Are you looking for an electroforming rectifier? If so, chances are you have a lot of questions. One of them probably is ‘how do I choose the best rectifier for electroforming?’. It’s a legit question, and one I asked myself when I first started electroforming. But don’t worry, choosing the right rectifier doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In this post, I answer all the questions you might have about power supplies, and I included a buying guide to help you choose the best rectifier for electroforming.
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Why do I need a rectifier for electroforming
A rectifier is probably the first thing you should get if you intend to electroform or electroplate an object. Without a rectifier, you won’t be able to provide the electricity needed to plate your creation.
Basically, rectifiers convert AC (alternative current) to DC (direct current). For electroforming, you need a steady direct current to obtain a good plating.
Rectifiers come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re a beginner you can get a simple, easy to use power supply. You don’t need it to be very powerful since you are using it on very low voltage for electroforming.
How do you use a rectifier for electroforming
You’ll definitely get better results if you know how to properly use your rectifier for electroforming. First, you need to attach your negative clip to the object you wish to electroform and positive to the anode. Then, you need to figure out the right voltage for your project. This is an important part of the electroforming process. To know the exact voltage you need to plate your piece, you have to calculate the square inch of the surface area you want to electroform. It can be done using this tool. You’ll be setting your amps at 0.1 amps per square inch of surface area. In other words, if you want to plate 5 inches of surface area, you’ll be setting your rectifier to 0.5 amps.
Once your rectifier is turned on and set on the voltage of your choice, you’ll notice a slow build-up of metal on your piece. If you use high current, your piece will become grainy. This can be interesting if you wish to have texture on your creations. However, for a smooth result, a low voltage is always best. You’ll have to check your piece periodically and make adjustments (turn the power up or down) until you obtain the desired texture. I leave my pendants at least 8 hours in the bath – but more often 15-24 hours.
How to choose the best electroforming rectifier
If you’ve never bought a rectifier before, you probably don’t know what you should be looking for. You don’t wanna buy just any power supply and end up with something that’s not going to work for electroforming. So, here is how to choose the best electroforming rectifier.
Type of rectifier
You want your rectifier to be a DC power supply. It’s very important because direct current is what you need to plate your objects. Also, choose a rectifier that is adjustable and accurate, because you need to adjust your voltage precisely to get the wanted result.
I personally think you do not need to buy a very expensive power supply, especially if you’re a beginner. You want your rectifier to last though, so I don’t recommend buying the first price either. If like me, you’re only using your power supply for electroforming, I suggest getting a rectifier between $50 and $100.
- Size and weight
Don’t forget to check the size and weight of your rectifier before you buy it. Especially if you have a small space to establish your setup. Most rectifiers are quite small and lightweight. They are easily portable and can be stored in any cupboard. I like that about mine, and I wouldn’t want to be bothered with a big machine.
If you plan on electroforming dozens of pieces at once, you might want to consider buying a powerful rectifier. Mine is 30V/5A and I plate up to 3 pieces at once with it. I’m sure you can do a lot more though. If you have a big bath, you might want to consider getting a 30V/10A power supply.
Ease of use
I had no idea how to use a rectifier before I got one. But since most of them come with instruction manuals, it’s not too hard to set up. However, I recommend checking reviews that mention the ease of use before buying.
Electroforming rectifier: Buying guide
Here is a list of some pretty good electroforming rectifiers for beginners. I just want to mention that the power supplies I recommend are best for ‘hobbyists’ or people like me, who enjoy making jewelry and selling it online. I do not mass produce, I plate around 10 pieces per week – sometimes less. If you want to plate hundreds of pieces at once and produce high volumes of electroformed objects, you might want to look at more powerful and more expensive rectifiers. With that being said, here are the best electroforming rectifiers for beginners:
1. DC Power Supply Variable(0-30 V 0-5 A), Eventek KPS305D Adjustable Switching Regulated Power Supply
The Eventek DC power supply is the one I’m currently using. It’s adjustable and can provide power up to 30V/5A. With this, you can easily electroform several pieces at once – I always electroform 3 at a time. This power supply is very accurate, and reliable. On top of that, it’s pretty affordable, small, and lightweight so it won’t take too much space in your home. Safe to use, this rectifier is FCC certified. Also, it has voltage overload protection and hot-circuit protection, so you don’t have to worry about using it for long periods of time. It’s super easy to use and comes with alligator clips. However, they are super small, but you can just get another pair if this is a problem for you. The Eventek DC power supply is definitely one of the best rectifiers for beginner electroformers.
