It's been a long time I wanted to etch metal plates and objects. I'm used to etching electronic PCBs for 15 years using ferrochloride acid, however I wanted to experiment with galv-etching, greener and safer.
Plus you can etch brass, copper, tin and even aluminium (non anodized)
This is my first attempt, a saber shaped USB flash disk I custom machined for a friend. Masking made with electrical tape and a DALO pen. Next time, I'll make a UV photo sensitive mask revealed with Soda, just like I do PCBs.
►Etching at 4V / 2A, raw aluminum cathode plate. The tube edges and inside have been sealed with silicone caps I got with my powder coating kit.
►Close up of the result. Masking layer defects, the DALO ink has some limits in the slightly acididy of the ecthing solution. Also, the bubbles can't lead to paint chipping. The photo sensitive making technique will provide WAY better results, since I've been able to etch 150 µm wide traces on hand made PCBs. Next project will be etching some brass plates to make notebooks with a custom cover.
►Hey, much better in a little box !
First attempt on stainless steel with salted water. I use the same technique as Jake Von Slatt (steampunk workshop) with some disposable tissues to avoid immerging the flask. Problem, though... the resist mask didn't resist to the etching process :-(
►With some polishing with my buffing wheel, it's slightly better but not acceptable. The wooden box on the side of the flask is the "smart ass box". The logo is in cooper, I used ultra thin 0.4 mm PCB. It's been polished and fixed with a clear coat to avoid copper oxidation.
A very special present (2GB polished aluminium thumb drive). An opportunity to test a resist mask made with a paint pen (fine tip) like the one used for autographs. I'm done with the Dalo pens.
[12/2010] I received my new photo film. My first use has been an engraved brass foil for a hand made leather bound sketchbook I crafted as a christmas gift for a friend of mine.