Enclosure Etching techniques

Frequent question about finishing your stompbox: painting, etching, clearcoating, lettering, etc...

Moderators: Greg, RnFR, moderators

  • Advertisement

Finishing ones enclosure (Etching)

Postby platinum321 » 06 Sep 2007, 22:46

I have seen some boxes etched with design.

How does one go about doing this? I saw using laser printer but no instructions as to how to go about it from start to finish.

Thanks for any help.

Also did not know where to post this question so this looked like maybe the right spot on the forum to post an off topic question such as this.
User avatar
platinum321
Breadboard Brother
 
Posts: 50
Joined: 04 Sep 2007, 14:56
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 0 time

Postby RLBJR65 » 07 Sep 2007, 01:35

User avatar
RLBJR65
Resistor Ronker
 
Posts: 281
Joined: 30 Jun 2007, 17:07
Location: USA
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 2 times

Postby platinum321 » 07 Sep 2007, 03:31

Sweet thanks so much much appreciated.
User avatar
platinum321
Breadboard Brother
 
Posts: 50
Joined: 04 Sep 2007, 14:56
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 0 time

Postby briggs » 07 Sep 2007, 10:51

I've got to put a link to that on my site!
Image

I am Klon.
User avatar
briggs
Tube Twister
 
Posts: 1999
Joined: 12 Jul 2007, 11:02
Location: Breaking into Heaven.
Has thanked: 30 times
Have thanks: 117 times

Postby markm » 23 Sep 2007, 07:05

briggs wrote:I've got to put a link to that on my site!


That link won't work anymore.....I pulled it!
If you want to host the whole Tutorial, let me know.
I have it as a PDF.
Join together with the "Banned"!
User avatar
markm
Diode Debunker
 
Posts: 788
Joined: 26 Jun 2007, 15:41
Location: U.S.A.
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 6 times

Postby grolschie » 23 Sep 2007, 09:53

:-)
Last edited by grolschie on 30 Dec 2007, 06:56, edited 1 time in total.
grolschie
Solder Soldier
 
Posts: 223
Joined: 01 Jul 2007, 02:15
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 0 time

Postby markm » 23 Sep 2007, 14:11

grolschie wrote:
markm wrote:
briggs wrote:
But seriously, your tutorial still works. Aron blah blah blah'ed about people not attacking each other, so I reminded him of zvex's sig which is a personal attack on AG and has remained for a long time.


Ya know, I was thinking the same thing as I typed that Sig into my profile.
I thought that if VEX can do it.....why not?
Also, I'm NOT anti-Hendrix by any means, I do have a problem with someones opinions forced upon me which is what happened behind the scenes there.

The Tutorial is GONE.
Maybe it's stored in the cache of your computer?
Not sure.
Thanks for the support grolschie, I appreciate it.
Join together with the "Banned"!
User avatar
markm
Diode Debunker
 
Posts: 788
Joined: 26 Jun 2007, 15:41
Location: U.S.A.
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 6 times

Postby modman » 23 Sep 2007, 16:53

I based my technique entirely on Mark's and logged my first experiences using PICTURE PAPER here. The steps are roughly the same except for the PNP specific caveats.

http://modman.blogdrive.com/archive/27.html

That still look kind of rough, but doing better recently after better sanding, easier designs and smaller boxes! My recent Baja Trembulator is kind of ok
"So, I guess after all, maybe the whole world is a classroom. but it's one where the teacher is also the student, and everybody can design their own courses to take. shit just got deep!" (RnFR)
User avatar
modman
a d m i n
 
Posts: 3876
Joined: 19 Jun 2007, 17:57
Location: Belgium
Has thanked: 1033 times
Have thanks: 161 times

Postby grolschie » 23 Sep 2007, 22:43

:-)
Last edited by grolschie on 30 Dec 2007, 06:55, edited 2 times in total.
grolschie
Solder Soldier
 
Posts: 223
Joined: 01 Jul 2007, 02:15
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 0 time

Postby markm » 23 Sep 2007, 22:53

Huh?
Weird.
That's okay though. :D
Join together with the "Banned"!
User avatar
markm
Diode Debunker
 
Posts: 788
Joined: 26 Jun 2007, 15:41
Location: U.S.A.
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 6 times

Postby modman » 26 Sep 2007, 09:32

hi guys,

sorry I don't see the tutorial there either. It would be a great addition as a "<Skills/Techniques> Enclosure Etching" ... Am still looking into possibilities...
"So, I guess after all, maybe the whole world is a classroom. but it's one where the teacher is also the student, and everybody can design their own courses to take. shit just got deep!" (RnFR)
User avatar
modman
a d m i n
 
Posts: 3876
Joined: 19 Jun 2007, 17:57
Location: Belgium
Has thanked: 1033 times
Have thanks: 161 times

I don't get it.

