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Sculpteo offers two different metalization options, PVD and electroplating. Both of these surface treatments apply a metallic layer to your 3D printed object. They will also improve the life of the object with, depending on the metal, better resistance to abrasion, scratches, deformations, oxidation corrosion, acids, etc. However, these two plating options have their own particularities and won’t be used for the same purposes.
The main difference between these two metalization options is the thickness of the metallic layer added to your object: +/- 2µ for PVD, and +/- 150-200μm for electroplating.
The PVD technique adds a thin metallic layer to your object. The advantage of this technique is that it can be used on flexible plastic parts made of TPU. The metallic layer is really thin, up to 2µ, allowing to preserve the details of your 3D printed part.
Perfectly suited for:
Electroplating is an electrolytic deposition that covers an object with a metallic layer. The metallic layer is about 150-200μm and won’t suit really detailed objects, but will give your part an homogeneous surface. This plating solution will give a cold touch to your 3D printed parts.
Perfectly suited for:
Aesthetic parts with a cold touch
Protection for functional parts
This is physical vapor deposition. The process is carried out under vacuum and transforms the solid material, the metal target, into vapour, which then condenses to cover the substrate, namely the plastic part.
The metal is heated to its melting point so that it evaporates and eventually comes into contact with the element to be coated, which is located at a much lower temperature. This allows the metal to return to its solid form and envelop the object in question.
Working under vacuum makes it possible to obtain a thin layer of pure and regular metal. Without any impurities, the risk of oxidation and irregularities on the surface of the object is avoided.
There are several PVD processes (by evaporation, sputtering or ionization), the one offered by Sculpteo’s online 3D printing service for your 3D printed parts is the sputtering process.
Electroplating is an electrolytic deposition that covers an object with a metallic layer. By electrolysis, metal is transferred from an anode (the part containing the metal to be plated) to a cathode (the part to be plated).
For a plastic, we spray a conductive layer then we hang it with a hook or we aim the part against a metal support connected to a negative charge. The whole is dipped in baths to carry out the electroplating. It is possible to apply several layers. To obtain a smooth surface, the part must be polished between each bath, this will allow the homogeneity of the deposit.
A low thickness allows an aesthetic appearance, solidifies a part and facilitates cleaning. A slightly greater thickness allows a particular resistance to wear and corrosion. Some materials, such as chrome, will not tarnish.
The delivery time will depend on the volume and number of parts you order. This information will be communicated to you while placing your order.
The maximum size for plating your models is limited by the physical size of 3D plating tanks. Your designs must respect this maximum size in order to be printed:
380 x 1100 mm
Matte nickel 6800 x 3800 x 2400 mm
Shiny nickel 2700 x 1400 x 1000 mm
Standard copper 2700 x 2400 x 1400 mm
Shiny copper 2700 x 1400 x 1000 mm
With Sculpteo’s online 3D printing service you’re just a few clicks away from professional 3D printed parts. Your 3D model is printed and finished with the highest quality and delivered straight to your door.
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