Copper Electroforming Safely In Your Home

There are some valid safety concerns about copper elctroforming in your home, especially in a small space or a space with children and fur-babies. I get asked a lot about the safety precautions you all should take while working in this medium so I'm going to go over as much as possible in this guide.

Copper Electroforming Safely In Your Home by MakerMonologues.com

Copper Electroforming Safely In Your Home by MakerMonologues.com

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Copper Electroforming Solution

First up is the most obvious, the solution used to electroform your pieces in. This is an acid-based solution so you should avoid contact with skin, eyes, inhalation and most definitely ingestion. If you get it on your skin just wash thoroughly with soap and water. If you get it in your eye flush with water thoroughly. If inhaled go outside for fresh air and if ingested seek medical help immediately. These safety precautions are as stated on the Rio Grande website for their copper electroforming solution.

You want to absolutely keep all pets and children away from your setup. If you have a dedicated room for this keep them out and lock the door. Or you can use a plastic tub to secure everything into. 

You should wear lab grade rubber gloves, safety glasses and an apron when handling this solution. Alternatively you can wear some overalls rather than an apron (t's a much more stylish way to work, you feel me ladies?).

Brighteners/Sealants/Patinas

The same applies to copper brightener, sealants and patina solutions. If using any type of patina solutions or sealants you want to do so in a well ventilated area and/or wear a respirator mask and gloves.

Polishing Compounds + Filing/Sanding

This is where I'm more cautious in the whole process of electroforming. While you're sanding and polishing you're rotary tool or file is kicking up tons of particulates of compounds and metal. You do not want to inhale these tiny bits of debris which over time can cause some real respiratory issues.

Always, always, always wear a respirator with particulate filters. I always recommend the 3M mask and filters. You always always want to wear safety glasses as pieces of metal and compound can fly into your eye. Wearing an apron isn't totally necessary but if you want to protect your clothing then I would suggest you wear one.

If you have long hair make sure you pull it up into a ponytail. Roll up long sleeves and take off any dangling necklaces, earrings are bracelets as these can get caught in the rotary tool.

Shop Safety Gear

My Opinion

I don't want any of this to scare you from jewelry making. I really just wanted to cover all the safety precautions you should take when encountering these products. I personally never wear an apron or gloves. The main thing I'm cautious about is polishing and sanding in which I always wear my safety glasses and mask. 

Although I sometimes don't wear my glasses while polishing or I sometimes won't put my mask on if I only need to polish for a second, I can't technically recommend that to you because I do not want to be held liable for anything I say here. I'm just saying that you shouldn't worry too much if you forget to put your mask on, just go put it on and you'll be fine. If you get solution on your hand just go wash with warm soapy water, if you inhale your liver of sulfur go get some fresh air then put your mask on, etc. You'll be just fine.

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