3D Printing - Display Part Finishing Solutions - Electroplating
Create a decorative or functional FDM part with the process of electroplating. Electroplating places a layer of metal coating on part or model created on a Stratasys Production unit, such as a Fortus 3D printing machine.
The purpose of electroplating is to provide a hard, wear resistant surface that has reflective and improved mechanical properties.
Prior to electroplating, an FDM part or model has to go through simple finishing techniques, such as sanding or bead blasting to create a smooth surface for the metal coating. Following the smoothing process, electroplating is applied with alloys such as chromium, nickel, copper, silver and gold. Adding an electroplating process will create a strong, durable and heat resistant part or model which can be used as a functional prototype for many different applications.
How it works
Electroplating or adding a top metal layer of alloys to an FDM part serves to dramatically increase the strength of your part.
Electroplating has been tested at a thickness of 0.005 inch (0.127 mm) as well as 0.010 inch (0.254 mm). The thickness of plating typically ranges from 0.0001 inch to 0.020 inch (0.0025 mm 0.508 mm).
FDM test bars were plated with a combination of nickel and copper, although typical metals used in plating also include chrome, brass, palladium, silver and gold. Depending on the coating thickness and test bar orientation the tensile strength increased 10 - 12 times that of a raw FDM test bar. The results of the flexural tests showed an increase of 21 - 24 times that of a raw FDM test bar.
To achieve best results, the test bars had to be sealed to prevent the absorption of any electroplating solutions. There are three options for sealing the FDM part; smoothing the surface with the Finishing Touch™ Smoothing Station, solvent dipping, and painting. *NOTE: These methods will also smooth the surface of the part. The plating process also requires prototypes to be able to withstand temperatures of 100°F (37.7°C), which is well within the thermal range for Fortus materials.
The Proto3000 Advantage
Here at Proto3000 we have the best 3D printing platforms and parts finishing stations to create a cutting-edge look and feel to your 3D printed FDM prototypes and models. We will not only design and create for you, we can perform display finishing processes either with our lineup of precise 3D printing production tools or by the hands of our manufacturing technicians.
The Proto3000 Services Team is waiting for your call. Contact the Proto3000 Services Team for further information on how we can help you with this solution. If you want to speak to a LIVE PERSON - CALL 1-888-88-PROTO (77686).
The Technology Used for Electroplating
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Technology
Using FDM technology allows affordability and durability by printing concept models with production-grade thermoplastics.
FDM 3D Printers are office friendly and they produce small models in hours and large models in days. The FDM printed models can be drilled, sanded and painted according to your preference to create a perfect finishing of your prototype.
PolyJet 3D Printing Technology
As a 3D printing process, this technology produces amazingly realistic models. The printing technology builds accurate models by incorporating multiple materials into one automated part to create prototypes that look and feel like finished products. With fine details, smooth surfaces, rigid housings, soft-touch buttons, lettering, rubberlike seals and even clear components, your models can look the part at a trade show, a presentation or even during a sales pitch.