Metal Mold Making & Electroforming

Shor Lok-Blok Metal Mold Making System: makes metal molds that are the same dimensions as standard rubber molds. The process is simple (though somewhat time consuming) and requires no skills.

Why use metal molds? Metal molds give a sharpness of detail that is absolutely impossible to achieve with rubber molds (even when the rubber molds are injected by a vacuum wax injector). In addition, if you are thinking of upgrading to plastic injection, only metal molds can be used. Metal molds are most commonly used for detailed charms, class rings, and wherever razor sharp detail and consistent weight are desirable. Mold to the right is an example of a multi-piece metal mold made over 50 years ago with an old fashioned cylindrical mold frame. Although used for many years, this mold is still as perfect as it was when it was first made.
The following items are required to make metal molds. The heart of the system (other than the instructions, is the Lok-Blok Mold Frame. This frame can also be used for making excellent rubber molds with no packing. Please note that you may already have many of these items or may wish to purchase some of them (like the lacquer and remover) locally:
Item Needed Size Stock# Price
Lok-Blok mold frame standard size LokBlokStd Buy $259.95
Modeling clay 1 pound block 21.774 Buy $6.50
Lacquer (hazmat item) 1 pint bottle 45.650 Buy $16.80
Lacquer remover  (hazmat item) 1 pint bottle 45.651 Buy $13.00
Mold Metal (ordinary lead ($15.80 , stock # 25.061) can be substituted) 2 oz. 54.812 Buy $11.20
Vulcanizer (a bench vise can be substituted) any size    
Investment Rapid Stone RapidStone Buy $29.95
Instructions for making multi-piece metal molds   available only with lok-blok set no charge

 

Shor Electroformer
Electroforming is a plating process that requires a very special kind of plating machine; an electroformer. All plating machines, electroformers included, work on the same general principle, they use DC current to cause microscopic plates of metal to adhere to, and build up on, the surface of the piece being plated. The low amperage and highly filtered current of electroformers produce small, evenly distributed plates that adhere much better to each other and the underlying substrate than with standard plating rectifiers. With a standard plating process, the thickness of the plating is relatively thin ( a few microns at most) and strong adhesion and even distribution is not critical. With electroforming, however, the plating is hundreds or thousands of times thicker. If a standard rectifier were used to produce such a thick coating, the coating would not only look very uneven, simply rubbing it would cause the plating to peel off the model. A magnetic stirrer is generally used in conjunction with an electroformer to insure a very smooth, even coating. Click hyperlink for electroforming videos.   Electroforming is used to do two very different things: to build up models to compensate for shrinkage or to make hollow jewelry from wax models by building up a heavy metal coating on a wax model. When copying models, it is necessary to compensate for the inevitable shrinkage that occurs in the various stages of the casting process. Electroforming is the only known method of doing this. To make hollow jewelry, the wax is painted with a metallic electrically conductive paint (usually silver paint) and the electroformer creates a metal coating on top of the wax. The wax is then heated and drained, leaving a hollow core. For information on water soluble wax, see Shor Water Soluble Waxes.   For an article on the electroforming process see Forming a Niche 

Shor Electroformer-  Comes complete with electroforming rectifier, metal forming brush/dip (stock# 45-240),  tin plating solution (stock# 45-228) and either copper or silver electroforming solution

Electroformer for Gold, Silver and Copper   $1,899
Electroformer for Silver and Copper
  $995