Postby platinum321 » 09 Oct 2007, 03:30

Why would one pull a tutorial? I don't get it? Because someone might link to it or what?
User avatar
platinum321
Breadboard Brother
 
Posts: 50
Joined: 04 Sep 2007, 14:56
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 0 time

Enclosure Etching techniques

Postby super velcroboy » 08 Apr 2008, 11:03

this interests me, but i have not done it. I found this http://daqq.eu/index.php?show=prj_al_etching

it looks pretty simple, but the result there doesn't look too good imo. I know this could work, but i would appreciate some experienced input.

questions
1. do you find that better results could be had if ferric chloride is allowed to sit longer?
2. any alternative to ferric chloride as an oxidant?
3. what's best as a protectant?

thanks in advance :applause:
super velcroboy
 

Re: how to etch a die-cast aluminum enclosure

Postby modman » 10 Apr 2008, 22:45

Hi Velcro,

here some of my personal experiences:

Copper is much much harder than aluminium, therefore:

- don't heat the etchant to speed up the process
- rinse the aluminum box in cold water to check progress every minute (literally!) but also to cool the process down (heat enforces chemical reactions because the molecules are moving faster)
- use a slightly weaker etchant composition
- the flatter, the better (the box) and therefore machine sanding is probably the way to go (haven't tried it)

look at the heat coming from this box after being in the etchant:
Image

smaller boxes are always much easier to get a nice accurate etch on
Image

Now I only use magazine paper, because it peels off by itself.
"So, I guess after all, maybe the whole world is a classroom. but it's one where the teacher is also the student, and everybody can design their own courses to take. shit just got deep!" (RnFR)
User avatar
modman
a d m i n
 
Posts: 3876
Joined: 19 Jun 2007, 17:57
Location: Belgium
Has thanked: 1033 times
Have thanks: 161 times

Re: how to etch a die-cast aluminum enclosure

Postby madbean » 11 Apr 2008, 00:30

I use press n peel then apply the etchant to the top side, rather than immersing it upside down. I use an eyedropper to apply to the areas I want to etch, and rinse it every couple of minutes. To keep it from affecting the sides of the enclosure, I just apply tape around the circumference. Works pretty well.

Image
madbean
 

Re: how to etch a die-cast aluminum enclosure

Postby super velcroboy » 11 Apr 2008, 02:40

Hi guys,
Thanks for those photos; they look great btw. I am impressed by the definition you able to get. I saw MarkM's tutorial at diystomboxes so that helped also. :applause:

http://www.aronnelson.com/gallery/main. ... y/album24/

do you think it is possible to paint the enclosure with a color of choice and stuff have the ability to etch? That would be the ultimate, but the ferric chloride would probably eat away the paint at the edge huh.

So far i have only seen clear coating the sanded enclosure. It looks nice but it is a bit artistically restrictive. Any ideas?
super velcroboy
 

Re: how to etch a die-cast aluminum enclosure

Postby kriista » 12 Apr 2008, 11:59

I've done (well, my wife actually) done a few different etchings.

Used ferric chloride (mixed from granules) in the normal PCB dilution.


The first one I(she) used acrylic paint as the blocker, and it worked fine, but after rinsing it cool it off the paint began to bubble, not sure if it was the temperature change or what, but pain (acrylic) is NOT the way to go.

She also did some testing with 'liquid hard ground', which is a printmaking blocker, sort of like thin tar. This worked great, but is harder to remove after (you need a solvent).

For the last one we(she) did, she did patterns with masking tape, and cut further patterns with an exact. This gave surprisingly clean lines.


