Electroplated 3D Printed Sword: Shiny!

We all want to 3D print metals, but the equipment to do that is still beyond most home workshops. However, [HEN3DRIK] takes resin 3D-printed items and electroplates them. Might not be as good as printing in metal, but it sure looks metallic. As you can see in the video below, the sword looks like it was crafted from highly-polished steel.

The sword comes out in four pieces. He repeats several times that sanding is the key because you must have flat surfaces. Using sandpaper and steel wool, he worked the parts to a fine finish. The parts assemble along an M8 threaded rod to form a whole. The next step was to electroplate with copper.

The sword was big enough that it required upscaling his normal electroplating setup. Of course, the resin isn’t conductive, so an airbrush deposits a conductive lacquer before the parts go in the bath. Some copper wire also helps the process.

If you don’t like post-processing parts, this technique isn’t for you. There’s a lot of sanding before and after electroplating. The plating itself takes patience, especially the copper plating. A very dangerous nickel plating process adds a shiny coating with a thin coat of palladium. An electroplating pen adds gold accents.

The sword looks amazing, but it obviously wasn’t a quick one-hour project. If you want to do electroplating, mind the safety factors as some of the chemicals are quite nasty.

Last time we checked in on [HEN3DRIK] he was building a Star Wars prop. If you are interested in a DIY electroplating pen, it has been done, too.

13 thoughts on “Electroplated 3D Printed Sword: Shiny!

  1. He mentions wearing a respirator while sanding his prints, as many people do. I find it much better to sand resin wet by dunking it in water. Emery paper is waterproof and comes in very fine grits. No dust in the air and the sandpaper remains unclogged as well which happens quickly when sanding resin dry. Emery paper also lasts an extremely long time this way.

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