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Blake McFarland

Want to metal etch, but all modern Battery jump starters won't work. What to use?

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I am very new to knife making and I want to try metal etching. It seems almost everyone uses car battery chargers. I have already went to 3 different stores and have tried 4 different battery chargers. They will not work because in order for them to give an output they need to sense the alligator clamps on an actual battery with minimal charge. Is there any specific battery charger that you can purchase new that works? What If I just get a regular car battery and alligator clam from that? 

I have looked on craigslist and all the various sites and cannot seem to find an old one. 

 

Any insight will help.

Thank you!

 

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Interesting......planned to do the same, and I strongly suspect my el cheapo will have the same issue.

I'll open mine up and see what I can see ;)

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You can indeed just use a battery.  Of course, then you'll need a charger anyway... ;)

Radio Shack used to have a book called "building power supplies" that was pretty good.  I built the supply for an electrolysis tank from those plans, and you could probaby etch with it as well.  It's been 24 years since I did that, I should see if I can find it...

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Does anyone know if an electric fence charger would work? If so, there are two types - continuous and pulsed. Would one work better than the other?

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2 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

You can indeed just use a battery.  Of course, then you'll need a charger anyway... ;)

Radio Shack used to have a book called "building power supplies" that was pretty good.  I built the supply for an electrolysis tank from those plans, and you could probaby etch with it as well.  It's been 24 years since I did that, I should see if I can find it...

Haha I know! Sometimes technology just sucks! I ended up getting a small Alarm Battery. Waiting for it in the mail. I will give an update once I try it. I wish radio shacks were around still. 

57 minutes ago, dragoncutlery said:

Thank you this will help for sure. I like the plug and play option. I will try that if my battery fails. Thanks for the info!

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I made mine from parts I got off of Amazon. Switchable between AC and DC using a tapped transformer for either 6v or 12v output. If you are comfortable with electrical work I can post the scematic and parts list.  Just keep in mind when you use a transformer to lower the voltage the amperage goes up, and when it comes to electricity it's the amperage that will do you in. 

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Update: I ended up buying this smaller battery off amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0010Z4MDK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The only thing you need is a cheap battery charger to re-charge it once it dies. 

I would recommend this as a cheap starter kit for metal etching. For my first metal etch I did this axe head. I spent about 15 minutes on both sides to get the etch, however after taking off the vinyl I realized I should have worked on both sides for around 30 minutes to get the etch I wanted. I ended up going over the etch with a rotary tool to make it a little deeper. 

 

IMG_3484.jpg

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While I haven't used it yet, I have a strong suspicion that my vintage electric model train controller should work very well for doing metal etching.  It's not a collectible name brand unit, so I have no qualms repurposing it.  It even has a variable power control and "forward/reverse", so polarity and power changes should be easy.  Just have to dig it out of the "saved for I don't know what pile"...

Anybody use anything like that for metal etching before?

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I built this one.  works great...  might need to be creative on sourcing parts:

https://chriscrawfordknives.com/tutorials/written-tutorials/electro-etcher/page-1/

Or just skip all the fancy parts and hard wire everything.  Most important parts are the transformer, bridge rectifier and the switches.   

maybe mouser or digikey if radio shack is dead for the fancy parts.

I've used this unit for a while and am very pleased with it.  I originally used it with salt water for an etching solution, but found that it blew fuses often when I held the lead down longer than a couple seconds.   That could be cuz of the way I built the lead. Since then, I've been using an electrolyte solution provided by the people that make my stencils.  http://www.img-electromark.com/     Their deep etching solution has worked Great for me so far.  No blown fuses.

Hope that helps...

 

Edited by Bruno

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