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loneronin

etching tests

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well, i spent some time to test my etching kit and these are the results.

 

first of all let me introduce you my kit:

 

a - the transformer (I tested 5 of them)

b - 3 office clip (1 medium and 2 small size)

c - a scrap wire

d - a small electrolyte container to wet the pad

e - a piece of wood to support the pad

f - the pad (toilet paper)

g - the electrolyte (I tested some combinations)

h - stencils/scotch to mask the blade

2577664314_53cd4613ae_b.jpg

 

the pad assembled:

2577664612_8a4911645e_b.jpg

 

I used a piece of stainless stell I found in the scrap pile as blade, with some sand paper I make it even and I clean it with alcohol. and these are the results I obtained with the following combinations:

2576832287_9cdc05836a_b.jpg

 

1 - output: DC, 5V, 2,40amp; electrolyte: warm water and salt; pole + to the blade, pole - to the pad; etching time: 25 min; no stencil/mask/pad damage

 

2 - output: DC, 5V, 2,40amp; electrolyte: distilled water and salt; pole + to the blade, pole - to the pad; etching time: 25 min; then I inverted the poles: pole + to the pad, pole – to the blade; etching time: 12 min; no stencil/mask/pad damage

 

3 - output: DC, 5V, 2,40amp; electrolyte: vinegar, lemon juice and salt; pole + to the blade, pole - to the pad; etching time: 25 min; no stencil/mask/pad damage

 

4 - output: DC, 20V, 3,25amp; distilled water and salt; pole + to the blade, pole - to the pad; etching time: 12 min; some stencil/mask damage, pad a little carbonized

 

5 - output: AC, 12V, 1,00amp; distilled water and salt; pole + to the blade, pole - to the pad; etching time: 12 min; some stencil/mask damage, pad a little carbonized

 

6 - output: DC, 5,7V, 0,80amp; sulfuric acid (from an old car battery); pole + to the blade, pole - to the pad; etching time: 15 min; no stencil/mask/pad damage

 

7 - output: DC, 12V, 1,25amp; sulfuric acid (from an old car battery); pole + to the blade, pole - to the pad; etching time: 15 min; some stencil/mask damage, pad carbonized

 

8 - output: DC, 5V, 2,40amp; sulfuric acid (from an old car battery); pole + to the blade, pole - to the pad; etching time: 15 min; no stencil/mask/pad damage

 

9 - output: DC, 20V, 3,25amp; sulfuric acid (from an old car battery); pole + to the blade, pole - to the pad; etching time: 6,5 min; stencil/mask damage, pad carbonized

 

I would like to make other tests but my conclusion, not surprisingly, are:

 

use 5V, 2,5amp DC output (the higher the V the higher the temperature)

to get a deep etching use quite long etching-time

to get a black etching use an AC output

press your stencil/mask to let them paste well to your blade to avoid deburrings

water and salt is enough for a deep and sharp mark-etching

Edited by loneronin

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Thanks for the interesting experiment. I have a box full of those transformers, what a great idea.

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I think you may have your polarities backwards. To deep etch, the (-) electrode clips to the blade (or material to be etched) and the (+) electrode goes to the etching pad.

The reasoning is that in Direct Current (DC) electrons flow from negative to positive. This is what causes metal particles to be removed from the metal and deposited on the etching pad.

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I think you may have your polarities backwards. To deep etch, the (-) electrode clips to the blade (or material to be etched) and the (+) electrode goes to the etching pad.

The reasoning is that in Direct Current (DC) electrons flow from negative to positive. This is what causes metal particles to be removed from the metal and deposited on the etching pad.

 

I don't agree...

 

http://www.navaching.com/forge/etching.html

http://www.engnath.com/public/manframe.htm

 

everybody says to attach the blade to the positive pole and the pad to the negative pole to get a deep etch.

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I don't agree...

 

http://www.navaching.com/forge/etching.html

http://www.engnath.com/public/manframe.htm

 

everybody says to attach the blade to the positive pole and the pad to the negative pole to get a deep etch.

 

 

http://www.chriscrawfordknives.com/cck/Etc...ial/Default.asp

 

The article in your first link says this: "You’ll see bubbles emanating from the bare strip (cathode -). If they’re coming off the sprayed strip (anode +) then reverse the leads."

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http://www.chriscrawfordknives.com/cck/Etc...ial/Default.asp

 

The article in your first link says this: "You’ll see bubbles emanating from the bare strip (cathode -). If they’re coming off the sprayed strip (anode +) then reverse the leads."

