Electroplating 3D printed parts for great strength | Hacker Day

2021-11-12 09:34:25 By : Ms. ZOMEI qi

Resin 3D printers have significant advantages over filament printers because they can print smaller parts with finer details. The main disadvantage is that resin parts are generally not as strong or durable as their filament parts. For this reason, they are usually used more for small models than for working parts, but [Breaking Taps] wanted to try to increase the strength of these structures by adding metal to them through electroplating.

Both copper and nickel coatings are used in these test settings, and each coating has a different effect on the resin print. Nickel adds a lot of stiffness, while copper seems to increase the amount of strain that the resin part can withstand-although [Breaking Taps] discusses some issues with this result.

Although the results of electroplating resin are encouraging, he pointed out that this is a cumbersome process. This is a multi-step test. A special paint is applied to the resin to help the metal adhere, and then it is electroplated. It is also difficult to ensure a uniform metal coating on more complex prints compared to the simpler samples he used in this video.

However, after everything is said, if the working parts need to be smaller than what the consumable printer can produce or require finer details, this is a very convenient way to add more strength or rigidity to these parts. However, there are still some investigations to be done, because electroplating filament printing is difficult to test with his settings, but it does show promise. Maybe one day we will be able to print directly with metal instead of coating plastic with it.

Thanks [smellsofbikes] for the tip!

Now, this, this is a hacker. you win.

Detailed description: Objection to the defects of version 1 is only the first step of version 2. We have been talking about it recently. See the possibility of the FDM buzzing process and take the next step? This is what humans do. I am anxiously waiting for the second edition.

good idea! (This has actually been used in several industries, but it's nice to see it done in someone's shed/garage!)

Have you seen electroless nickel plating? It should provide a more uniform coating thickness.

It's a bit difficult to start (you know, plastic does not reduce nickel), but once the autocatalytic substrate is deposited, it is fine. Maybe we can throw metal powder on the part, and then blast it with a short period of high intensity heat, possibly from an infrared source (if the resin is produced on a thermoplastic or similarly behaved polymer), so as to remove the powdered metal particles. Embedded in the surface for the purpose of my introduction). I think this will lead to greater overall strength, because the metal substrate looks a bit like an open-pored sponge at the interface, increasing the contact area and directly interacting with the polymer interface

Any hackaday reader knows all the conductive ink/additive stuff and knows exactly what is mixed in the resin to achieve this? Maybe add ultra-fine copper powder to the resin?

What is mixed in the resin to achieve this?

Toner seems to be the best additive, doesn't it?

In any case, it is recommended to use thin copper plating as a "bright dip" layer for plating other materials such as silver or gold.

I played home electroplating when I was a teenager. It's fun, but it's a lot of work, and you need to handle chemicals properly. I remember that the electrolyte requires quite strong hydrochloric acid.

Unfortunately, copper powder will gel/crosslink the resin.

Check out Tom's video last week about his complete mixing experiment.. he said it is almost non-conductive.. but it may be enough to start electroplating the base layer..


Some comments on electroplating. To plate metal on an object, you need to induce an electric current, and the electrons on the surface of the object will reduce the metal ions to solid metal. There is usually a metal electrode, which dissolves and enters the ionic solution, and the ions are then plated onto another electrode. The area where the two electrodes are closest will cause a higher current to flow, resulting in thicker plates in that area. Cracks are areas of low current that cause thin plates. Shaping the dissolving electrode to fit it helps uniform plating. Another common method to help gap plating is to use chelating agents, such as cyanide, which explains why plating is expensive due to dangerous and safe handling regulations.

In electroless plating, you can obtain electrons by dissolving the surface of the substrate to form a metal plate. Base metals give up their electrons and become ions, that is, soluble, and these electrons are absorbed by the metal in the electroplating solution and reduced to metal. In fact, electroless plating is not very good, because as my electrochemical lecturer said, it is like building a house on quicksand. Copper is a good electroplating metal because it tends to cover pinholes and provide a fairly smooth, well-adhered, and easily electroplated surface. For high bumper plating, copper is first plated to obtain the base layer, then nickel, then chromium. It will be interesting to see if copper/nickel contributes to the thermal bonding problem mentioned in the video.

I remember reading this a few years ago. It is very suitable for creating RF and microwave lenses. Imagine an ultrasonic spotlight, but used for wifi or crowd control. Some serious effects, for a technology, anyone can have a fish tank full of gel and several laser galvanometers.

Who has a good formula for conductive paint for parts? I tried this a few years ago, but never got too much. I bought superfine copper powder and tried graphite, but it didn't really make any progress.

I saw a post about carbon fiber somewhere. Chopped CF will decompose on organic solvents, and fiber is a very good conductor. This post explains how to make conductive rubber/silicone. It will make the paint worse because you can even forget the coverage, but it is still useful for the right application.

If the resin can conduct electricity, then you don't need to paint or impregnate it, which might be interesting. Maybe these parts can be printed with wax, and then the wax can be removed to create an aerogel that resembles a tubular frame. Still quite strong, but much lighter. Imagine that it is coated with titanium and the crystal lattice becomes finer, or it may be formed of curved flakes.

