The electroforming process was first used in mid 19th Century
for making rollers for the printing trade. It is also known
as electrotyping from this origin.
A mould is employed, which is made conductive and
allows the depposition of metal from solution onto it. The plating
is built up to the required thickness, where the electroform
can be seperated from it to form a free standing item.
Mandrils and mould can be made of several different type of
material, either permanent or expendable. Silicon RTV rubber
is used to give an almost exact copy of the pattern, and
this is subsequently mirrored in the reproduced electroform.
Military Metalwork employes this process to produce highly detailed
reproductions form original artifacts and quality masters. Being
made in metals, the electroform is able to recieve a high level
of polish, lost details can be recut, and can receive any subsequent
plating treatment required.
This process is especially usefull in limited productions where the expense of costly steel dies would be prohibitive, or where an exact copy is required.