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    1. Kit: , by (Yearly Subscriber) BrassBuilder is offline
      Builder Last Online: Jun 2019 Show Printable Version Email this Page
      Model Scale: 1/8 Rating:  Thanks: 0
      Started: 02-23-14 Build Revisions: Never  
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      A while back, I started this thread about my trials and tribulations in learning to photoetch parts at home. A lot has transpired since then and I have adjusted the technique greatly since I last wrote that article. Here is an updated step by step on photoetching. This process works about the best so far.

      Here is a link to the old thread:

      http://www.scalemotorcars.com/forum/...toetching.html

      The resist that I am using is from Puretch. I gave up on the Chinese stuff after the last batch was bad and I got the runaround for returning it...even though it specifically stated that there was a 180 day warranty. After learning how to use the Puretch, I will never use the Chinese stuff again.

      The brass that I am using is .003 thick. The times that I specify in this article will have to be adjusted somewhat for thicker brass or copper.

      Step 1
      This is a biggie. You need to have your brass or copper polished. I use Brasso but any polish should work. I found there is a "zone" you want to be at in polishing. You don't want to overdo it, but you don't want to under do it either. You want a nice even shine as much as possible.
      DIY/Home Photoetching II-01_polishing-jpg

      Step 2
      Once you get a nice shine, rinse the Brasso off with tap water. You will notice that the water with ball up on the brass. That is not good, but we will take care of that in a bit.
      DIY/Home Photoetching II-02_rinsing_tap-jpg

      Step 3
      Mix up a batch of distilled water and TSP. I'm guessing I put a couple of cups of distilled water in a container with a couple of teaspoon full of TSP. I mix it strong. Use this to clean the brass.
      DIY/Home Photoetching II-03_tsp_distilled-jpg

      Step 4
      Rinse the brass off in tap water and you will see that the water sheets off now.
      DIY/Home Photoetching II-04_rinsing_tap-jpg

      Step 5
      I also give it a final rinse with distilled water.
      DIY/Home Photoetching II-05_rinsing_distilled-jpg

      Step 6
      And then dry it. Do this quickly and try not to leave an impression of the paper towel on it or leave streaks.
      DIY/Home Photoetching II-06_drying-jpg

      To be cont. Same bat time. Same bat channel.

      Mike
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  1. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Mike
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    Step 7
    The smallest roll that can be ordered is a 24" x 10' roll. Actually, there is a "try it out" roll that is 6" x 3', but unless you are doing just a couple of small parts, you will need the 24" x 10' roll. At the time I wrote this, the cost was $59 shipped. I was also lucky in that my parts are 6" long. I could cut a strip of photoresist, fold it in half, cut it, and then take both halves, fold them in half again and cut them. I used this board to get the width I needed evenly across the width of the photoresist. Also...very important...use a yellow "bug light" to illuminate your room. DO NOT USE your fluorescent of incandescent bulbs. They give off UV and will start to expose the film.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-08_cutting_photoresist-jpg

    Step 8
    Once you have the film cut to size, peel the first layer of clear film off. The resist is actually three layers. There are the two clear outer layers and the blue resist center layer. I pull the clear layer from the side that the resist rolls into you. It will lay flatter than if you start on the side that rolls away from you. I hope that made sense.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-09_peeling_first_layer-jpg

    Step 9
    Spray the resist and the brass with distilled water. I don't know why the distilled water beads up on the brass, but it does. It hasn't hurt anything as far as I can tell.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-10_spraying_distilled-jpg

    Step 10
    Now position the resist on the brass. I do two parts at once.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-11_positioning_photoresist-jpg

    Step 11
    And start to squeegee the water off.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-12_squeegee_water-jpg

    Step 12
    Dry the water as you squeegee it. Once you aren't getting any more water coming off, that should be good to go.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-13_dry_excess_water-jpg

    To be cont.
    Same bat time. Same bat channel.


    DIY/Home Photoetching II
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #2

  2. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Mike
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    Step 13
    Now trim the resist to size. I use a sharp Exacto knife.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-14_trim_to_size-jpg

    Step 14
    This is one of those steps that will need to be adjusted. You need to take a hairdryer and dry the resist to the brass. If you don't get it completely dry, the resist will not stick at all. I dry the brass for 3 min. I dry one side for 30 seconds and then flip it over and dry for 30 seconds. I do both pieces at the same time and keep alternating until my 3 min are up. I use an on-line timer to keep track of the time. Keep the brass up so that the heat is not absorbed into any underlying material. I use the hairdryer on high and it gets hot DIY/Home Photoetching II . It is hot DIY/Home Photoetching II enough where I don't want that on my hand for more than a second or two.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-15_hairdryer_3min-jpg

    Step 15
    Once the resist and brass is dry, insert the brass into your mask. The way I do it is to draw my parts out in TurboCad, print them on overhead projector material and then tape two of them together to make an envelope. I use alignment marks in the corners to get everything lined up perfectly. I then tape two of the edges together. You only need to do this if you etch from both sides. Etching from one side is considerably easier. I cut my brass just a tad bit bigger than my mask. That way I can tape the long side and lock the brass to the clear sheet so it won't move when it gets flipped over.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-16_mask-jpg

    Step 16
    Expose the artwork for 3 min. I use one of those halogen construction lamps for the exposure. I took out the clear face plate as that had UV protectant on it. I think there is a pic of the gizmo that I use in the other thread. The glass is two sheets of 1/4" thick glass. Make SURE that it is not UV glass.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-17_expose_3min-jpg

    Step 17
    I cut through the tape that I used to hold the brass in place and remove the brass from the mask.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-18_remove_mask-jpg

    Step 18
    You should see a pretty good burned image now.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-19_burned_image-jpg

    Stayed tuned for the next exciting chapter!


