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matt venier

deep etching high carbon steel

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I was wondering if anyone had any info on deep etching designs (.030" or maybe deeper) on blade type steel. IE what kind of resist to use, acids, ETC. I'd like a way to make this etch repeatable if possible. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

 

Matt

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For something like was done on the blades featured in Lord of the Rings?

For those they would print the designs out as pvc stencils apply to the blades and etch in acid...I think they used a stronger mix to get quicker results but I'd think something like muriatic might work just fine. They did the same for armor. I was told it works great on curved surfaces, but not so much on double curved (sphere like) I'd imagine it'd get difficult to lay the stencil. It'd be like tape on a ball.

 

Since you'd be taking your artwork and most likely having a graphics place that does auto decals print it out, it'd be very repeatable.

I've wanted to play with it myself, but have yet to do so.

I've also wondered about combining it with electroetching.

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Matt, I know when they etch printing plates the resistor is wax. Maybe a wax pencil that you can draw on again and again?

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not sure what kind of etch you are talking aout, but i have used paint...laquer to be exact, but enamel would probably work too...fingernail lauer would work too..you can get some pretty precise patterns by painting it on...when fully dry, its pretty hard, and the etchant wont eat through it.

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not sure what kind of etch you are talking aout, but i have used paint...laquer to be exact, but enamel would probably work too...fingernail lauer would work too..you can get some pretty precise patterns by painting it on...when fully dry, its pretty hard, and the etchant wont eat through it.

 

Yep, paint. I use rustoleum. The detail is only limited by your skill and by the undercutting of the etchant. I've used ferric chloride with great success. A 2-3 hour soak will get you about as deep as it will go - A layer of oxide sludge will build up and stop further etching. If you clean the sludge, you'll remove some paint also, so your done.

 

1) clean the metal with alcohol or acetone

2) paint

3) etch

4) rinse thoroughly with water and baking soda to neutralize the FC and remove sludge

5) remove paint with paint remover

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I've also used ferric chloride as an etchant, and spray lacquer (paint works too) as a resist. I spray the item to be etched being sure to get full coverage, allow to almost dry, then use a scribe to cut through the paint to set up the design. I find if the paint/laquer is completely dry it tends to chip, so I scribe the design before it is completely dry, still just a bit tacky... The piece is left in the etchant for a few hours (1 1/2 hours is my usual, adjusted by temperature and steel type), and a fairly deep etch is achieved.

 

Ken Durham demonstrated a method using an aquarium pump to give a constant spray of etchant... the advantage was what takes hours if it is soaked took only minutes with the spray. The spray tends to wash away the oxides as they form resulting in a much faster etch. Using this setup, with a good durable resist, might well result in a much deeper etch being possible.

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