etching aluminum plate

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Old 04-22-05, 03:11 PM
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Talking etching aluminum plate

I am beginning to try a few experiments with etching aluminum 1/4 " plate. My intention is to apply several coats of spar varnish to the working surface of the aluminum plate, as a protective cover. Once the varnish has fully dried, A design will then be scratched into the varnish coating, exposing the aluminum surface underneath. I hope to apply (brush on) a corrosive substance to the aluminum where it has been exposed as the result of the surface having been scratched and the varnish removed. The corrosive substance ( ie:acid ) would then chemically etch the surface of the aluminum plate where the varnish has been removed. Perhaps, someone could let me know what would be the most effective corrosive agent for working with aluminum, while allowing me to control the depth and extent of the etching action. I know that Lee Valley Tools of Ottawa, Canada, sells a kit for working a similar process but using glass as the medium to be etched. That process works very well with glass, so there's no reason why it wouldn't work with aluminum. Any help would be appreciated. Thanx in advance. Dugald
 
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Old 04-22-05, 07:50 PM
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You could achieve the same effect with an airbrush equipped with a sandblaster attachment. You just mask off the areas you do not want affected. I do this with mirrors. Good luck.
 
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Old 04-23-05, 12:28 PM
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Lightbulb etching aluminum plate

That's a very interesting suggestion !!! It happens that I also have a compressor driven air-brush, which I used, for many years, as a Photographic Retoucher & restorer tool. I wonder if I could adapt this setup to accomodate your approach to etching a design in to aluminum plate. I would be very appreciative were you to provide me with more details of the process which you described briefly in your reply to my original request for assistance. Thanx in advance
 
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Old 04-23-05, 02:08 PM
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I started with using masking tape and cutting my design out. Then using the airbrush with sandblasting attachment. After a while, I started using clear contact paper and cutting my designs with an exacto knife. I have even used clear plastic page holders for 4 to 5 uses with the sandblaster. The airbrush gives me much better control so I use less material for my stencils. Good luck.
 
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Old 04-25-05, 10:27 PM
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In hi-school. we used wax then scraped in a design thru the wax.
I don't remember the type of acid we used.
Be very-very careful some acids can boil-up instantly in your face when mixed or just making contact with something's, that includes water and metals.
Ask an expert before using acids.
 
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Old 04-26-05, 05:12 AM
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I would be concerned about any etching liquid going beyond the scraped area between the masking material and the base aluminum. Either when the etch is applied or when it is rinsed off. If the etch is sufficiently deep, the vertical walls of the etched area could erode outward beyond the edge of the masking material. There is not a practical way to protect the edges to avoid this.
The dry abrasive process should produce better definition at the boundary, only cutting vertically.
 
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Old 04-27-05, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by majakdragon
You could achieve the same effect with an airbrush equipped with a sandblaster attachment. You just mask off the areas you do not want affected. I do this with mirrors. Good luck.
where did you buy it?? or brand ???
 
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Old 04-27-05, 06:15 AM
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Mine is a Paasche brand. I bought the double action as I like to be able to use just air in some applications when spraying paint. They are available at most hobby stores. My sand attachment is the same brand. Good luck.
 
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