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Hello All. Not sure how many of you use a design drawn on steel but that's at least how i'm starting out. I have a drawing on paper. I've tried pencil on steel - no go. I've tried carbon paper onto steel - no go. I'm not a freehand kinda guy. How do I get my design from paper onto steel?

 

Thank You. John

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I use blue layout fluid to put a layer on the steel, then use a carbide-tipped scriber to etch on the design (looks a lot like a pencil, but with a carbide tip instead of graphite)

 

Amazon.com: Dykem 80300 Steel Blue Layout Fluid, Brush-in-Cap (4oz): Industrial & Scientific

 

Amazon.com: 6 Pieces Engraving Pen Tip Scriber Includes 2 Tungsten Carbide Scribers with Magnet, 2 Double Head Scribers and 2 Replacement Tip, Metal Etching Engraving Pen for Metal Glass Ceramics Stone Wood: Home Improvement

 

It ends up looking like this:

2.jpg

Edited by Ted Stocksdale
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I really like that design. especially in blue! I was trying to transfer directly from the paper. My scribe obviously just tore the paper. Then a stroke of genius! Taped paper to steel and used a new razor blade. It worked but I would like something better. I might look into this layout fluid. Thanks Ted!

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You can't see all the layout dots very well, but what I did was measure the distances from the center and scribe a little dot at a number of locations: then it's just a game of "connect the dots".

 

You can also always just cut the paper shape out and trace around it - the blue doesn't take any pressure to scratch off. 

 

The blue is also nice because to "erase", you just paint some more on over the lines you don't like. 

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Not permanent (you have to go over the lines again with a scribe or such) but:

Clean the steel of all grease. Then rub blue tack along the back of your paper design and put the design face-up on the steel. Retrace you’re design with a hard pencil or such. The grease from the bluetack will create an outline on the steel.

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Is blue tack the same as the blue layout fluid ted mentioned? I like the connect the dots idea, but i really like the use the blue sort of a negative carbon paper effect if that'd be possible. Sort of coat the steel with it. Place my paper over that. Trace the lines with a pen or pencil and have that pressure lift off the blue coat.

 

Thanks a ton! This is really good stuff here. Took about 20 hours to come up with the razor idea. ;)

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I just tried an experiment of tracing through a piece of paper. As long as you draw "dashed" lines (trace a short distance, then pick up the scriber, then another short distance), the paper holds up well enough and the design is visible enough that I could easily "clean up" the lines.

tracing.jpg

 

(I don't have any blue tack, or I'd try that: that sounds nifty)

Edited by Ted Stocksdale
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Two other ideas: When I lay out engraving designs, I paint the surface with white watercolor and let dry, then trace it on with carbon paper.  However, the fast and easy way is to use a laser printer or photocopier and acetone.  Print your design as a mirror image. cut it out, leaving plenty of blank borders. Tape it face down on the steel by the edges. Wipe some acetone over it, just enough to dampen the paper, using a rag or sponge with a decent amount of pressure. Burnish it with a smooth piece of something (i.e. rub a bit of polished steel across it ONCE), then carefully peel the paper off while it's still barely damp.  Instant transfer.  This works best on smoothed surfaces, like say 220 grit.  Note this doesn't work with inkjet, only laser printers AND photocopiers.  With a good copy machine you can also scale it up or down.

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I take the time to make a wood or steel template and use layout fluid to make a tracing.  That way if I want to make another of the same blade I have a way to easily recreate the shape.

 

Another option I see used from time to time on youtube videos is to cut the overall shape out of paper, lay it on your steel, and then go around it with spray paint.  When you remove the template you're left with an unpainted area in the shape of your design.

Edited by Alex Middleton
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All great ideas here gentlemen. Thank you. Ted. That's just what I was hoping for. I'm really going to have to pick up some of that layout fluid.

 

That laser toner trick works with heat as well. Any clothes iron set to low/med takes about 20 seconds to transfer onto copper circuit boards. I used to use this method for etching before I built my cnc mill. I'm sure it will work on steel as well. I really was trying to keep the computer out of this one, but here i am anyways. So I can scan my drawings into the computer, probably bring them into photoshop to tighten them up a bit and come out with clean bold lines to print. Transfer that to the steel and away I go. Just need to nail down the best method for the transfer. I've had acetone completely destroy transfers in the past.

 

Thanks again! I'm off to help with a water heater situation and then and only then can i finally fire up my new mini coal forge. Just built her yesterday. I'll post some pictures later this evening provided I remember.

 

Best, John

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9 hours ago, John Bumbino said:

Is blue tack the same as the blue layout fluid ted mentioned? I like the connect the dots idea, but i really like the use the blue sort of a negative carbon paper effect if that'd be possible. Sort of coat the steel with it. Place my paper over that. Trace the lines with a pen or pencil and have that pressure lift off the blue coat.

