Galvaning Plating Process

Stampers for record pressing are manufactured from such mastered lacquers by a three-step electroforming process in electrolytic baths. It is recommended to start these processes with already cut lacquers as soon as possible to avoid deformations of grooves caused by heat and other environmental factors.

During the galvanic process a metallic copy of the lacquer foil is made. For this step the surface of the foil has to be made electrically conductive. Then a thin silver layer is applied, this silvered foil is immersed in a galvano-plastic nickel bath and the foil works as the cathode and the nickel is used as anode. Once electricity flows through the solution, the metallic nickel settles on the silvered surface of the foil. After achieving the desired thickness (ca. 0,23 mm), you have to remove the foil from the nickel layer.

By doing this you receive the first Galvanic, also called “father”. It is a negative, which means, instead of grooves there are the corresponding elevations. At this point the “father” is used for making another copy, called “mother”- this one is then used for making the “son”, which is the stamper that is essentially used for pressing. The stamper is then attached to the press and used to press the grooves into the vinyl.

Pressing vinyl records over and over again is hard on metal stampers, causing them to wear out over the course of a pressing. A set of stampers is usually good for around 1000 to 1500 pressings. As long as they are kept in good condition, you can make virtually endless stampers from a single mother. Once a stamper has been used it will be recycled.

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