✔ FCC Certified
✘ Very short alligator leads
2.DC Power Supply Variable Switching Regulated 3-Digital 30V/5A Power Supply
This rectifier designed by TopPower is small, affordable, and lightweight. You can choose if you want to have a 3-digits or 4-digits display. This rectifier has multiple protections including thermal protection, voltage overload, and short circuit protection to ensure safety. It can operate on both CC and CV mode. It also has a built-in fan to reduce operation noise. I was using this power supply when I was in Canada and was pretty happy with it. It’s easy to use and comes with two output cables. It’s a power supply that’s perfectly suitable for electroforming, and it even comes with a 60 days money-back guarantee.
✔ Easy to use
✔ 60 days money-back guarantee
✘ The knob layout can be confusing at first
3. Variable DC Power Supply, IPSXP KPS1202D Adjustable Switching Regulated Power Supply
This small power supply made by IPSXP is another great option for electroforming. For less than $50, this rectifier will do the job. It’s adjustable and can provide up to 30V/5A of power. You can use it in constant voltage or constant current operations mode. On top of that, it’s lightweight, has a built-in thermo sensor, and is very quiet. The only drawback is that it doesn’t mention if it’s FCC-certified or not. This power supply is totally suitable for electroforming, and if you’re on a budget, it’s a good option.
✔ Easy to use (only 2 knobs)
✘ Doesn’t mention it’s FCC-certified
4.Tekpower TP1803D Lab Grade Variable Linear DC Power Supply 0-18V @0-3A
If you’ve been looking at rectifiers, you probably heard a lot about the Tekpower power supply. This rectifier has been recommended by many other electroformers. It’s a great power supply for beginners because it’s easy to use (only 2 knobs) and very affordable. It can provide up to 3A of power, which isn’t much, but enough for beginners. This tool is reliable and versatile. If you feel intimidated by how to set up your power supply, I’d recommend getting this one because it is by far the easiest to use. However, since it’s not very powerful you might have to upgrade at some point. This power supply comes with alligator leads and a user manual. It also has a 90-day warranty.
✔ Compact and light
✘ Not powerful
5. Flycow DC Power Supply Variable, Adjustable 30V 10A Switching DC Regulated Power Supply with 3 Digit LED Display
This highly sensitive and accurate power supply works both in constant voltage and current operation mode. It’s easy to adjust and very powerful. This rectifier has a 3-digits LED screen (most rectifiers display 4 digits, but I don’t think it’s a problem though). It comes with two power cords and a warranty card. The only drawback of this rectifier is that it is a little bit bigger than the others I recommend. If you have a lot of space, it won’t be a problem for you though. If you want to get a rectifier that provides more than 5A of power, this one is your best option.
✔ Good value for money
✔ High accuracy
✘ It’s quite big
Choosing the best rectifier for electroforming is easy once you know what you’re looking for. Make sure you are getting a DC power supply that’s easy to use. If you’re a beginner, you can easily find a great rectifier for less than $100. Out of the 5 power supplies I recommend, I personally used 2 (#1 and #2). The others made it on the list because I know artists who use them. Either way, they all are suitable for electroforming. Just choose the power supply you feel will be the best for your projects. I hope this guide helped you choose the best electroforming rectifier. Which rectifier do you use? Let me know in the comments below!