At last year’s Maker Faire in NYC, Monolith Studios presented their Orbit1 electroplating device, demonstrating to onlookers a machine for coating 3D prints in metallic materials. Though there are DIY methods for electroplating objects and expert services to do the work for you, the Orbit1 is meant to be one more tool to add to your home factory. And, now that it’s on Kickstarter, you’ll be able to do so.
Over at their crowdfunding page, Monolith explains the simple process behind electroplating prints with the Orbit1: clean and polish the print, spray it with conductive silver-copper paint, and place it into the Orbit1. Apart from the sleek design of the device, the Orbit1 offers an app to allow for the monitoring of electroplating jobs. With a circulating cathode, Monlith assures an even coating and the company provides a number of different racks to suit a variety of objects within the copper sulfate liquid of the Orbit1. The company also offers a “smart electroplating setting” that uses a “laser scan and algorithm” to “configure the best recipe for you”. It’s hard for me to imagine how a laser scan of an object would improve the electroplating process, which essentially transfers metal ions from one material onto another.
The Orbit1, with an anticipated retail price of $2,999, can be purchased at an early-bird price of $1,999. This may be much cheaper than industrial electroplating machines, but is definitely more expensive than electroplating kits and devices on the market, which can be purchased for about $80 as DIY kits or in the $200-300 range as more professional machines. If the Orbit1 can automate the process, however, it may be worth it to pay a bit more and Monolith’s product could be the low-end equivalent of an industrial machine.