 

:blink: mainly the article says:

 

"Metal attached to the positive (+) pole will be etched." This should be the blade in my case, the sprayed strip in his one

"Metal attached to the negative (-) pole will produce bubbles." This should be the pad, the bare strip in his one

 

...but I will make a new test to check if I can get a deeper etch reversing the poles

Edited by loneronin

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I just tested my etcher.

 

I connected the positive to the metal and the negative to the wand and I effectively plated copper (from the wire) onto the metal. No etching.

 

then

 

I connected the negative to the metal and positive to the wand (like you are supposed to) and was able to deep etch just fine. I'll upload some pictures later. Looks like I found a pretty cool way to plate copper onto steel without using a copper sulfate solution. Hmm.. I wonder if it would work even better if I did use copper sulfate as the etching medium. I'll try that later.

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I just tested my etcher.

 

I connected the positive to the metal and the negative to the wand and I effectively plated copper (from the wire) onto the metal. No etching.

 

then

 

I connected the negative to the metal and positive to the wand (like you are supposed to) and was able to deep etch just fine. I'll upload some pictures later. Looks like I found a pretty cool way to plate copper onto steel without using a copper sulfate solution. Hmm.. I wonder if it would work even better if I did use copper sulfate as the etching medium. I'll try that later.

 

I just made a test inverting poles. I attached the negative to the blade and the positive to the pad. no etching at all. then I attach the positive to the blade and the negative to the pad and I etched. For me it works this way....

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I just made a test inverting poles. I attached the negative to the blade and the positive to the pad. no etching at all. then I attach the positive to the blade and the negative to the pad and I etched. For me it works this way....

 

 

Can you post a close-up picture of how you have your wires connected to your power supply and then how they are wire to the pad?

By simple electronics I can tell you that electrons move from negative to positive. This is what causes the etching. If you still don't believe me I'll post a video of me using my etcher. I attach the negative lead to the blade, and the positive lead to the etching pad.

 

I switched them last night and AGAIN, got copper plated onto the steel. Unfortunately, I'm all out of windex, so I couldn't test how well copper sulfate would work.

My etcher also uses more current than yours does, so I'm able to etch pretty fast.

Edited by MrBaz

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Can you post a close-up picture of how you have your wires connected to your power supply and then how they are wire to the pad?

By simple electronics I can tell you that electrons move from negative to positive. This is what causes the etching. If you still don't believe me I'll post a video of me using my etcher. I attach the negative lead to the blade, and the positive lead to the etching pad.

 

I switched them last night and AGAIN, got copper plated onto the steel. Unfortunately, I'm all out of windex, so I couldn't test how well copper sulfate would work.

My etcher also uses more current than yours does, so I'm able to etch pretty fast.

 

in the first pic you can see the kit with the connections done and you can also see the tag on the transformer saying the positive pole is inside the jack and the negative is outside the jack. the double wire I use has a white wire and a white-red wire.

I attach one end of the white-red inside the jack and the other end to the blade; one end of the white outside the jack and the other end to the clip holding the pad.

 

but I think it is ok if we can etch in different ways :lol:

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in the first pic you can see the kit with the connections done and you can also see the tag on the transformer saying the positive pole is inside the jack and the negative is outside the jack. the double wire I use has a white wire and a white-red wire.

I attach one end of the white-red inside the jack and the other end to the blade; one end of the white outside the jack and the other end to the clip holding the pad.

 

but I think it is ok if we can etch in different ways :lol:

 

Here are some pics of the test I did last night.

 

From left to right:

 

Reversed polarity - plated copper to the steel (strong sodium chloride electrolyte solution - will try copper sulfate when I get a chance)

deep etch then marking etch - weak electrolyte solution

deep etch - weak electrolyte solution

deep then mark - test electrolyte solution (it sucked)

deep then mark - strong electrolyte solution

marking etch only - strong electrolyte solution

deep etch only - strong electrolyte solution

etching.jpg

etching2.jpg

Edited by MrBaz

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I have been using this method a good while.I found a computer power supply offers cleaner current and the etch is crisper.

etching

 

 

In that article he says to attach the negative wire to the Qtip, but the picture obviously shows the yellow wire, which is the 12v POSITIVE wire.

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In electroplating, the work piece is the cathode (negative electrode). The electrolyte donates metal, which is plated onto the cathode, and is then replaced by metal stripped from anode. If you don't believe me, look it up.

 

Electroetching is the reverse of electroplating. Therefore, the work piece must be the anode (positive electrode). Metal flows off the anode and onto the cathode (or the fiber pad connected to the cathode). This is how the etching process removes material. Therefore, in electroetching the work piece must be the anode, and the etching pad must be connected to the cathode (negative terminal).

