Home etching of stainless?

Joined: 12:28 PM - Apr 15, 2003

3:50 AM - Sep 28, 2018 #1

Home, like my shop, which, I try not to blow up as my wife sleeps upstairs. 

:D

So, I make these for another company. Im thinking the print on them will make for a great etching mask, to try some limited edition (gold plated?) stuff out. But stainless is usually pretty resistant, so what can I use at home (with lasers and lots of DC power supplies at hand) to etch it? Im OK with donning a mask and setting up outside for a couple one offs. 



And a fiber laser is out of the question. Ive got $6K in equipment coming in the next month or so. No where to put it, and need to have some of it running to have things done for SEMA. 
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Joined: 12:28 PM - Apr 15, 2003

3:51 AM - Sep 28, 2018 #2

And these are mounted where the airbag is not going to fling it at the passenger.. I checked when they asked me to do them. 
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Joined: 12:00 AM - Jan 01, 1970

4:08 AM - Sep 28, 2018 #3

Easy- ferric chloride will etch stainless, it just takes longer than if it were mild steel or copper. I don't know any mix ratios off the top of my head, but it should be easy to do some experimenting with concentrations and times to find out what works best.

Doc.
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Joined: 12:28 PM - Apr 15, 2003

4:59 AM - Sep 28, 2018 #4

I saw something about that mentioned in one of the older BBS posts I found. It was for striking (?) the metal before plating.

Think I can use electricity to speed it up? Im thinking of engraving with a brush, although I guess a sponge with an electrode could do the trick. 
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Joined: 8:57 PM - Jan 11, 2016

5:29 AM - Sep 28, 2018 #5

If the ferric chloride takes a while to etch stainless, HOT ferric chloride (60 degrees C) will chew the crap out of materials faster than cold will. Wear old clothes, safety goggles and and butyl gloves.
A little knowledge is..... the default setting.
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Joined: 5:40 PM - Sep 11, 2014

8:26 AM - Sep 28, 2018 #6

and maybe a face shield for backup
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Joined: 11:09 AM - Nov 17, 2014

8:48 AM - Sep 28, 2018 #7

Ferric Chloride is good stuff. It only eats metals. And stains skin...  
(I've used it plenty of times to etch copper when making PCBs )

There are tanks made for etching PCBs where the PCB is hung vertically and the Ferric Chloride(or other etchant) is pumped to stream past. These systems REALLY remove metal fast.  
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Joined: 2:05 PM - Oct 08, 2014

1:01 PM - Sep 28, 2018 #8

Snowtroll wrote: There are tanks made for etching PCBs where the PCB is hung vertically and the Ferric Chloride(or other etchant) is pumped to stream past. These systems REALLY remove metal fast. 
We had a tank like that at my college. A board that would take me an hour to etch at home in a Tupperware tray with a heat lamp took about 5 minutes in the spray etcher.

I've seen videos of people etching logos on knife blades with salt water and electricity. I don't know if it was stainless or carbon steel though. But it went pretty quickly.

Another chemical that's used to etch copper boards is ammonium persulfate. I don't know how well it works on steel, but it's supposed to be safer to dispose of than ferric chloride.
If it ain't broke, I'll fix it!
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Joined: 6:01 AM - Sep 12, 2014

4:32 PM - Oct 01, 2018 #9

The boys over at Home Brew Talk came up with using salt, a q-tip and electricity to etch numbers into stainless steel boil kettles.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/thre ... le.463493/
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Joined: 6:01 AM - Sep 12, 2014

4:33 PM - Oct 01, 2018 #10

BruceTheLoon wrote: The boys over at Home Brew Talk came up with using salt, a q-tip and electricity to etch numbers into stainless steel boil kettles.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/thre ... le.463493/
And https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/thre ... ed.463099/
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