Sunday, 15 September 2013

Etcher – Instrument Panel design – Part 3

Today I attempted to put the etcher into practice and make the instrument panel for the device. I say “attempted” because, it didn’t work very well.


I transferred the image onto the brass plate, mixed a saline solution and gave it a whirl.


The negative charge was connected to the bath by way of another brass plate off-cut.

I painted the back of the work-piece with black enamel paint and connected a piece of wire to the work-piece with some electrical tape.


After some time in the bath (about 40 minutes) nothing much had happened. The transfer was able to be peeled off the work-piece, so I guess it didn’t adhere properly. Also, the enamel paint peeled off the back of the work-piece … so not much of a resist.

I next tried soldering the wire onto the work-piece and using duct-tape as a resist on the back of the work-piece.

To make sure that the work-piece was held off the bottom of the bath, I put in some marbles.


Again, the transfer peeled off, and  the tape started to come off the back of the work-piece.


Disappointing result.

There is a deposit on the negative plate, so obviously something was happening … maybe just not enough.

There are a couple of possibilities:

  1. My use of a 6.8 volt AC adapter may not be enough to make the reaction work properly;
  2. The paper that I am using to print the design on may not be suitable;
  3. I may not have cleaned the paper off the design enough (to leave only the laser toner on the plate);
  4. Something else that I haven’t worked out yet.

I have done this before with steel and a 12 Volt power supply (a car battery charger). So maybe I need to go back to steel and/or the 12 Volt power supply to see if I can get it working that way.

Oh well. I may not have got the results that I planned, but I am not giving up just yet.


  1. I tend to find the gaffer tape comes off in the ampage is to high, Something which i have tried as a resist Beeswax, I am thinking might be a good way to hold the anode in place

  2. Thanks Chance, I'll give that a go. I have loads of beeswax and parafin from when I was making my own modelling wax.


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