Hey everyone, I hope you had a great weekend. I spent mine researching the ins and outs of the various plating rectifiers you could possibly purchase, on a budget, and I feel I’ve come to a great decision on the best power supply for beginners.
Copper electroforming can be very confusing, we just want to make pretty jewelry without becoming chemical scientists. Which is why I try my hardest to distill all the information I’ve gathered over the years into something most folks can understand.
I’m sure that when you were researching electroforming and figuring out all the supplies and tools you needed, you, at one point or another, ran into the dilemma of “which power supply should I buy?”
I feel the Tekpower 0-18V 0-3A Lab Grade Variable Linear DC Power Supply is the perfect rectifier for a beginner wanting to copper electroform jewelry.
When I was starting out I had a very modest budget of just $250. I spent hours researching which power supply to get as I knew it would take up the bulk of my budget. I chose the TekPower 3-amp power supply for several reasons which I’ll list below.
When I first started using the TekPower power supply, of course I had some issues with my jewelry coming out bumpy, the copper falling off or just a really dark color. It was frustrating to say the least. But none of these issues were because of the power supply being faulty, it more so had to do with my electroforming bath and the settings I had my power supply on (I was pretty much frying my pieces). However, once I figured out the perfect amperage setting for a single gemstone stacking ring I started to have success. (You can actually see me using this power supply in my first ring making tutorial!)
I really enjoyed using this power supply in the beginning, I was able to do up to 3 rings at once, but that’s because I was electroforming in a 16oz mason jar where I could only fit 3 rings at once. But this power supply has the ability to electroform up to 10 stacking rings at one time. The formula I use is .30 amps per square inch of surface plating needed. I just considered a normal gemstone stacking ring as 1 square inch. Therefore 3 amps can cover up to 10 square inches, or 10 stacking rings.
Ease of Use
The TekPower 3-amp power supply has such an easy-to-use interface, the two knobs on the front tell you which is which; one says “voltage” and the other says “current” (which is your amperage). They supply you with your positive and negative leads. The receptacles on the power supply are color coordinated so you know where to plug each lead into.
Another thing that helped me make my decision was that it’s made by a reputable company. Therefore, I knew that if I had any issues I could call or email TekPower’s customer support.
Very easy to use and intuitive in using it to copper electroform.
Comes with a 90 day warranty.
It’s quiet, even when the fan is on. I’d say it’s about the same, or quieter than my laptop fan.
It’s smaller size makes it easy to tuck away on your workbench without taking up all your crafting real estate.
Shipping is fast from the Amazon store.
The amperage readings for this power supply will be slightly different from other ones I’ve used and seen. For a single ring I set my amps to .30 when using the TekPower 3-amp. But for my 5-amp power supply I own from a different company, I have to set it to .03 for the same type of ring.
Can be quite a learning curve when trying to troubleshoot issues.
Loud startup sound. It scared me the first time I turned it on but I assure you it’s totally harmless.
Who is this power supply for?
The TekPower 3Amp-18Volt Power Supply is going to be more geared towards the person who just wants to make jewelry as a hobby and perhaps begin selling their jewelry at some point. This is not for the person who has capital to start a jewelry business and is looking to have a production setup making hundreds of jewelry pieces.
As of August 9, 2019 the price is $54.99 + free shipping. The price point of this power supply makes it an affordable option to those who just want to make jewelry as a hobby and/or start an Etsy shop selling their jewelry as a beginner.
There are certainly higher quality power supplies with more amperage output, but with that comes a higher price. I plan on going over some other options for those looking to upgrade from this one, rev up their jewelry production or to make bigger, sculptural pieces.
Things to Keep in Mind
Some people have had issues with this power supply not working as good as it had in the past, or it just completely stopped working. Before going straight to “well, this power supply is broken”, keep in mind that your copper electroforming solution needs to have enough conductivity for the power supply to do its job.
Remember, that there are a lot of working parts when electroforming. A lot needs to be damn near perfect in order for this machine to use DC electricity to remove copper from your anode and deposit that copper onto the piece you’re electroforming.
Also, I’ve found that the shorter your leads are the better, sorta like using a 50ft extension cord rather than a 5ft cord, the power has a longer travel time which weakens the power supply by the time it gets to the item you’re trying to supply power to.
You’re going to have to learn a little bit about this process; the power supply, electricity, conductivity and copper electroforming solution. But I promise it’s not as difficult as it may sound and it’s my goal to help you in any way I can.