View Full Version : Etching: questions and suggestions

jedi jack
10-12-2015, 12:29 PM
Hello, I am drafting a new saber and would love to try to do some etching on it. Does anyone have a good recommendation on what chemicals or solutions to use to etch a saber? What is needed for this? Any good processes that you guys have used? Also, Which would be easier to etch: chrome sink tubing or aluminum? Any info on this would be appreciated!

10-12-2015, 01:12 PM
There are some links in this thread that might answer your questions.

10-13-2015, 04:44 AM
I followed the instructions for saltwater etch here, with good results. http://forums.thecustomsabershop.com/showthread.php?13430-ARKM-s-Saltwater-Etching-Tutorial&highlight=saltwater+etch

jedi jack
10-14-2015, 10:58 PM
Thanks for the links guys!

08-23-2016, 05:29 PM
EDIT: I forgot to note the thread date, unintentional thread necro'd this. Figure advice can't hurt.

I'd love to add my input here- I've been etching a lot since I started this addiction/hobby.

The Design:
-Double check the stencil/adhesive backed paper, lest ye end up with full sheet shipping labels; get REMOVABLE, full-sheet/printer paper sized labels.

-Make a copy (scan/photo) of every stencil you make- one could just be too good to not reproduce!

-If you sell an etched saber, watch plagiarism.

Saltwater Etching:
-Safety Gear: Chem-Splash goggles, disposable rubber gloves that are scratch-resistant, a work space with good airflow (Such as outside). I highly recommend a respirator as well. Do NOT skimp out and buy low-quality safety gear. Low quality safety gear is low quality protection.

-Master Kill-Switch for the process (If electro-etching). Period.

-A place to store used brine, and a place to safely dispose of it.

-Read the guides that have been linked, and then read them again.

Power Supply:
-D-cell batteries are great and all, but once you start etching you may find it a little addictive! There are AC to DC power devices that have saved me so much cash in batteries. When using these, ensure the right fuse is being used and NEVER, EVER leave the etching process unsupervised, even with a single d-cell. Check battery/device temperature.

-Be aware of the off-gassing. Chlorine and (Hydrogen, I want to say?) are created in small amounts and are noticeable as small whips of vapor when there is little airflow. Don't stand over your etching brine/etc. I like the respirator as it allows me to etch an entire hilt/shroud at once.

-Use filtered/purified water, and kosher/non iodized salt. I've found it improves the quality of the etch.

I have yet to try acid etching, though I'm HEAVILY looking into it for a faster etch. Anyhow, those are a few things that helped me out over some etches.

08-27-2016, 04:54 PM
I use acid etching using ferric chloride (pcb etchant) with PNP blue as a resist. I like the results it gives me and doesn't require electricity. But it is a strong acid so care is to be taken. Gloves, glasses are a must. Also I use a 50/50 acid water mix. You can also save your solution and use it over and over again and when it gets a little weak you can bump it up again with more acid. It does put off some hydrogen gas so you want to not do it in you closet lol. It does stain as well, so watch what you set it on. I have multiple brown stains on my garage floor from just a few drops of acid here and there. Be prepared with your water bath incase you need to stop the etch in a hurry, some times it can get away from you if your not paying attention. It also puts off a little heat so don't be surprised by that. I'm sure there are in depth tutorials on the forums.