Etching has been around for hundreds of years and is now as popular as ever! Instructor Aisha Formanski will teach you the basics of etching copper, brass and nickel silver with ferric chloride. If you can draw the design, she will show you how to preserve it in metal forever! She covers how to; clean your metal, resists, etching safely and finishing your pieces. This technique offers endless design options.
This class has a run time of 15 minutes.
We DO NOT recommend etching aluminum. Pewter is a good metal for etching, though it only needs to sit in the solution for ~10 minutes.
I know the PCB won't work on sterling but will it work on aluminum?
First after I rub the metal with an abrasive (steel wool or those 3M pads) I place it on a coffee filter. These are non-lint and even cotton fibers will not allow the resist to adhere properly.
Second I take another coffee filter and dip in denatured alcohol and rub the surface to be etched with it until it is squeaky clean. From this point on DO NOT TOUCH THE ETCHING SURFACE WITH YOUR FINGERS AT ALL. The oils on your fingers will prevent the resist from adhering properly to the metal. ONLY handle it on the edges from this point on. Also the oils may create some resist and you wont get a clean etch.
I also use duct tape instead of packing tape. It sticks on until you take it off and works better than packing tape.
I have a large plastic tray that I use to place the etching container on. I bought a small plastic aquarium pump and attached it to one end of the tray with some velcro. Then when I go to etch, I lean the empty etching container up against the pump with some duct tape. I add the etching solution and then turn on the pump. The vibration automatically makes the etched metal fall from the piece and gives a cleaner etch. It also makes it etch a little faster. I usually dont have to etch for more than 20 minutes for base metal. Adding a teaspoon of citric acid powder (health food store or pharmacy) to the etchant also makes it go much faster.
Get yourself some 1" thick styrofoam and cut them into about 2x2" pieces with a craft knife. You will also need double sided tape. After you get your piece ready to etch, stick the piece with the back side to the foam with the double sided tape so that the piece can float in the etchant. Make sure you do not have any air bubbles on the surface as you put the piece, face down, into the etchant. Then you dont have to suspend the piece across the container.