Enclosure Etching techniques

Frequent question about finishing your stompbox: painting, etching, clearcoating, lettering, etc...
jimosity
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Post by jimosity »

I've been etching my PCBs with a 3:1 ratio of Hydrogen Peroxide and Muratic Acid and it's nice and clean and does a great job for PCBs - but I've been wondering if I could do boxes with it as well. Maybe I'll give it a shot on my next build.

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kierc
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Post by kierc »

lol at the spam, tried to report it but someone already has?

Anyway, forgot about this post until now, so I thought I'd post my enclosure etch.. was my first time etching - hadn't even etched a pcb before! I'm really happy with the result though :D
Image
Image

The back had a layer of clear coat on it (some plastikote something), but I didn't like it so I didn't continue and left the top as is

Will definateley do it again sometime!

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Post by cacophony »

ei guys, check this out:
Image
I just used high quality glossy paper in doing the transfer. Just take note that the print must be done through a laser printer or a powder photo copier. It's a lot cheaper than using laser photo paper or Press 'n Peel! :D

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Post by Dallas »

cacophony wrote:ei guys, check this out:
Image
I just used high quality glossy paper in doing the transfer. Just take note that the print must be done through a laser printer or a powder photo copier. It's a lot cheaper than using laser photo paper or Press 'n Peel! :D

So did you print what we see as a "negative" - what is etched was blank and the surrounding was inked on the laser print? Then iron the paper like crazy over the top of it?

What did you use to do the actual etching - have seen a couple of options.

Looks awesome.

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Post by puppiesonacid »

kierc, :shock: that looks awesome!

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kierc
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Post by kierc »

Wow thanks! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

I can't take credit for the artwork though, They're images from a Sin City comic that I played around with...

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Post by RnFR »

puppiesonacid wrote:kierc, :shock: that looks awesome!
yes, very cool! :D

i think etching an enclosure has just been bumped up to the top of my list of things to do.

i made this little logo a ways back just messing around with the editing tools on the photobucket site- talk about primitive! i thought it would look cool having the scary bat-creature hanging in from the side of the pedal. i'll give it a shot one of these days. be sure to report back with any progress.

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Post by puppiesonacid »

kierc wrote:Wow thanks! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

I can't take credit for the artwork though, They're images from a Sin City comic that I played around with...
yeah, I know. I thought that was great, very umm...performance art in a sense. very cool use of comics!

love it!

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Post by modman »

some old pics, not the best in resolution:
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done
done
ready for drilling
ready for drilling
removing the mask
removing the mask
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Post by Vendt »

Hi Just started experimenting with etching enclosures.
I've started with the bottom of a Type B enclosure.
As etchant I've used Ammonium Persulfate.

Eventhough I think the etch looks quite good. The etched parts are not deep enough to paint. The smaller lines are very clear and because I let it sit in the etchant for a long time it also has a rugged look.

Image

Would that because Amonium Persulfate isn't that good for etching aluminium?
Should I use another etchant to get the etch deeper?

Natrium Persulfate? or the feared Iron III Chloride?

Please advise how to get the etch deeper.
Thanx

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Post by Crumbchildz »

Here's my 4th and 5th attempts at putting my new logo on back plates for some of my boxes. Pretty happy with the results. I used ferric chloride and (literally) basted the area for about 10 minutes. The top logo was polished with some 0000 steel wool and the bottom one was left unpolished. I still need to wet sand up to about 600 grit, but these are just tests. I used a combo of an iron and a heat transfer tool (awesome for spot heating) and PnP Blue. Lemme know what you think!

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Post by 123lebertxXx »

Nice enclosure guys. Like it much. Keep it up. :)


Cheers,
CC West Printing

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Post by mikitz »

There was a package of high quality laser photo paper on sale for cheaper than anything else so I went ahead and used it for my first couple of etches.... bad idea.. as it turns out the ironing process transfers the toner very well but this type of laser photo paper leaves behind a sticky layer as well that the etchant has a problem getting through. I was getting okay results with about 30 minutes of etching.