 

Thanks a ton! This is really good stuff here. Took about 20 hours to come up with the razor idea. ;)


Blu tack (apparently it has no ‘e’) is a re-usable putty-like substance for sticking posters on walls, etc. Don’t know what it’s called where you are but it must be available from most places that sell stationery.

 

8C86D81F-8864-4D07-9187-DEFAC076942E.jpeg

 

Come to think of it, it would probably work quite well if used to transfer the design onto a dry Dykem surface. I learned the technique on an engraving course.

 

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13 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

However, the fast and easy way is to use a laser printer or photocopier and acetone.

 

This is a really good trick, and it's cheap and easy! On the other hand, it is a bit hit or miss, it smudges quite easily on transfer, and the result is fairly fragile, it'll come off easily. While engraving, it's hard to avoid touching or rubbing the rest of the transfer, and I was rarely able to engrave a whole design before it was gone.

 

If like me you need to do this often, you might want to try this variation. It's a bit more involved, but it gives me much better results (especially since once it's dry, it's extremely resistant, you need acetone or sandpaper to get it off):

 

Take an old laser printer...

 

VBexWY4.jpg

 

Remove its heating rollers (for this printer, I had to solder an equivalent resistor in its place to fool the control circuit, ymmv)...

 

446AQi4.jpg

 

Flip your design horizontally, and print it on transparency paper. Without heating rollers, the toner will not have been fixed, don't touch the print, it'll wipe right off...

 

igV3YRx.jpg

 

Dip a brush in shellac varnish (you only want a tiny amount)...

 

AvfN36K.jpg

 

Paint a very thin layer on the surface you want to transfer to... (it's hard to see on the photo, but it's there)

 

qGrUNOC.jpg

 

Wait a good 5m or 10, depending on your varnish, you want the shellac to be very tacky. Carefully apply the design, lightly burnish.

 

yfKmfJg.jpg

 

Peel, and voila. If you see parts of the transfer that do not grab (like me here, *cough cough*), you didn't wait for the shellac to be tacky enough. You can wipe it off with acetone and try again. I usually print several copies on one sheet just in case I need to redo it but typically I'm happy enough with my first try. This was fine for what I needed here.

 

pRaiibn.jpg

 

You'll be amazed at how resistant it is once dry. I'm thinking it would probably survive a dishwasher cycle... (I'll have to try that! :P)

 

 

 

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You can also just cut out your design, and use some spray adhesive glue to stick the paper right to the steel.

 

3m makes some good strong spray, its sticky as hell and a pain to clean up sometimes.

 

But after you've cut your blade profile, drop the blade in some acetone and the glue & paper come right off.

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blu tak is also sold as tack it, poster putty, sticky stuff or prestik. I buy it as prestik. I know the layout blue as 'engineering blue'.

Edited by Andrew Gillespie
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9 hours ago, Andrew Gillespie said:

blu tak is also sold as tack it, poster putty, sticky stuff or prestik. I buy it as prestik. I know the layout blue as 'engineering blue'.

You know, i was gonna ask that. I was pretty sure it was the same thing. It sure looked the same. Then i figured I'd rather look into it myself and completely forgot. Thank you!

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My first blade totally from scratch. Thanks to all for the tips! Blade is of course 6150. The handle is made of oak i get in large blocks from a local mill. Brass rods are just 1/8" (ordering larger this is all home depot has) getting 1/4 from onlinemetals dot com. Great prices there! Anyways I also used loctite epoxy under the wood. Sanded and polished. Super smooth and super sharp!

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I may be a little late to the party, but I just make a photocopy of my drawing, cut out the blade and superglue the paper to the steel. I glue them to 1/8" flat stock and grind away the excess to create a template that I can use repeatedly. I do this for blades and handles.

7  templates.JPG

Frame templates.JPG

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On 4/14/2021 at 12:05 PM, jake cleland said:

Or you can just use a sharpie. Draw freehand straight onto the steel, or cut out your design and draw round it...

 

Absolutely true, and possibly this is more in the spirit of the original request. I still use cut-outs for simple/large designs (mostly for forging), however for anything small, intricate or that needs to be very precise, none of these methods is very practical. In those cases, and if looking for simplicity, I would use the method Alan suggested (acetone).

 

My method (which I didn't come up with, I read about it at https://www.engravingschool.com/private/transfers.htm) is certainly not easy to get set up with, with all the messing around with the printer's internals, and it probably wouldn't be useful to everyone. Now that I have it available though, I wouldn't ever want to give it up as it gives me better reliability, precision, and durability than anything I had tried before, by far.

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