Cheapskate's Acid Etching

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Cheapskate's Acid Etching

Post by Dick_Morris » Mon May 10, 2010 1:41 am

I don't think this dodge has been suggested before.

I've been working on getting someone to make lettering for my pedestal patterns using a rubber stamp process for quite a while. I finally gave up on it and decided to try something different. A search of the Internet suggested a printed circuit board etching process using a laser printer to make the resist. So I fired up and relearned Autocad Lite to make the drawing for the resist. It was printed as a mirror image onto a sheet of shiny paper from a magazine. It doesn't matter if the paper has printing but most magazine pages are too thin to make it through the printer safely. In fact, I spent about a half hour removing a jam when I tried to print to a thin sheet. The article on the web said photo paper for ink jet printers will also work.
label image.jpg
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I then cleaned a piece of .032" brass with very fine sand paper. I taped one end of the paper to the brass so it wouldn't move around with the lettering face down. I then used an iron set on the linen setting for about three minutes pressing it down and working it around to melt the toner onto the brass.

The paper is removed from the brass by soaking and light rubbing.

Rather than spend money on a resist to protect the back, I just used a piece of wide, cellophane clear packing tape.

As suggested in the Internet article, a mix of 1/3 muriatic acid (about 30% strength, $10 per gallon from the orange box store) and 2/3 drug store hydrogen peroxide was used to etch the brass. The only part that didn't go as described in the article was that the etching took about an hour. The hydrogen peroxide I used was really old and I did the etching outside at about 50 degrees, so either may have slowed it down. I'm also not sure that etching with the the image facing upward up was the best idea.

The Internet articles go into more detail. If you want to give it a try I suggest you Google for them.

The final product are shown below. The screws are 00-90 and there is 1-1/2" between them. The depth of the etch is about .007". The plate was filed to just short of the ridge around the outside edge to give a little step and the circles at the screw locations served as a center punch for the drill.
Pedestal lable.jpg
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Last edited by Dick_Morris on Sat May 07, 2011 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cheapskate's Acid Etching

Post by baggo » Mon May 10, 2010 4:14 am

I made some nameplates using a similar process but using a special transfer film called Press n Peel which is used for the production of pcbs. The brass was etched using normal pcb etchant (Ferric Chloride). Works very well. ... lates1.htm

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