To get a decent etch I left it in for over an hour, agitating it regularly. The paint one came out after 10-15 mintues due to the paint reaction.

Here are the examples.


First, paint blocker, light etch (we liked the way it looked as is, so it was sealed after a light/random sanding):

Image


Next, masking tape blocker, long etch, with paint afterwards:

Image



The rats one is a rehouse, a boss ce-2 and a bigjam EQ in one. The 2nd one is a 4ms phaseur.
User avatar
kriista
 
Posts: 49
Joined: 29 Jan 2008, 11:19
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 0 time

Re: how to etch a die-cast aluminum enclosure

Postby kriista » 12 Apr 2008, 12:04

I agree about most etchings just being sanded/clear coat. We went a totally different approach since theres alot you can do with printmaking techniques.

We did some testing (on the baseplats of the rats pedal)doing normal zinc plate techniques, like scraping away the liquid ground with an awl type thing, but those really thin lines didnt work/read well enough to bother.


Not sure if it matters, but the rats pedal was a hammond box, and the phaseur is an eddystone. I'm guessing theyre a different alloy of alluminum as they look very different. The hammond box seemed to 'splotch' more in the deeper areas, whereas the edddystone ate evenly/openly.
User avatar
kriista
 
Posts: 49
Joined: 29 Jan 2008, 11:19
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 0 time

Re: how to etch a die-cast aluminum enclosure

Postby modman » 12 Apr 2008, 13:14

super velcroboy wrote:So far i have only seen clear coating the sanded enclosure. It looks nice but it is a bit artistically restrictive. Any ideas?


This is only normal - your etching a design in the aluminium. Covering it with anything but transparant paint will cover your design. But you could apply a transparent colour: I researched some paints in this thread. I didn't try them -- didn't find them available in the EU.

You could use different colours for the filler paint, which I tried on my first etch:
Image

But etching is really finding your own way and getting experience how the different factors influence the process.
good luck!
"So, I guess after all, maybe the whole world is a classroom. but it's one where the teacher is also the student, and everybody can design their own courses to take. shit just got deep!" (RnFR)
User avatar
modman
a d m i n
 
Posts: 3876
Joined: 19 Jun 2007, 17:57
Location: Belgium
Has thanked: 1033 times
Have thanks: 161 times

Re: Enclosure Etching techniques

Postby flood » 24 Sep 2008, 10:43

WOW :shock:

i did this - utterly unknowledgeably - about 8-9 years ago, on one of the first "stompboxes" i built :D

it was a laughable excuse... an orange bass/treble booster... bac then, i was an 18 year old noob throwing away more parts than puttibng them together to makea sweet music machine...

te results that some of you guys have got are incredible. i live in india, ad back then (and to some extent, even now), access to parts, enclosures etc. was limited even in a metropolis like bombay. e.g. you won't find a hammond enclosure, or any knockoff of it - you will probably have to settle fr an electrcal box of some sort. die cdasting is horribly expensive and i would not trust the quality of the finished product.

but i digress - i'd built a bass-treble booster which worked, and i wasoverjoyed - was my first working ciruit after the easy overdrive! i'd built it on a pressed paper board, hand drawn traces and etched with FeCl3 (i am still looking fora retailer for Na2HSO4). settled for a round aluminum lunchbox to house it. thought i should have something snazzy on the top - so i used a nice fat marker to stencil out some stuff and dunked the top in FeCl3 - it fumed away for a while, and then i realised it was eating into the back too (tip - etch before drilling!).... so i actually held the damn thing in place so that only the surface was in contact with the etchant...

the results aren't worth photographing and posting, but hey, what did i know!? i was a happy camper with my own treble booster!

looking at the results you guys have got, i think i'm going to give it another shot.

sorry for rambling so much, but this thread brought back memories... especially of my mom yelling at me to stop all etching work in my bedroom since i'd ruined 4 bedsheets and 2 shirts with the damn etchant (leaves extremely uglystains behind, what?)....
In the interest of full disclosure, I am Animal Factory Amplification.
flood
Resistor Ronker
 
Posts: 276
Joined: 06 Oct 2007, 20:56
Location: Bombay, India
Has thanked: 11 times
Have thanks: 14 times

Next


  • Advertisement

Return to Enclosure Finishing

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests