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I Forge Iron

Copper Etching - First real project


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So in my last post, I had recently experimented with copper etching and I shared the results of that experience here on IFI. This time I went into the project with a plan. What I wanted to make were etched copper bracelets. I designed the bracelet to specific dimensions in photoshop. I then printed the image on a laser printer to photo-transparency film. This is a clear film used on overhead projectors. You should remember that anything "text" needs to be mirror imaged before being printed so that it is correct when applied. Then its ironed on, dropped into cool water while its still hot so that it sort of pulls the toner from the transparency onto the copper.

The images did not fully transfer to the copper initially, and I had to fill in the void areas using sharpie. After getting the images onto the copper I let them dry for a full 24 hours before etching. I don't think this is really required as 15 minutes would probably be just fine, but during the first project a lot of my sharpie resist eroded during the process allowing for a very crude image. Here is the material pre-etch.


After drying, the copper was then etched in Ferric Chloride etchant solution. Also called PCB etchant solution. Available at your local Radio Shack, forbes, or other electionics supply store. Here is the results of the initial etch. At this point the bracelets just needed to be trimmed a little closer, and then have the edges sanded and smoothed.


Then the bracelets were annealed, cleaned with a weak acid solution, patina was added using a liver of sulfer solution (also known as sulfurated potash) and then they were shaped.


After shaping, all of this I applied a satin clear coat of Krylon spray paint. The paint dried and turned white and milky, so I then had to strip the paint off. The resulting and final product is this. I may still put a coat of wax on there to protect it, but I won't be attempting to spray paint these again.


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