Electrolytic Etching

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle Welding, Fabrication and Paintin' started by wret, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Pretty cool, you guys!
    SB
     
  2. wret

    wret Member

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    That looks awesome!

    As I understand it, it has to be laser toner, not ink. I'm not sure how the toner forms a "resist" but it does.
     
  3. Maxvision

    Maxvision New Member

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    I did some research after my post and yes it does have to be a laser printer. Before the paper comes out of a laser printer it passes a heating element that fuses the laser toner to the paper. Using an iron to transfer the printed pattern "melts" the toner which allows it to transfer off the paper and onto whatever you're etching.
     
  4. scotto-

    scotto- Custom 4-Stroke Bike Builder

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    Just don't use waxpaper for the iron-on, unless you want a messy blur......laff

    All the head badges in this thread look very cool......keep em comin' ! How well does aluminum etch......it is nonferrous so I doubt it's possible using the electro technique. Maybe I will try the wax and pure muriatic acid for a badge for my blue Dyno.
     
  5. CTripps

    CTripps Active Member

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    If I'm not mistaken, most photocopiers are actually laser printers these days, so making a copy of a design should work.
     
  6. Heretic

    Heretic Member

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    Freek'n love it! I live for this crap. I've done rust removal with that method using baking soda as the electrolyte, worked like gangbusters. And just finished my second brass head badge using acid but no current.

    [​IMG]

    Had about half the tutorial wrote be for it was deleted by accident(wife).
    but I like your method as well.
    Sooooo what if I used current and acid kinda like nickel-plating backwards.

    And how would running the current through a transformer affect it?( i.e. high volts-low amps)

    [​IMG]

    I'll work on it next weekend.
     
  7. Maxvision

    Maxvision New Member

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    Hey Scotto-
    You've heard of "Anodized Aluminum" right? Aluminum conducts electricity, it will electro etch just fine! If you don't have a transformer, muriatic acid will eat it away FAST so don't leave it in too long...
     
  8. Maxvision

    Maxvision New Member

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    Yes, current and acid works fine. The acid will help to etch faster. And yes, etching IS just like nickel-plating. Still and Anode and Cathode in a solution, it's just that the finished product is connected to the positive instead of the negative.

    According to Ohm's Law, the amount of current flow will be proportional to the voltage: Amps=Volts/Ohms. The resistance of your solution between the anode and cathode would be essentially constant, and you would control the current by controlling the voltage. So, the higher the voltage, the higher the amperage. Can only lower the amperage by lowering the voltage.

    If your voltage is too high you'll get an uneven etch. Best to etch between 6 and 9 volts DC. Just make sure whatever transformer you use can take the load put on it by your etching solution. A little wall wart transformer isn't going to cut it. It'll burn out as soon as you connect it to your work.
     
  9. Maxvision

    Maxvision New Member

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    That exact same thought came to me today. Photocopiers use a toner and a heating element. But I don't think you'd get the detail out of a photocopier that you could from a laser printer.
     
  10. scotto-

    scotto- Custom 4-Stroke Bike Builder

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    Anodization is great, then Tiodization came along and is a cool way to color titanium. How does one tiodize titanium......with oxides? A titanium head badge with color would be the shiz in my book.

    I have lots of transformers, been charging lots of batteries and such for decades ;) Let's ride!
     
  11. Maxvision

    Maxvision New Member

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    In the 9 years I spent as a jeweler I did a little messing around with the plating process.

    Tiodization - fancy name for oxidizing Titanium.
    Titanium - symbol on the periodic table of elements is Ti
    Anodizing - increases the thickness of the naturally occurring oxide coating on a metal.

    Electroplating - different metals on the anode and cathode.
    Anodizing - same metal on the anode and cathode

    Anodizing only works for metals which form corrosion resistant oxides that tightly adhere to the base metal surface (like Aluminum and Titanium). Steel can not be anodized because the rust (iron oxide) flakes off.

    With Titanium, [FONT=arial, Arial, Helvetica]different colors will appear at different voltage levels as the titanium oxide builds up on the work piece.

    Titanium can also be colored using the heat from a torch!

    Here's a good website describing how to anodize titanium: http://www.valhallaarms.com/wyvern/titanium/anodizing.htm


    [/FONT]
     
    #31 Maxvision, May 8, 2014
    Last edited: May 8, 2014
  12. Maxvision

    Maxvision New Member

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  13. wret

    wret Member

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    Yes, the paper removal may be the most sensitive part of the process.

    Some advice I heard elsewhere said not to worry about getting all the paper residue off. I took this a little too far in one of my trials and found that any paper residue really impaired the etch and was likely to flake off and take the toner with it. I'm left thinking its important to get ALL the paper off.
     
  14. Heretic

    Heretic Member

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    I used the backing from a sheet of labels. Just pealed off all the labels and printed on the silicone coated paper. Ink came right off. No problems with the paper sticking. And the ink transfers at about 170 deg. so if you have a multi-meter with a temp probe use it to be sure you hit the mark.
     
  15. Maxvision

    Maxvision New Member

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    I like the brass badge but...

    Well, the brass head badge looked nice all shined up but the brass dulls fast and then gets that patina which I wouldn't like. I tried clear brass lacquer but I didn't like that either (do I sound like the princess and the pea?).

    So, I pulled the transformer back out, cooked up some zinc electrolyte and plated the brass.

    I like the color in the background but the paint would get all messed up when I was polishing the brass so, off I went to Harbor Freight and bought some black powder coat ($3.99). Mixed some up with acetone and painted it in the low background. Of course I got some on the high places so after the acetone evaporated off I used steel wool to get the powder coat off where I didn't want it.

    After I cooked the powder coat in the oven I plated on another coat of zinc and buffed it out on my buffing wheel. Buffing wheel didn't mess the powder coat up at all and the zinc came out nice and shiny.


     

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  16. scotto-

    scotto- Custom 4-Stroke Bike Builder

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    Re: I like the brass badge but...

    That turned out awesome Scotty, we gonna see it at the track in 2 weeks? I certainly hope so!

    Call me and let's RIDE!
     
  17. wret

    wret Member

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    That's really cool! You've taken it to a new level!
     

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