    DIY/Home Photoetching II
    Last edited by BrassBuilder; 02-24-14 at 12:11 AM.
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #3

  3. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Mike
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    One last picture. Here is the gizmo I built.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-dscn1034-jpg


    DIY/Home Photoetching II
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #4

  4. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Mike
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    Step 19
    Now it is time to pull the second layer of clear. Using a piece of tape, grab the corner of the clear and just get it started to pull away. Once it is started and you can see it is not pulling the resist up (if it does, try a different corner), yank the clear off as fast as you can. DO NOT DO THIS SLOWLY! Fast is the word here. Every once in a while I get one that the resist did not adhere to the brass and you can either touch it up with a marker or salvage what you can. I've done both.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-20_pulling_second_layer-jpg

    Step 20
    Place the brass in a container of soda ash. I mix up 10g of soda ash with 1 liter of distilled water. A liter of distilled water is 4.25 cups. I use a kitchen scale to measure out the soda ash. I leave it in the mix for 1 minute. This time is critical. If you leave it in too long, the resist will soften and peel off. Been there. Done that.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-21_soda_ash_1min-jpg

    Step 21
    After taking it out of the soda ash mix, rinse the part off with tap water and use a brush to strip away the resist on the bare metal parts. After I get this done, I can take my fingernail (what I have left since I bite them off), and actually feel the grooves in the resist along the length of my part. It is also a good idea to use latex gloves during this stage.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-22_rinse_tap-jpg

    Step 22
    And then dry the brass. First with a paper towel...
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-23_dry-jpg

    Step 23
    ...and then with the hairdryer. You will be able to feel the resist go from sticky to not sticky.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-24_hairdryer_dry-jpg


    DIY/Home Photoetching II
    Last edited by BrassBuilder; 02-24-14 at 09:33 AM.
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #5

  5. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Mike
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    Step 24
    Once that is done, throw them under the lamp again for another 3 minutes. This helps "set" the resist.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-25_expose_3min-jpg

    Step 25
    Before you put the brass in the etchant, correct any mistakes with a permanent black marker. In this case, I only had one corner that needed filled in. I've been getting pretty good results now that I've done about 30 of these
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-26_correcting_mistakes-jpg

    Step 26
    Here is the setup I'm using for clamps. These are all plastic. I can do two at a time. I have a bigger tank that I can run four at a time, but two works for me. I quit using the ferric chloride and now I use a mix of hydrogen peroxide (2 parts) and hydrochloric acid (1 part). You want the 3% hydrogen peroxide and the 31% or so of hydrochloric acid (muradic acid). When you first mix it up, it will be clear. As you run brass or copper through, it turns green.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-27_etchant-jpg

    Step 27
    And in the etchant
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-28_in_etchant-jpg

    Step 28
    Upclose shot.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-29_close_up-jpg


    DIY/Home Photoetching II
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #6

  6. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Mike
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    Let's finish this up. Comments are welcome.

    Step 29
    I'M MELTING!!!
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-30_im_melting-jpg

    Step 30
    After it is done etching, run the part under the tap water to rinse off the little bit of etchant left on it.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-31_rinse_tap-jpg

    Step 31
    And toss it in a lye mix. I put maybe a tablespoon full of lye with a liter of water.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-32_lye-jpg

    Step 32
    And rinse again.
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-33_rinse_tap-jpg

    Step 33
    Dry the parts and you are ready to use!
    DIY/Home Photoetching II-34_dry-jpg

    The end


    DIY/Home Photoetching II
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #7

  7. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Mike
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    When I first started experimenting with photoetching, I tried to cheap out and did the photo paper and an iron process. Google it and you will find all kinds of info on it. This gave so-so results. Then I switched over to press and peel blue. This was better but still not what I wanted. The problem with both of those techniques is that it was harder to do double sided etchings. I then switched to the photoresist method but bought my resist from China. This worked much better, however, the China photoresist was all over in terms of quality...even from the same supplier. I then switched to this Puretch resist and once I got the technique down, I have been extremely happy with the quality of the etchings. I want to try some stainless steel and etch some car trim or emblems and see what happens.

    I hope you found this somewhat informative.

    Thanks for reading.

    Mike


    DIY/Home Photoetching II
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #8

  8. Tony's Avatar Active Member
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    Tony
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    Great results from your work, very informative, going to have to try itThanks for your time to write this up
    It's easier to destroy, than it is to create
    QUOTE QUOTE #9

  9. BrassBuilder's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Mike
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    Hey Tony! Thanks! I hope it saves you some troubles. I've been messing around with photoetching for a couple of years now and I thought I would post this to save someone some hassles. Some people have pretty good luck going the cheaper methods, but I was never really happy with the results.
    Mike


    DIY/Home Photoetching II
    My website:
    http://www.firesteelhobbies.com/index.html

    Feel free to look around. I have all of my projects on the website.
    QUOTE QUOTE #10

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