RE: Electroplating SLA parts

From: Murphy, Matt (
Date: Wed Mar 24 1999 - 11:12:11 EET

I have details on processes we use Bill, but our plater is in London, UK.
Probably a little too distant from CA.

We do a lot of plating of SL5190 - electroless deposition of a 1 micron
silver seed layer, electrolytic deposition of a 16 micron copper bulk layer
and then a 1 micron electroless gold layer for environmental protection. We
apply the metal coatings to impart a specific dielectric property to our
parts, but it is also very decorative. We are now testing mechanical
behaviour of coating and more importantly of the bond strength - our parts
are going straight into full service.

The hard part of the plating of SL resins is getting the first seed layer
down, thus providing surface conductivity for the electrolytic plating
process. If you want a rough job you can manually paint the surface with
silver. However if you want a precision thickness and high surface finish
the electroless plating must be used.

Electroless plating involves holding parts some low pH solutions at about 30
degrees. SL 5190 sucks up water under these conditions and tends to
distort, in addition to the surface softening. We tweaked the electroless
process to successfully plate SL5190 without distortion etc, but the
operating window is tiny.

We are therefore looking at new SL resins and initial trials show that Ciba
SL5530HT and an RPC resin (the exact name escapes me just now) are far more
stable, giving us a much bigger operating window.

Let me know if you want more detail,


Dr Matt Murphy
Rapid Manufacturing
Pera Group
Nottingham Rd, Melton Mowbray
Leicestershire, LE13 0PB

* Tel: + 44 (0)1664 501 501
* Fax: + 44 (0)1664 501 589
* Mob: 0402 745 278
* email:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Alta Precision []
> Sent: 23 March 1999 17:18
> To:
> Subject: Electroplating SLA parts
> Good day all,
> Can anyone suggest reliable source for electroplating SLA parts?
> Thanks in advance.
> Bill Bernardo
> Alta Precision Prototypes
> <>

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