The Electroplating Process Is A Great Demonstration Of Science At Work

The process and science behind the electroplating process is really awesome. Here’s a quick walk through of how it starts at Welcome to 1979 and finishes at Welcome to 1979 Industries-

First, we take your recordings (either on tape, digital, or vinyl master) and cut a lacquer (acetate) from the master recording. An acetate is a piece of aluminum coated with a layer of vinyl, into which grooves are cut, like a record. Unlike records, however, acetates are usually one sided, and come in pairs, one for each side of the album. They also often have two center holes; one hole is the standard center hole which acts as the axis for rotation, and the other hole is used by the guiding arm to turn the acetate while the writing stylus cuts the grooves.1382333_10151727039128063_913850062_n

Once the audio is on the lacquer disc it is electroplated to make metal parts for replication. Mastered lacquers are chemically cleaned and sprayed with a silver solution. They are then placed into a nickel bath with high voltage charge. The electric current causes the nickel molecules to be attracted to the silver creating a build up of material. The more time given to this process the more material build up, the thicker the plate, hence different pricing for thickness. Once the desired thickness is reached the lacquer with nickel negative is cleaned and separated.13177948_10153654570828063_8082576814221698286_n

The 2-Step Electroplating Process-

The 2-step electroplating process involves the father being peeled off the acetate and then itself being electroplated again to create the “mother”, which is in effect, the negative of the father plate. Typically, the mother plates are shelved for future use, and the father is used for stamping.13147562_10153654569428063_4436803433131221547_o

The 3-Step Electroplating Process-

The 3-step electroplating process is just like the 2-step process except the mother is kept around to electroplate more stampers. Essentially, 3-step electroplating is simply just another step to make more parts. This is a good idea if you’re planning on making many copies of your vinyl. One father can produce 10 mothers, and one mother can produce 10 stampers. A single stamper can produce about 1000 records. If you do the math, you’ll figure out that the 2-step process will yield about 11,000 records before a new lacquer needs to be cut. The three step process can produce up to about 100,000 vinyl records before you have to cut a new lacquer.13254065_10153698631468063_777679989985997825_n

About welcometo1979

Welcome To 1979 is a retro, analog centric (but digital capable) recording studio in Nashville, TN that strives to cater to the independent & budget minded artists, producers and engineers. Featuring fully-restored analog tape machines, console, outboard equipment and microphones we ensure that “vintage” doesn’t mean “old and broken”. Along with tons of vintage gear, Welcome To 1979 also features tons of space: Over 7,000 square feet of unique recording and recreational spaces to help inspire your creativity, with or without the use of a computer! Fingers on Strings, Hands on Faders, Music on Tape. Welcome To 1979! View all posts by welcometo1979 →

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