Electroforming:
additive manufacturing
atom by atom

what is ELectroforming/Photo-Electroforming?

Electroforming is an additive manufacturing process specialized for the production of high precision metal parts. Its uniqueness is that you can grow metal parts atom by atom, providing extreme accuracy and high aspect ratios.

Veco’s Electroforming technology is also referred to as Photo-Electroforming, as it is an electrochemical process combined with photolithography technology.

electroforming: key features

conical hole shape
unique hole configuration
besides straight holes, it is also possible to achieve special bell mouth hole shape
thickness range
thickness range 5 – 1200 micron
feature size
feature size down to 2 micron
tight tolerance
tight tolerance down to +- 1 micron
design flexibility
complex shapes and design configurations with different materials
3D structures
complex 3D structures can be achieved by growing additional layers in different directions
high quality
burr-free, stress-free components with ultra smooth surface and clear edges
cost efficiency
highly cost efficient from prototyping to industrial scale mass production

electroforming process: combining photolithography and electrodeposition

cleaning

The metal substrate will first be cleaned
and degreased.

coating

The cleaned metal ‘blank’ is then coated with a light-sensitive coating/photoresist.

exposing

The metal sheet is then exposed to ultra-violet light, which hardens the photoresist.

We use the LDI (Laser Direct Imaging) technology which is highly accurate. Also, with an LDI, photomasks become redundant, which significantly reduces costs and decreases lead time.

developing

After the image is transferred by UV exposure the substrate is developed, rinsed and dried.

deposition

An electrolytic bath is used to deposit metal onto the patterned surface.

The electro-deposition process involves an electrolytic solution, two electrodes, and a DC current. The DC of electricity is passed through the solution, transferring metal ions onto the cathodic surface through a continuous deposit. Therefore, the material can be built up on microscale accuracy: atom by atom.

harvesting

The electroformed part can be harvested from the mandrel, once the material is plated in the desired thickness.

more about Electroforming process: watch the full video

explore what electroforming can bring to your next project
download our Electroforming whitepaper to learn about possibilities of our technology and how it can benefit your next innovation
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