What if you use investment casting instead of the PLA lattice structure with molten aluminum?

Pour plaster on the entire lattice mold, and pour molten aluminum into the lattice structure?

You can also use it to reinforce concrete, but aluminum usually reacts with concrete, so if you plate aluminum on something non-reactive, you will get a very strong concrete and aluminum block.

I think most 3D part printing should be used to create molds. Ceramics, metals, and resins are all viable materials for molds.

I see a lot of Etsy-type things that are produced by direct printing in 3D, and they are faster and equally good when they are made by the mold process.

Be careful with nickel-plated jewelry, the skin is sensitive to nickel, which will cause a small proportion of people to break out

For a long time, jewelry manufacturers have been electroplating and electroplating. I will look for inspiration there.

This is what I did when I was a teenager. I got my information from Audels' books on engineering and manufacturing.

Generations have also made chrome-plated children's shoes, sports trophies, souvenirs and other mayfly products. First coat the plastic, leather, wax, glass fiber, etc. with a layer of copper, and then stick the chrome plating on it.

1) Print detailed plastic parts and use metal plates to obtain the desired finish. 2) Put the metal plated parts into the plaster and bake out the plastic. 3) Pour molten metal into the hollow metal shell in the investment of gypsum. D) Profit from excellent surface finish and strong metal parts. Nickel plating can handle certain grades of steel, and copper plating can handle certain types of aluminum or "cast metals."

Check out Thought Emporium's video about sputtering magnetrons. The initial metal layer can be applied to the injection molded part

Vacuum vapor deposition (aluminum)-the standard method of making metallized plastics.

How good a vacuum does this need?

They seem to need a very high vacuum-a diffusion pump. The setup is not cheap. Several people on YouTube use it to make conductive film or coated telescope lenses. On an industrial scale, they manufacture auto parts and so on.

Kind of, how good a finish do you want? You need 10^-6 Torr for the high-precision optical first mirror, and the optical mirror 10^-5 looks a bit cold, but it is still very smooth at 10^-3, and under vacuum conditions worse than this It will become granular.

I have seen compressors for household refrigerators being reused to perform vacuum tasks. It looked very powerful to me at the time. Click on search engine...

If I am missing something because of my ignorance of electroplating (I haven't tried it yet), please forgive me, but I am considering this process and have an idea. If someone puts a stabilizing layer on the outside of some water-soluble resin, then drills a hole in it, rinses off the soluble material, and coats the outside with a material to prevent further plating (in order to maintain the size and details, then plate it from the inside Does it make it strong? I can imagine some cavities if not properly designed and drilled, but if done just right and using the appropriate parts, I can imagine it is possible. Maybe the amount of copper sulfate (or whatever you want Will it be very expensive to use?

The principle is simple, it should work. There are some risks. The area around the entrance hole is the fastest to plate and will close the opening nicely before the rest of the cavity is filled, but this can be fixed by poking the donor electrode down into the hole, so it is removed from The hole is plated from bottom to top.

Copper sulfate is not very expensive, and I don't think it will be consumed in this process. The copper anode (electrode connected to the positive power supply) is the material that provides plating on the cathode (part to be plated).

Electroplating is usually used on printed circuit boards to increase the thickness of conductors, so electroplating large amounts of copper is not a big challenge.

But a simpler method is to immerse it in stucco instead of just coating the outside, so that the thin wall can be well supported. Then you can drill that hole and pour molten metal into it. Although I am not entirely sure that this will be an improvement over ordinary investment casting, because if the original coating melts, it may take on the texture of plaster instead of maintaining its metallic luster.

Thanks for your insight. I thought this hole would close, and I think you can re-drill it when needed. I forgot that copper sulfate is supplemented by the anode. When I find it necessary, I might try it.

Electronic run time meters look a bit like mercury thermometers—they are a glass tube filled with mercury with an electrolyte in the gap. A fixed current passes through this, and over time, the mercury plate moves from anode to cathode, so the position of the gap moves at a rate proportional to the current. https://www.reddit.com/r/ElectricalEngineering/comments/eeczu1/electrochemical_hour_meter_a_drop_of_electrolyte/

For a while, I saw a copper plate, which used a copper-filled glass tube, and the gap was filled with copper sulfate. None of these work. I saw some formed a very thin line, passing through the gap, shorting it. This is a risk of electroplating: if a spot is thicker than other spots, it will cause the spot to be coated faster, and a sharp peak, called a dendrite, will grow there. It also happens in batteries because they use similar principles. I heard that this happens when your plating current density is too high, but obviously this is not a problem with these running time meters, it takes thousands of hours to plate the entire distance.

Anyway, I thought of this, because these devices are more than a centimeter thick with copper, so this is an example similar to what you suggested.

This reminds me of the metal micro-lattice structure made by Boeing in 2015. This is a research paper about it, or just a Google metal microlattice.


This is great! ! ! I work in the board department of a printed circuit board manufacturer, which is really interesting, thank you. I tried to persuade them to use copper plate door handles and touch pads and the anti-virus effect of copper. We have to clean every 2 hours, which is very troublesome. I also considered making a mask insert like your project thumbnail to filter the air and throw a copper mesh. Thank you very enlightening.

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