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In that article he says to attach the negative wire to the Qtip, but the picture obviously shows the yellow wire, which is the 12v POSITIVE wire.

 

 

The yellow wire was added to a black wire to lengthen it.

Ive also made a etching block from a carbon motor brush and felt for a pad since then.Cuts the corrosion you get on the wire.

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In electroplating, the work piece is the cathode (negative electrode). The electrolyte donates metal, which is plated onto the cathode, and is then replaced by metal stripped from anode. If you don't believe me, look it up.

 

Electroetching is the reverse of electroplating. Therefore, the work piece must be the anode (positive electrode). Metal flows off the anode and onto the cathode (or the fiber pad connected to the cathode). This is how the etching process removes material. Therefore, in electroetching the work piece must be the anode, and the etching pad must be connected to the cathode (negative terminal).

 

 

Then explain how my electro etcher is operating.

 

Negative attached to the blade, positive to the etching pad (DC obviously). I'm REMOVING material from the blade. If I reverse the polarity, I end up with copper plating that portion of the blade.

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I assume you have somehow reversed the polarity without realizing it.

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I assume you have somehow reversed the polarity without realizing it.

 

 

It would have to be internally in the etching box. I'll check it out with the voltmeter just in case.

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Surely enough. My polarity got backwards somehow. Sorry about the massive confusion.

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Surely enough. My polarity got backwards somehow. Sorry about the massive confusion.

 

Whew! Glad we got that figured out. :)

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Whew! Glad we got that figured out. :)

 

 

I know, I know. -_-

 

I did find something else out though. I need to put in a CLC circuit in my etcher in order to get the smoothed out DC that you get from a computer power supply.

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I know, I know. -_-

 

I did find something else out though. I need to put in a CLC circuit in my etcher in order to get the smoothed out DC that you get from a computer power supply.

 

Normally I just use a 6V lantern battery. Last night I used my portable jump starter/DC power supply for a test run, since my lantern battery was dead.

 

Crude, I know. But it works surprisingly well!

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Normally I just use a 6V lantern battery. Last night I used my portable jump starter/DC power supply for a test run, since my lantern battery was dead.

 

Crude, I know. But it works surprisingly well!

 

 

Using a dedicated etching machine is more reliable. I can get a reliable amount of current from it (unlike a battery). I just need to add in the CLC circuit in order to get the same type of DC output you would get in an old computer power supply.

That and I can switch between AC and DC at the flip of switch.

 

I'm surprised that the original plans never included this. The ripple current from the AC->DC is pretty serious. A simply CLC circuit will take care of that and give me a super smooth battery-like DC output.

Edited by MrBaz

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... some other test results.

 

I follwed some ads like use a real felt and not toilet paper on the pad, put a piece of stainless steel plate under the felt, etche small areas and try shorter etching time with higher voltage.

 

2608250838_e7e992f41b_b.jpg

 

1 - 9 - see post #1 of this thread

 

10 - output: DC, 5V, 2,40amp; distilled water and salt; pole + to the blade, pole - to the pad (felt); etching time: 30 min; no stencil/mask/pad damage

 

11 - output: DC, 5V, 2,40amp; distilled water and salt; pole + to the blade, pole - to the pad (felt); etching time: 10 min; no stencil/mask/pad damage

 

12 - output: DC, 5V, 2,40amp; distilled water and salt; pole + to the blade, pole - to the pad (felt); etching time: 5 min; no stencil/mask/pad damage

 

13 - output: DC, 20V, 3,25amp; sulfuric acid (from an old car battery); pole + to the blade, pole - to the pad (felt); etching time: 5 min; no stencil/mask/pad damage

 

14 - output: DC, 20V, 3,25amp; sulfuric acid (from an old car battery); pole + to the blade, pole - to the pad (felt); etching time: 3/4 sec on - 5 sec off 10 times; no stencil/mask/pad damage

 

15 - output: DC, 20V, 3,25amp; distilled water and salt; pole + to the blade, pole - to the pad (felt); etching time: 3/4 sec on - 5 sec off for 5 min; stencil/mask/pad damaged

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here it is my first "real" etching on the blade of a stake-knife.

2638917888_4623d62142_b.jpg

I used the DC output to etch deep: 5V, 2,40amp, water and salt as electrolyte, pole + to the blade, pole - to the pad (felt over a stainless steel plate) for 10 min, then I changed the transformer to blacken the etch AC, 12V, 1,00amp, same electrolyte for 2 min.

I like the result but next time I'll etch in AC with longer rests to let the blade and the stencil better cool down as I noticed some stencil damage and some little black scrubs also over the letters.

moreover on my knives I'll use smaller font, maybe 3mm (these are 5mm)

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