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Author Topic: Come up and see my etchings.  (Read 7341 times)
Dr cornelius quack
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« on: January 11, 2013, 10:03:03 pm »

Well you knew I'd purloin that title eventually, didn't you?

I'm going to have an Etch-fest this weekend and get some good shots of the process set up and results as a proper how to.

In the meantime, here are two of the latest efforts.

Made with Copper discs as sold for enamel jewellery and as an exercise in getting the fonts down as small as possible.





The smaller lettering is about 5mm high with risers going to 8mm.

When these came out of the tank, I started to think about doing a bit of shaping on the disc and ended up doming the pieces with the bossing mallet and wooden block.
After a bit if work and a couple of anneals they form rather well without the shrinkage of the rim causing too much distortion of the letters


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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2013, 05:18:17 am »

Nice crisp etchings there-how do you do it?!
Really,how do you do it? I can't wait to see how your 'etch-fest' went. I hope you provide a lot of how-to details,I have pen and paper ready Wink.

I know there's threads on this somewhere,but I think I would like to experiment with how you're doing it.

Thanks!
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2013, 06:06:35 pm »

Very interesting!
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2013, 11:28:54 pm »

Quite lovely sir.
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Maets
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 12:40:56 am »

Have you tried any two step etching?  Etch part to one depth and another to a different depth?
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Dr cornelius quack
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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 01:10:19 am »

Have you tried any two step etching?  Etch part to one depth and another to a different depth?


Not yet.

The method should be able to deal with this as an option, as the vinyl is flexible enough to conform to a pre-existing pattern on the plate.

I'm trying to walk before I run.

Ambitious. Huh?

Apologies for not getting the 'photo-how to' up yet.

Sort of forgot to take pictures of some of the educational steps of the process at the weekend and need to get the things gigged up again to take some more shots.

Meanwhile, here's a shot of a high concentration fuel cell for interplanetary travel that I threw together the other evening.

« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 01:22:50 am by Dr cornelius quack » Logged
Maets
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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 04:49:04 am »

I think you start with the part to be cut the deepest and then remove the part to be cut less deep.  Vinyl always on the flat and virgin metal.

Looks great.  The depth you are getting is amazing.
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Dr cornelius quack
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2013, 03:28:26 am »

Right then. Here we go.

The method.


Generate your graphic with a suitable Vector drawing program.
I'm using Inkscape 'cos it's free.

http://inkscape.org/



The package that comes with the cutter can open vector files directly, so you can just use free library stuff from t'web as well.



Send the image to your cutter.

This step makes for a very boring photograph, so here's a bit of you tube footage of a machine in action.
It's not me.
Even I draw the line at such hideous graphic unpleasantness.

Cutting Plotter - Redsail Cutting plotter work video


When you have the cut. The unwanted bits of vinyl are removed with a scalpel/tweezers/forceps/ pointy stick.

You do this while the vinyl is still on the backing paper. (Waxed surface = easy removal)

Fiddly and time consuming when you have small font size or complex  shapes.



Cover the 'Weeded' cut with 'Transfer Tape'. This is just a low tack masking tape that keeps all of the bits of the image in the right place as you peel off the backing.



Peel away the backing paper and transfer the vinyl to the workpiece.
Make sure the metal is clean. (As in, really, really clean.)



I found that you need to rub down the edges over the whole surface very carefully through the transfer tape before you remove it. Gives a better bond to the the metal and prevents the etchant from creeping under to trash the beautiful crisp edges.

This disc has the wire for the connection attached.
I just tape the bared copper down to the back under the Gaffer tape that protects the reverse side.

Into the bath.



Power supply is a bog standard Maplin  13.8 V.d.c. unit. This one will peak at 5 Amps but is happier pushing out about 2A.

The plate is hooked up as the Anode in the circuit, which is the positive terminal (or, the one with the red plastic bit.)

The Negative (Cathode) is connected to a copper mesh on a brass frame which sits at the back of the tank.
You could just dangle the wire in the solution, but after a time, you gets a build up of the etched away copper at the cathode as a loose flocculation. (I've wanted to use that word properly for years. Grin)
The mesh allows you to run the tank a bit longer between clean-ups.

Right. Going to post this now, 'cos if I go much longer, I'll hit the wrong button an delete it all.

Don't touch that dial.

Or the big 'knife' switch.

And definitely, don't touch the 'Big Red Button.'
« Last Edit: January 20, 2013, 03:32:04 am by Dr cornelius quack » Logged
Dr cornelius quack
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2013, 04:09:09 am »

I think you start with the part to be cut the deepest and then remove the part to be cut less deep.  Vinyl always on the flat and virgin metal.

Looks great.  The depth you are getting is amazing.

Yes. Sounds like the sort of job that requires planning and thinking about.  Undecided

The depth of the etch is purely a numbers game.
The amount of metal removed is dependant on the number of electrons that are carried across the bath.
This is just the current multiplied by the time.

