E3 Electroform Overview
The E3-eform is an electronic controller designed for easy electroforming and plating. Small objects such as twigs, leaves, sea shells, toys and glass beads are just a few examples of common items you can electroform copper over to make charms and jewelry pieces using the controller. Plating is a similar process, allowing the user to use various anodes and plating solutions to electroplate silver, gold or other metals over base metals including copper.
The E3-eform controller is unique because it automatically regulates and maintains the current keeping it at a constant level to insure smooth plating. The controller is small, portable and can be used instead of a traditional plating rectifier.
Compact and Easy to use
No manual adjusting or monitoring required for maintaining the current
Variable Current Control
Slider bar allows current adjustments from 50mA to 400mA. Lower current ensures smooth plating for protrusions; higher current is good for larger pieces to shorten plating time.
Small microcontroller with easy functions
The unit only weighs a few ounces compared to a bulky rectifier. The green light lets you know the power is on; the red light pulses to indicate current is flowing. No knobs, dials or meters to fuss with.
No waste. The solution can be filtered and used over again and again.
There are a variety of conductive paints on the market that can be used with our system. Our formulation of graphite paint is highly conductive and produces great results.
You can purchase any plating solution and simply use the controller in place of a rectifier.
PDF Instructions and Information
Videos and Tutorials
Video and Tutorials coming soon!
How is this product different than traditional electroforming or plating?
The E3 Electroform controller is a revolutionary substitute for a power rectifier. It was designed for small jewelry projects and can be used with all kinds of plating solutions and anodes suitable for plating a variety of metals. The controller contains a micro-controller, which monitors and self-adjusts the current without user intervention. This saves a great deal of time and effort. It is also a fraction of the size and weight of a traditional rectifier, making it handy for classes or small studios.
My project is a dull color and appears grainy. It doesn't look like copper. What's going on?
If your solution starts forming or plating with a dull, rough salmon-colored finish, add 2 full droppers of brightener to restore the smooth, bright finish. This acid is vital for bright, shiny copper.
Why is my copper piece turning dark after electroforming? How do I keep the nice shiny copper color?
Copper is vulnerable to the air and minerals which will oxidize the surface. Be sure to only rinse it in distilled water, and before plating, if you need to thin your graphite paint, only use distilled water. To keep the copper from oxidizing, there is a spray called NIKOLAS SPRAY LACQUER-CLEAR, which is preferred by many jewelry artists. Some use clear wax or varnish. Many prefer to let nature dictate the color and let the piece oxidize. If you want to remove the oxidation, use a pickle solution or a solution of citric acid.
If I want to add more copper to an object, can I put it back in the solution to continue electroforming?
Yes. Clean the copper well before electroforming an object a second time. Use a pickle solution or a solution of citric acid to remove oxidation before electroforming again.
Can I plate over base metal or old jewelry pieces?
Yes. The controller works great for plating metal objects or old jewelry. You can plate with nickel silver, silver and gold, just to name a few. Jewelry suppliers sell a variety of plating solutions with instructions detailing which anode is appropriate to use and how long to plate in the solution. Simply substitute the E3 Electroform controller in place of a plating rectifier when following the directions. You won't need to use conductive paint as a metal object is already conductive by itself.
My piece isn't electroforming. I'm not sure if the controller is working.
When the controller is plugged in, the green light should be on. The pulsing red light indicates that current is flowing to your object. If you do not see anything happening with the red light, touch the clips together while the power is on and observe the red light. If you see the red light, then the unit is working properly. Most of the time, the problem is a bad connection with the wire that is attached to the object. Reattach the wire, making sure the conductive paint and wire are touching, and that your object is properly sealed and painted. If the wire plates but not the object, then the wire is not in proper contact. The other problem may be the solution. Plating solutions must remain pristine and will not work as effectively if contaminated. Use fresh solution or strain the particles out, adding more brightener (acid) as needed to lower the ph.
My piece has little spurs or sharp points on it.
As your piece is electroforming, loose bits of copper may settle on the surface, causing bumps or sharp protrusions. To eliminate these spurs, follow these steps: 1. Keep the current at a low setting. 2. Strain the solution periodically and change the orientation of the object occasionally. 3. Use an anode bag. For more information, see our tutorial on how to make your own. Polypropylene is a good choice. Place the bag between the coil and your object. This will keep the stray particles from settling on your piece.
Can I plate multiple objects at one time?
Yes, but make sure they are similar in size and shape so that they electroform uniformly as the copper is distributed to each. Attach each object to its own wire, then twist all the wire ends together so they share a common stem. Branch the objects away from each other so they don't touch.
Can I electroform polymer clay or wax?
Yes. This is the best part about plating. As long as a coated object will hold up in water, it should work. We have had students who have successfully plated difficult objects like feathers, leather cord and even a fragile gecko skeleton. Polymer and wax make excellent cores for plating.
E3 Eform Authorized Resellers
Sherri Haab Designs
Information for Teachers and Designers
If you teach or are interested in writing how-to articles using our products, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org about our designer endorsement program. We can give you educational support for workshops and we have a product endorsement policy for work that is published.