIECE CONDUCTIVE
Paint or spray the conductive coating on only the part you want to “grow” the metal on. Keep all the parts of your design connected so the electrical current will have a continuous path. If you want the whole piece conductive, paint or spray the entire surface
*ON A NON-CONDUCTIVE PIECE, METAL WILL GROW ONLY WHERE THE CONDUCTIVE COATING IS APPLIED
4. GROWING OR ELECTROFORMING THE PIECE
For practical purposes, we always start the electroforming in copper solution. Our copper solution is designed just for electroforming. It contains brighteners to eliminate buffing the piece when finished if your rectifier is set right and you have the proper set-up..
Lets go to work
Fill tank with copper solution. Bend the small end of the copper anode and hang the anode on one side of the tank, in the solution. Connect the positive (red) lead from the rectifier to the copper anode, and turn the rectifier on.. Connect the negative (black) lead to the copper wire coming from the work piece. Hang the work piece inside the tank opposite the anode. Turn the control knob, adjust to 1/10 of an amp per square inch of metal surface. The average time in the copper solution will be 2-8 hours, depending on desired thickness.
Check the work piece
After the work piece has been in the solution for about 30 minutes, lift it out. If it looks like shiny, like a new copper penny, you are using the correct setting. If the piece is salmon color, with no shine, the setting is too low. A rust or brown color, indicates a setting that is too high. Also bumps and copper crystallizing are caused from a too high setting. After the first few minutes, there should be no further adjustments of the rectifier needed.
5. RINSE THE WORK PIECE
When the piece has grown to the desired thickness, remove it from the solution, and rinse it in distilled water. Dry the piece with a paper towel. Turn off the rectifier, remove the anode, rinse with distilled water, and also dry with a paper towel. * Never leave the anode in the solution when not in use, as it will continue to dissolve. If your piece is to be only copper, then you are finished. *Remember pure copper will tarnish unless it is protected with lacquer or clear nail polish.
If you are going to finish the piece in some other metal, like Nickel , Gold or Chrome you should continue to that step now.