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The objective of this paper is to introduce the subject of electroforming and to discuss briefly the fundamentals involved in its practice. By so doing, it is also hoped that the paper will serve as a basis for a better understanding of when, what, and how to electroform, and especially to aid in pointing out the considerations needed in order to develop realistic specifications. An indication of the scope and magnitude of electroforming may be obtained from the following applications: 1. For many years the Bureau of Printing and Engraving at Washington, D. C. has been electroforming printing plates for paper currency, bonds, and stamps. The printing industry also has been producing electrotypes for an equally long period. These applications and the manufacture of record stampers require an accuracy of reproduction that is fantastic and well illustrate the fact that electroforming is a precision tool. 2. Prior to World War II the Germans made use of electroforming for a number of products, one in particular being the electroforming of sheet iron for high-density metal reported to have been used in “baby” submarines. 3. During World War II, our Government used electroforming for many parts, some notable examples being the following: (1) large 60-in. reflectors, (2) antenna masts and pitot tubes for aircraft, and (3) large accurate molds for explosives. 4. Current uses of the process are growing. A few interesting examples are: linear accelerator parts, radar and electronic components, complex air frame skin sections, and shipboard radar antenna feeds. The electroplater is concerned only with taking some existing article and creating upon it an adherent metallic deposit, which then becomes a permanent part of the altered article. The electroformer, on the other hand, is intent on creating a new object which did not before exist. We may therefore word our definition to say that “electroforming is the art of producing or reproducing metallic objects by electrodeposition upon a master form, mandrel or matrix, which is then removed in whole or in part.”
Graham, A. Kenneth
Consultant, Graham, Savage and Associates, Inc., Jenkintown, Pa.