Electroforming is a metal forming process that produces thin parts through electro-deposition. Parts are produced by plating a metal layer onto a conductive mandrel, which is subsequently removed after plating.
Electroforming is an ideal fabrication method for very small, very thin, very fine components and those with very precise dimensional requirements. It is a high precision additive manufacturing process more akin to photographic process than traditional machining.
The component design is plotted on film and the image is transferred to a resist layer previously laminated onto a mandrel, by exposure to a collimated light. During development, unexposed / uncured resist is removed, leaving the component shape laid bare on the mandrel to provide the base on which the component will be "grown".
Nickel is the most popular material used for electroforming but the process is also possible with other noble metals
Dimensional accuracy is controlled by the precision of the photo tool and the quality of the exposure process. Thickness of the deposit is a function of time in this additive plating process and can be computer controlled with great accuracy. For even higher levels of accuracy and repeatability see LEEF (Laser Evolved Electroforming).
For over 40 years Precision Micro has utilised electroforming technology to meet customer requirements for such items as meshes, encoder discs, foils, filters, orifice plates, micro sieves, optical masks, diaphragms, and other fine and intricate components for the broadest range of industries.