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Thread: Useful in N scale? Brass Etching.

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    Default Useful in N scale? Brass Etching.

    What could this be used for in N scale?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NntLi4KcLlI
    Daniel Dawson

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    Absolutely... Edit: in my haste (again) I read Could this be used in N scale....

    Going to watch this a few more times. Being from another country (?), seems the terminology is a bit different... zinc? .... usually brass... duct tape...?
    Wondering if the chemicals are available in the US...

    Seems a bit easier than some of the kits for DIYers.

    Intrigued... Thanks for posting.


    windows, freight car details, ladders, railings, fire escapes.... anything we might buy photo etched stuff for...
    Steve - Jugtown Modeler..............Don't know enough about railroading yet, but scale modeling is my life..............Web-Folio

    The introduction of so powerful an agent as steam to a carriage on wheels will make a great change in the situation of man. -- Thomas Jefferson, 1802


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    Very useful in all scales. The only real issue is the chemicals. I would definitely recommend using goggles that make a complete seal around the eyes. Oh, and start with this: http://www.micromark.com/micro-mark-...stem,8346.html

    As for what it could be used for: roofwalks, expanded sheet metal, grates, fences, detail items, the list is virtually endless. And wait until you figure out how to do half-etches.
    Stogie

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stogie View Post
    And wait until you figure out how to do half-etches.
    What's a half etch? Does that eat half way through something for a layered effect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jugtown Modeler View Post
    windows, freight car details, ladders, railings, fire escapes
    I was wondering about that. Do you think it would be economical for hand railings considering how much of the brass is "wasted". I'm kind of in the same boat you are; intrigued but uncertain.
    Daniel Dawson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile One View Post
    Do you think it would be economical for hand railings considering how much of the brass is "wasted". I'm kind of in the same boat you are; intrigued but uncertain.
    The amount of wasted brass is probably negligible. Chemicals, photo resist, etc is were it will cost money.... I believe.

    There are quite a lot of photo etched brass items available for N modeling. Because the process is not cheap, they tend to be pricey for a small square of etched metal.

    The upside of DIY is that you can create custom your own designs and ideas. It still is probably is not cheap but if you get practiced at it, you might be able to knock off a lot of projects quicker and for less money than commercial stuff and perhaps sell a few pieces to cover costs. That is how I look at hobby investment of money and time. The Micro-Mark kit (posted above) is not cheap. I would like to find a cheaper way to do this.

    There is a Yahoo Photo Etch group if so inclined. Above my head for the most part but perhaps I will go back and dig around for supplies.
    Steve - Jugtown Modeler..............Don't know enough about railroading yet, but scale modeling is my life..............Web-Folio

    The introduction of so powerful an agent as steam to a carriage on wheels will make a great change in the situation of man. -- Thomas Jefferson, 1802


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile One View Post
    What's a half etch? Does that eat half way through something for a layered effect?
    Basically yes. When you photoetch a part, the part is submerged into an acid bath, and the acid eats away the part from all directions. If your front and rear mask differ, the result is a half-etch region. A great example of a half-etch is where you have a flat piece of metal that is to be bent. If you half-etch the bend lines, you can produce an inside corner of zero radius.

    Check out this site for more details: http://www.indymetaletching.com/micr.../how-it-works/
    Stogie

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile One View Post
    I was wondering about that. Do you think it would be economical for hand railings considering how much of the brass is "wasted". I'm kind of in the same boat you are; intrigued but uncertain.
    Definitely! These were commercially etched for me, but they are a custom railing design and are otherwise unavailable in any scale.


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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottL View Post
    they are a custom railing design and are otherwise unavailable in any scale.
    Hot Dog! I'm really curious now. This is definitely on my "investigate further" list.
    Daniel Dawson

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    I should add that those are stainless steel (the picture shows them after priming and hot out of the oven), which is beyond the reach of home etching chemistry. Brass is rather soft and easily damaged in fine sections like handrails. I did the above etch in brass by mistake and they deformed if you looked at them sideways.

    A sheet of those was about $100 USD, enough to do a bridge 48" long with lots to spare for other projects. Not cheap by any means, but not outrageous either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottL View Post
    they deformed if you looked at them sideways.
    What do manufacturers use on brass engines? Are their handrails not brass of the same sort? Is it just because they are thicker?
    Daniel Dawson

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    @ScottL could you have done these etches yourself if you wanted to mess with the chemicals?

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    Thicker or larger widths could make the brass better for strength, but I wanted to etch to get a near-scale appearance. The SS is very strong and forgiving.

    I have etched myself and could have done these, but home etching suffers from issues of consistency. I have access to a lot of the gear needed for this but I still prefer to leave it to professionals. Also, disposing of the chemicals is not trivial, if you do it properly. PPD will do smaller pieces than I needed, so you could cut the cost if need be.

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    I haven't looked into it personally but Micro Mark sells complete photo etching sets with all the chemicals etc. to get one started.

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    Totally ignorant but trying to learn -- found an interesting article about using different etchant but seems to be mostly for copper (brass seems to foul the etchant but not sure what the means long-term).

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Stop...-A-better-etc/

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    Nice catch! Thanks for the link.
    Daniel Dawson

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    I've used muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide (2 parts peroxide to one part acid) to etch homemade circuit boards and found it to work very well with copper. I used the toner transfer method printed on magazine paper to make the masks. It works OK for basic circuit traces, but it's too inconsistent to make detail parts. (the circuit traces were never a consistent width)

    I suspect a cold toner transfer method would work better for detail parts, but I haven't had opportunity to try it out since my laser printer died on me.

    Cold toner transfer method: http://www.instructables.com/id/Heat...or-PCB-Making/


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    Quote Originally Posted by ranulf View Post
    I used the toner transfer method printed on magazine paper to make the masks. It works OK for basic circuit traces, but it's too inconsistent to make detail parts. (the circuit traces were never a consistent width)
    Is photo etching the best method for detailed parts? Using photo-sensitive chemicals and a UV light?

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    Quote Originally Posted by McNamee View Post
    Is photo etching the best method for detailed parts? Using photo-sensitive chemicals and a UV light?
    Yes, and I would posit that actual film masks made by photographic process is superior to the printed masks the Micro Mark kit produces, for the simple reason that photography can make finer lines than a printer can. Finding a print shop with a process camera these days tho, is like looking for an honest politician.

    That said, however, I would really like to try the cold toner transfer method to make detail parts sometime, and if anyone else experiments with it, I am fascinated to see your results.
    "Do Not Hump!?!?! Does that mean what I think it means?!?"--Michelle Blanchard

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    I used to make printed circuit boards for a living and we used to do brass and custom copper etching for customers. We would use a sleeve with the same image on both sides and apply photo resist that we would cure with an ultaviolite light and develope it and run it thru our etching machine which was heated ammonia and I believe copper sulfate, may be wrong it's been 20 years.. and then strip of the photo resist and have the finished parts. We would etch brass from. 005" to .025" but these were custom jobs of that thickness. And for half etch we would have solid resist on 1 side and an image on the other and speed up the conveyor depending on the depth the detail was to be. You could probably check if you have any circuit board shops in the area and they may do this for you at a nominal fee and if you give them the artwork they can do a step and repeat program or give them a cad drawing with multiple pieces you would like and they can make the film and you can put as many as you want on any given size of brass you want, for yourself and to sell. I know when we did this it was very cheap and quik..

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    Does anyone have advice about a spray on photoresist chemical? The Positiv 20 shown in the video is only available in Europe. What are people's thoughts about positive vs. negative photoresist? The film-based phtoresist seems like more trouble (although getting an even application of the spray-on photoresist seems be take practice as well).

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