Membrane Material Sources

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Murdock

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I would like to know, where some of the microphone manufactures from here get their membrane material?
It would be awesome if there is some kind of store for this. But it seems nobody is willing to sell their membranes.
There are some sources for thin nickel or aluminum diaphragms but they either have a rather large MOQ or they don't sell to private persons...
Is there maybe enough interest to do groupbuys or something similiar?
Or even better, is there maybe one of the manufactures here willing to sell some of their membranes or share their sources?
 

RuudNL

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As far as I know nickel membranes are generally produced by the microphone manufacturers themselves.
(By the way: nickel isn't the easiest membrane material to work with!)
Usually they use a copper base, and a thin layer of nickel is 'grown' on the copper through an electro chemical process. When the correct nickel thickness is reached, the copper is etched away and what remains is a very thin layer of nickel. In principle you could do the same, but I suppose it will take a lot of experimentation to get it right.
 

ccaudle

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a thin layer of nickel is 'grown'

That is interesting. For some reason I thought it would be a mechanical process (e.g. rolling like aluminum foil is produced).
Do you know if that is because rolling is too difficult to achieve the the thickness and consistent thickness required, or if rolling nickel introduces too much strain and causes undesired work hardening?
 

soliloqueen

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That is interesting. For some reason I thought it would be a mechanical process (e.g. rolling like aluminum foil is produced).
Do you know if that is because rolling is too difficult to achieve the the thickness and consistent thickness required, or if rolling nickel introduces too much strain and causes undesired work hardening?
Aluminum foil is rolled, but aluminum leaf (which I have heard more commonly referring to aluminum this thin) is rolled and then beaten. I don't think you can roll metal this thin in general. I've only ever seen metal this thin produced through the method above or through beating.

@Murdock You might be able to hammer aluminum or nickel foil into a membrane yourself similar to how ribbons are made but ymmv. I'm not sure about the evenness and stability of something like that. I've never heard of it being done this way for a condenser microphone. I've only ever seen people hammer aluminum thinner for ribbon mics. Maybe you could look up DIY methods for producing a ribbon at home and do the same thing but with a wider square...? it's cheap so you might as well try it... I don't think it will work, if I'm being honest, but you might as well try.
 
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gyraf

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..my first mic capsule experiments were skinned with foil from (physically large) polyester capacitors that I cut open and unwound. The lower the working voltage, the thinner the film...
 

Murdock

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As far as I know nickel membranes are generally produced by the microphone manufacturers themselves.
(By the way: nickel isn't the easiest membrane material to work with!)
Usually they use a copper base, and a thin layer of nickel is 'grown' on the copper through an electro chemical process. When the correct nickel thickness is reached, the copper is etched away and what remains is a very thin layer of nickel. In principle you could do the same, but I suppose it will take a lot of experimentation to get it right.
Yeah, I also read about that. As far as I know, Thiersch produces his Nickel foil also himself.
I'm not even that interested in Nickel foil.
Even "plain" Mylar with alu or gold would be great in different thickness.
I now used a rescue blanket. But it is rather thick with its 12 micron.
I also have 5 micron mylar with alu but it's quality is not that great...

..my first mic capsule experiments were skinned with foil from (physically large) polyester capacitors that I cut open and unwound. The lower the working voltage, the thinner the film...
My tensioning jig is quite big. The foil needs to be at least 6cm in diameter... That would be a rather large capacitor.
Is there something like a rule of thumb for the thickness for a given capacitor? What is the thinnest foil one could get?
 

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