When I first started electroforming, I had no idea you had to maintain the bath. This is one of the many things I was clueless about. When after a few run my bath started giving me dull pieces, I was confused and didn’t know what to do. Well, it turns out the bath needs to be filtered and cleaned regularly in order to keep working. In this post, I explain how to maintain the electroforming bath and why you should do it.
Why should I maintain my bath?
The more you electroform, the dirtier your bath becomes. Every time you electroform something, copper gets into the solution and that’s why you need to clean it. Do you see brown deposits at the bottom of your beaker? If so, it’s definitely time to clean your bath! If you don’t maintain your bath, it will evaporate and your creations will come out dull.
How often should I clean my bath?
Honestly, there is no set time to clean your bath. It really depends how often you use it, for how long, if your bath is covered, if your copper coil is big…
I clean and filter my solution approximately once a month. I believe some people do it after each run. In my opinion, you should clean it whenever it needs replenishing or when it starts giving you dull creations.
If you notice brown deposits at the top of your bath, then you should probably clean it also.
How to maintain your electroforming bath
The easiest way to maintain your electroforming bath is to filter it and replenish it. Here is what you need to do that:
- A funnel
- Coffee filters
- Paper towel
- A plastic container
- Distilled water
- Copper brightener
- Your electroforming bath
Now that you have everything, we’re going to start filtering the solution.
1. Filter your solution
To clean my bath I use coffee filters and a funnel. It’s a pretty easy technique that anyone can do at home. First, place your coffee filter inside your funnel.
Take your funnel and place it above an empty plastic container (that you won’t reuse for food!). Pour your solution in the filter.
You will see that the filter captures all the debris and copper deposit that was in your bath.
2. Clean your beaker
Clean the bottom of your beaker with a paper towel to make sure it is clean and ready to receive your filtered solution. I like to clean it both inside and outside to avoid contamination as much as possible.
3. Filter back into your tank
Once my beaker is clean, I filter my solution back into it. My solution was quite clean, so I only needed to filter it a couple of times but if yours is dirty you can filter it has many times as you need. I usually recommend filtering it until your coffee filter looks clean enough.
Once you’re done filtering your solution, don’t forget to dry everything you’ve used. Otherwise, when the solution dries it will leave blue crystals everywhere.
4. Refill your beaker
After each run, you will notice that your solution evaporates a little bit. It’s part of the process. For this reason, I place a piece of tape on my beaker so I know how much solution has evaporated since the last time I cleaned it.
To refill your beaker, you can use distilled or demineralized water. It is said that tap water can contaminate your bath, which is why you should only use distilled or demineralized water. However, I’ve put tap water in my bath several times and haven’t noticed any contamination. But, just to be on the safe side, I’d recommend getting distilled water.
Refill your beaker until you reach the piece of tape.
5. Add copper brightener
In order to keep getting shiny pieces coming out of the bath, you can add copper brightener to your solution. I use the one from Tifoo because I am in Europe, but if you’re in the US you can use the Midas one.
Usually, it’s written on the bottle how much of it you should put in your bath. Mine says to put 4ml for 1000ml. So, I add just a few drops.
Once you’ve done this, you can put a lid on your bath and it is now ready for a new run.
Watch the process in video:
- Don’t forget to wear gloves when you are filtering your bath.
- The funnel and plastic container you are using to clean your bath cannot be reused for other things, especially not in the kitchen.
- If your copper coil and bus bar have blue spots on them or are dirty, you can clean them with a brass brush. It is good to keep everything clean to make sure your electroforming works perfectly!
- Put a lid on your solution when you’re done to avoid contamination as much as possible.
See also: How to set up your electroforming bath
Maintaining your bath is pretty easy. It’s something that I do approximately once a month, but there’s no set time to do it. Just filter your solution to clean it from copper deposits and contaminants before replenishing it with distilled water and copper brightener.
How often do you maintain your bath? Let me know In the comments below!