As an engineer, you want to push your innovations to the market as fast and as cost-effective as possible. But above all, you require your products to be of unprecedented quality. To obtain this level of quality, you need to have the best techniques at your disposal.
The material that is most widely used for creation of micro-precision parts through electroforming is nickel. Nickel is predominantly used because of its versatility and physical and mechanical properties that it possesses. Properties such as hardness, strength, and internal stress can be altered by modifying operating conditions. Nickel is also highly resistant to erosion and wear.
But what if you’re fabricating a metal part that is in constant contact with human skin, for instance, as seen in medical applications? You wouldn’t want to use nickel any more in this case. That’s where coatings come in. You can add a layer of palladium or gold to avoid direct contact to human skin.
Another illustrative example is a sugar sieve (or screen). Sugar screens are used to rapidly remove molasses from sugar crystals under centrifugal force. But that centrifugal force also causes sugar crystals to collide with the screens at high velocity. Soft-Nickel wouldn’t stand a chance against that kind of impact — but a chromium coating does.
Other materials that can be electroformed
The plating and metal finishing possibilities lead to the discussion of other materials that can be electroformed. There’s a difference between electroforming and electroplating, however, which you can read about in this article.
Full plating and metal finishing can be performed with: Gold, Silver, Copper, Chromium, Nickel, Palladium Nickel, and Tin (bright or matt). These materials each possess their own properties that make them suitable for creation of micro-precision parts for specific applications.