Then after some internet research I tried the magazine paper (you can buy glossy laser magazine paper at the St*ples) and the result was much better. The ironing transfer took about 10 minutes on a 1590a and 5 minutes to etch! I would definitely recommend the magazine paper over laser hoto paper. I understand others have had great success with feeding *inkjet* photo paper into laser printers.. but I don't want to mess up my printer so I don't have the nerve to try it.

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Post by astrobass »

mikitz wrote:There was a package of high quality laser photo paper on sale for cheaper than anything else so I went ahead and used it for my first couple of etches.... bad idea.. as it turns out the ironing process transfers the toner very well but this type of laser photo paper leaves behind a sticky layer as well that the etchant has a problem getting through. I was getting okay results with about 30 minutes of etching.

Then after some internet research I tried the magazine paper (you can buy glossy laser magazine paper at the St*ples) and the result was much better. The ironing transfer took about 10 minutes on a 1590a and 5 minutes to etch! I would definitely recommend the magazine paper over laser hoto paper. I understand others have had great success with feeding *inkjet* photo paper into laser printers.. but I don't want to mess up my printer so I don't have the nerve to try it.
That layer comes off if you soak it in water and gently rub at it. At least, with inkjet paper.

I don't understand the willingness to run a page torn out of a magazine through your printer combined with being too scared to put inkjet paper through the printer. Magazine paper isn't laser printer paper either. It's got substantially less in common with laser printer paper than inkjet paper has.

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Post by mikitz »

Sorry I wasn't clear, I'm using blank glossy magazine quality paper designed for laser printers. The package says "HP premium presentation laser paper". It is about the thickness of regular paper but glossy on both sides. It is working very well for me.

The laser photo paper (st*ples brand laser photo supreme) left a transparent gummy film that wouldn't come off without damaging the toner layer. This is after soaking and rubbing. The presentation paper is cheaper than the inkjet photo paper here in Ontario.

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Post by astrobass »

mikitz wrote:Sorry I wasn't clear, I'm using blank glossy magazine quality paper designed for laser printers. The package says "HP premium presentation laser paper". It is about the thickness of regular paper but glossy on both sides. It is working very well for me.

The laser photo paper (st*ples brand laser photo supreme) left a transparent gummy film that wouldn't come off without damaging the toner layer. This is after soaking and rubbing. The presentation paper is cheaper than the inkjet photo paper here in Ontario.
Oh now THAT is good as hell to know. I'm going to need to buy paper sometime soon.

Usually when people say "magazine paper" they mean a page they pulled from a magazine and printed onto. So, super cool. Thanks for clarifying!

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Post by astrobass »

Just to follow up on this, mad props to mikitz for that tip. I'd run out of the photo paper I'd been getting good results with, and was having the worst time with the crap I had on hand so I thought I'd give his suggestion a go. He did not lie. 10 minutes under the iron, toss it in water to soak, then gently rub away the paper. Leaves a really solid, really clean mask behind. Very impressed with these results, especially at $16 for 150 sheets.

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Post by biliousfrog »

Howdy folks.

I've etched a few pedals now using the blue press 'n' peel stuff which I'd get printed by someone else or done through a photocopier at the library. This is my very first attempt: http://flic.kr/p/dqYAPq

This week I bought a laser printer so that I could experiment with better/cheaper methods as I sometimes found it difficult to convince others to ramp up the print quality or use non-standard papers.

I tried various media - press 'n' peel, photo paper (inkjet & laser), magazine pages....the best thing I found was the waxy backing paper used for labels. I'd seen others use this method and it worked really well. I made sure to let it cool naturally before peeling off rather than dipping it in water as that caused the paper to bubble and pull off the toner - I don't know how others have managed with that but it didn't work for me.

This is the result so far: https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-nZzX ... 155926.jpg

It's going to be painted in shades of green and brown, like an enameled finish, before having an amber (gold) tint applied over the whole thing. It's tying in with a guitar being built for a friend by another friend.

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Post by biliousfrog »

Here's the finished pedal (Zen Drive with dark/bright switch instead of a voice control).

Image

It was perhaps a bit too ambitious but it looks good....could always be better but everyone else seems to like it so far and I'm sure the new owner will when he finds it in his new guitar case.

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Post by Desdog »

A great tutorial on etching enclosures

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