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Jumper K. Balls
Jumper K. Balls PowerDork
8/8/17 11:06 a.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: Hey Keith. If you don't mind me asking, what font is that? Hand-drawn. The Fender and Deluxe are off vintage tweed-era amps converted to vector, the "Tweed" was created out of Twin-Amp and bits of others. The "Fender Tweed Royal" was more work, Royal was pretty much created from scratch.

Well poop. I guess I am off to look through font catalogs. Thanks

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/8/17 11:30 a.m.

"Brush Script" is pretty good. It flows better than the real thing does, actually looks less amateur.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/9/17 7:10 p.m.

A bit more Royal action. I've been also playing with toner transfer today, and it's been kicking my butt. Once I figure out why, I'll report

But here's a discovery. I apologize for the image quality, but I had these freckles in the etched part of some of my attempts.

This is the same part - but I had rubbed it clean with my thumb while doing a mid-etch inspection. So on large surface area etches like this, it's important to clean the surface off occasionally.

The finished part. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Just enough flaws to make it clear it's not machine made This particular part had a wire-brushed surface instead of the sanded one I've been using, just to see if I could make it more consistent. I'm not sure that's the best choice, because it's easy to really dig into the aluminum. I'll bet bead blasting would look similar, hmm. So far, my favorite finish has been hand-sanded with scotchbrite pads.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/10/17 10:48 a.m.

I've been talking to some of the right people, and apparently the undercutting and deep etching along the long edges are due to localized aluminum buildup in the water. This increases the conductivity and thus the speed of cutting in that area. The solution is "stir more".

Apparently this also happens with film development.

Jumper K. Balls
Jumper K. Balls PowerDork
8/10/17 9:54 p.m.

Sounds like a job for a cheap submersible aquarium pump. I used to use one in my zinc plating rig before I got a lab style magnetic stirrer.

Jumper K. Balls
Jumper K. Balls PowerDork
8/10/17 9:55 p.m.

Do you happen to have a brother laser printer?

I do and am told that is why my toner transfer experiments have failed.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/11/17 8:27 a.m.

No, it's something else. HP? Anyhow, I'm going to do toner backed up with a vinyl mask for the next try. It'll be difficult to align but should get rid of the freckling. I suspect that nail polish would work well too. The toner looks like it applies properly, it just doesn't seal.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
8/11/17 8:45 a.m.

Im really intrigued by the nail polish idea! I was just thinking about making a plaque for my house that had the house numbers and "Est. 2015" or the like. I was starting to plan out making a pattern to mold and cast in brass, but now this!

paranoid_android74
paranoid_android74 UltraDork
8/29/17 11:31 a.m.

Oh man, here I go down another rabbit hole!

Thank you for the great description on this process Keith- I think I will give it a shot too.

Any additional info on the off gassing from the process?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/29/17 4:22 p.m.

As far as I can tell, it's pure H2 and O2. You could bottle the latter and use it as a little pick-me-up, and blow up the former.

I've just ordered a cheap aquarium pump to keep stirring the mix as I etch things. I can't test for a few weeks, but I'm hoping that will get rid of the uneven depth and the freckles I saw on my big area etchings. Haven't had the chance to play with the toner recently - I've been out of town every weekend for the past month and that's not going to change for September.

EastCoastMojo
EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
1/29/18 10:20 a.m.

Thanks for the great write up on this Keith, I'm going to have to try this soon!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/29/18 10:52 a.m.

Followup: I did test with the aquarium pump. It did help, making the etching a bit more consistent. I haven't gone any further with toner...yet.

I did cross the streams and tried anodizing an etched piece, it gave nice contrast between the etched and unetched areas which is interesting.

EastCoastMojo
EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
1/29/18 11:31 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Hey Keith, just curious if you are still using the Roland Stika 15" for cutting the vinyl for these projects, and if so are you still happy with it? I am thinking this project might just be the excuse I've been looking for to take the plunge and buy a vinyl cutter, but I don't need large output size & I want something reasonably affordable but decent quality. You had mentioned the Roland in this thread a while back, and the Roland brand seems to get high marks for quality. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/29/18 2:52 p.m.

Still using it happily. Unfortunately, the plug-in that links Illustrator to the native CutStudio software hasn't been updated and no longer works, but I have workarounds.

We've used it to sticker up multiple race cars and even do the sign on the side of the building. It paid for itself years ago.

EastCoastMojo
EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
1/29/18 2:58 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Cool, thanks! Hopefully I can score one like it on the list of craig laugh

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
1/30/18 11:46 a.m.

This is so cool. Now I'm thinking of projects that this could be useful with...

grover
grover Reader
1/30/18 2:56 p.m.

Hey Keith, 

It's been a while since my chemistry days, but it seems that the salt water solution would be an issue given the tendency to form metal hydroxides.  I'd suggest using an aluminum solution instead.  Or possibly using a few small buckets of saltwater, say 3, that you progressively etch in.  That would help with the precipitate issues.  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/31/18 5:50 p.m.

A friend pointed me towards this video. It shows two things: first, how to do a good toner mask; and second, why I'd much rather deal with water than acid! It's worth the watch. Check out how he floats the brass upside down to let the removed material fall out.

 

RicardoMcGraw
RicardoMcGraw
2/2/18 12:57 a.m.

It is really interesting and easy too, Thanks for sharing this, electro etching of metal at home DIY is a great idea so that we can try something new and make something creative out of it.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
7/9/18 5:55 a.m.

Keith, roughly how deep are the etched areas in your photos of the 'select o matic'?

I have an idea I want to etch onto a plate, but I'm not sure what thickness I should be starting with.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/9/18 9:11 a.m.

Not deep at all. I'll see if I can measure it tonight, but it'll be measured in thousanths of an inch. Those Fender badges were 1/8" stock.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
7/9/18 9:22 a.m.

Cool.  I was wondering if I could get away with etching a 0.040"-0.060" panel.  Looks like it will work.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/9/18 9:27 a.m.

Comfortably.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
7/19/18 8:40 p.m.

I'm doing my first test right now.

Its very slow, but I suspect my battery has something to do with.  Old motorcycle battery that I believe has a flaky cell in it (voltage will range from 1 to 9 to 11.  Usually drops pretty bad once you load it).

I might snag a bigger battery from the junkyard this weekend for the intended project:

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/19/18 9:22 p.m.

Cool!

The amount of salt in the water will make a difference to speed. Faster is more gratifying but harder to control. 

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