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  #16   Report Bad Post  
Old 11-18-2013, 09:03 PM
mymdb mymdb is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 2
Re: Questions about etching aluminum and copper plates

I've experimented with different types of inks as resist at the time with varying results. Apparently the type of ink had little impact and my biggest problem was the resist not adhering well to the plate sometimes. I like to work with very thin resists and sometimes parts of the resist come off the plate during etching. I noticed that this is significantly affected by the condition of the aluminum plate surface.

Are there any surface preparation techniques or special treatments recommended before applying resist to the plate?
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Old 11-19-2013, 12:40 AM
charlesgmorgan charlesgmorgan is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 159
Re: Questions about etching aluminum and copper plates

I never had good luck with acrylic inks as a resist using the copper sulfate mordant ... it always seemed to lift, no matter how well I cleaned the plate. I have used standard oil base inks with added cobalt drier. Paint the plate and leave it overnight to "dry". The only problem with oil based inks is removal ... try acetone or TSP if the paint has not been dried for too long. Do not use products containing lye, as that will etch aluminum. I generally do not do really fine line etching ... my favorite resist is ordinary shellac. Apply an even coat, let dry for 15 minutes, and you are good to go. It removes easily with d-limonene based cleaners ... i.e. citrus cleaners.

Cheers ...... Charles
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Old 05-14-2016, 04:18 PM
Henrique Henrique is offline
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Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 2
Re: Questions about etching aluminum and copper plates

Originally Posted by charlesgmorgan

copper sulfate ... .. 9 scoops
sodium bisulfate ... 2 scoops
table salt ............. 9 scoops

Hello, Charles! I am new here but I was looking for alternatives to etching baths and I landed here. Great alternative. Unfortunately for me, it does not work for copper. On the other hand, I have just made a solution that actually etch copper. I used vinegar, salt, sodium bisulfate and Hydrogene Peroxide. I made several tests and in fact this combination is the best.

If I use only one or two components with H2O2 it does not work or work much slower.

Because I am not a chemical 'nothing', I don't understand the paper of Sodium Bisulfate. In fact it seems that what is produced is Copper Chloride, because the bath becomes greenish. But the same bath w/o SBS works bad and stops after a while.

I would be very pleased to hear your oppinion on this!

Best wishes!
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Old 05-14-2016, 04:44 PM
Henrique Henrique is offline
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Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 2
Re: Questions about etching aluminum and copper plates

Originally Posted by Preußischblau
Has anyone ever tried any other substances for biting their plates (vinegar, coca-cola, other easy household things)? Info for copper would be ideal (since I have some of that), but I can get 36 gage aluminium quite easily. Longer biting in the bath is acceptable to me.

Or am I asking for crazy things?

I'm trying to find an apartment-able alternative to engraving, which is time-consuming and deliberate-looking, and generally not the best for the kind of sheep-wool texture I'm looking for.

I don't think you are asking for crazy things!
I am not an artist, but I am looking for alternatives for etching PCB (printed circuit borads) of copper. And there is a solution that uses vinegar, salt and hydrogen peroxide. Using normal 3% hydrogen peroxide takes almost one hour to etch the plate. But using 50% hydrogen peroxide it makes it in some minutes, 10 or so.

Here a recipe you may use:

To prepare 1 Liter solution, weight 200 g salt, normal kitchen salt, and add vinegar until it makes 600 ml. Dissolve the salt as far as you can in the vinegar. Then add 400 ml of 3% hydrogen peroxide and use at once. The solution is unstable, hydrogen peroxide will degrade in water. If you store the solution afterwords, don't close it completely or it may gain pressure and explode.

I also found out that a little Sodium Bisulfate (about 30g) added to this improves the performance of the bath. I don't know why but it happens!

I hope this is a good information for you!

Note: When using 50% Hydrogen Peroxide, I increase vinegar to 900ml and use only 100ml or less of hydrogen peroxide.

Last edited by Henrique : 05-14-2016 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 05-15-2016, 07:59 AM
pressmaker pressmaker is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 41
Re: Questions about etching aluminum and copper plates

Maybe this article is useful


And indeed copper sulphate is used often for zinc etching (cannot be used for copper) . To speed up the process, some kitchen salt can be added ("saline etching")
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