It will equate to a volume of material etched away, and means that, for a given design, the larger the area of exposed metal, the longer you have to run the process for a given depth of bite.

More Amps needed!!
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Maets
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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2013, 04:17:51 am »

Take for example the piece you used in the tutorial.  Do the same thing, only this time don't remove any of the letters around the outside, only remove the duck and inside letters.  Run through the bath as before.  Then remove the letters from the outside and run through the bath a second time.  The inner part will continue to erode and now the letters around the outside will as well.  The inner section should end up being cut deeper than the outside.  Seems like it should work.  Can't say I have ever tried it.  Thanks for all of the info.  Great work.
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Dr cornelius quack
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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2013, 04:33:04 am »

Ha!

Simple really, when you think of it that way.
The vinyl will let you do this as a part of the one process.
Cut all the element at once and remove them in sequence from the plate.

I'll give it a go later today, when I get back to the workshop.

Thanks.

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Drew P
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« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2013, 03:17:08 am »

Hi...did you ever get around to trying this 'double-dipping process'?
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Dr cornelius quack
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« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2013, 08:21:06 am »

Not yet.

But it's on my 'To do' list.

Time, Time. Where did I put that Time?
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Dr cornelius quack
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« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2013, 03:14:06 pm »

More results.



A few different designs trying out fonts and borders and as an exercise in demonstrating the difficulty of getting good pictures of very reflective objects with a phone camera.

If anyone does wish to ask about 'Dr. Quack's Custom Etching Service'?
Go right ahead.




Mr. Maets and Drew.
This is a multi stage etch (at last). Four levels of cut starting with the (i) outer ellipse, (ii) main field, (iii) rectangular border and (iv) the lettering left masked throughout.

Works a treat and makes for a very pleasing effect where the lettering overlaps the other layers.
Takes a bit of head scratching to edit the original graphic to loose the unwanted lines, but it's possible to convert the whole image to vector paths and let the programme do some clever Boolean calcs  that remove sections that would be hidden.
Something new learned. Cheesy



A maker plate in place on my Mk vii display stand. Works well against the artfully 'Corroded Metal'.



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Maets
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« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2013, 04:23:12 am »

Excellent work.  Great to see what you are doing.  The signs really pop.
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Drew P
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« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2013, 02:27:28 pm »

Wow Shocked mighty impressive!!!

Is that aluminum you're working with? Approx. how long did just the etching take?

With you showing what may be possible,this should be an inspiration to many. I was very interested before,but now I will absolutely,definitely be attempting this in a future project(and I just thought of the perfect one!).
Thank you for showing-I wish you would share intimate details,but I know how you mad Doctors are! Wink
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Dr cornelius quack
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« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2013, 09:27:07 pm »

Thanks, chaps.
 
Drew, I've only used Brass and Coppper so far. The flash on the camera does seem to give a very washed out tone to things. I'll try to get some daylight shots soon.

There aren't any intimate details to give, I'm afraid. It's a very straight forward  process and I haven't done anything sneaky or clever to get the results I have.

Sorry!!  Grin
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Drew P
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« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2013, 11:42:38 pm »

Ah,now I see that's it's copper=my damned smart-ass-toaster phone makes it look silvery.

No secrets,aye? Well then would you be able to restate your multi etch process again. Maybe using pics or a drawing?
I have difficulty visualizing the wording of the process-like those paragraph word tests back in school. All I usually need is an image and 'voila'.
In other words,which masks were on to start the first timing,then which were removed or added the second timing,etc.?
(I just reread that and it's still not clear Embarrassed)

To me,those are kind of like secrets. Smiley

Sorry to beg,but I do appreciate your help!
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Dr cornelius quack
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« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2013, 12:21:58 am »

Oh? Right.

For the first  twenty minutes, only the narrow oval band round the letters and the decoration in the corners was exposed to the etch bath.
Then I took the masking off the central area and etched for another twenty.
Finally the  rectangular border  mask was removed and given the same time.
The letters where masked the whole time.
The outside rectangle was the size of the mask so that the plate round the edge was uncovered for the whole process.
When the plate is new it has a mirror polished finish and any parts that are covered right through the etching stay like that. Those sections that are etched away develop a rougher texture as the different areas of plate react at varying speeds to the current.
Also, as you remove the mask sections, the sharp edges of the cut are smoothed out to leave a more curved boundary between the levels.

Hope this helps.

More photos soon
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Drew P
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« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2013, 05:30:28 am »

Yes,that's what I was looking for,thank you so much!
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IGetPwnedOften
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« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2013, 12:27:20 am »

That's fantastic. I don't have any practical use for etching, but I might just have to give it a go anyway.
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« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2013, 03:56:23 am »

Marvellous work old chap!
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Dr cornelius quack
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« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2013, 04:17:14 pm »

Starting to get quite good at this now.

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Dr cornelius quack
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« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2013, 09:39:31 pm »

A name plate for Quack Towers.

One tries to be welcoming.

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Maets
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« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2013, 03:08:21 am »

Really like the second one.
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