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  • Etching Silver

    Hello,

    I need to etch some silver. I did photo-etching at uni and it was all very easy because they had everything there. But now I have left I can't do photo-etching anymore (because I can't afford the fancy blue light sensitive gunk or the light box) I am just going to use the stop out varnish which I can get easily from cooksons-but i have no idea where to get the nitric acid from. Has anyone here done etching on silver? I would be grateful for some tips and pointers.

    Thanks!
    www.clarenash.co.uk

  • #2
    I always use ferric nitrate as a "safer" version of nitric acid which you can get from walshes. Its probably slower than the acid though.

    You can create a resist in two ways but you will need a photocopier/lazer printer. You can get a precoated sheet of resist from Maplins that they sell for making home printed circuit boards. You print or photocopy the resist design onto it and then iron literally the sheet onto the metal, where the black areas will transfer onto the metal. you then etch as per usual. Alternatively you can photocopy/print the design onto clear acetate (laser ohp sheets) and place the printed side face down on the metal and iron as before. This is the slightly cheaper way as once the PCB sheet is exposed you can't use the rest of the sheet again.

    I'll try to dig out a tutorial link I had once.
    Nettie

    Ng Jewellery
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    • #3
      Thanks

      Thanks Nettie thats brilliant- if you do find that link it owuld be really useful. would stop out varnish work too? Does the acetate not dissolve in the ferric nitrate?
      www.clarenash.co.uk

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      • #4
        Nettie-

        Do you have a laser cutter/etcher thingy? The small ones not the huge industrial ones.
        www.clarenash.co.uk

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        • #5
          Sorry I forgot I can't post links yet but try here
          ganoksin ............ photocopy_transfer_etch.htm

          Basically you are transfering the toner from the photocopy off of the acetate onto the metal to for a resist. The acetate never comes into contact with the etch solution. A magic marker, nail varnish, stop out varnish etch would also work. I just use the photocopier at work cos its free!!
          Nettie

          Ng Jewellery
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          • #6
            even i'm scared of nitric acid! so i'd stick to the ferric nitrate. the fumes from nitric acid apparently numbs your sense of smell so you cant smell you're nose hair burning! not nice.
            a slower etch is a better etch anyway.

            i've tryed that photocopy acetate resist and i was realy happy with the outcomes.

            i'm experimenting on using a mild acid (weak borax solution) and electricity to etch silver, if i every get it pefected then i'll post the info.

            Chris

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            • #7
              Ok thanks guys-I guess I will just have a play and see what works best for what I want- I was a bit scared of using nitric acid- I used it a college but then we had extracting fans and massive rubber gloves and goggles.

              I looked on walshes and they didnt have ferric nitrate just nitric acid- I'll just give them a ring and see if they do have it in stock.
              www.clarenash.co.uk

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              • #8
                Dont suppose you know where I can get some potassium sulphide? To patinate some silver?
                www.clarenash.co.uk

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                • #9
                  Anywhere that sells liver of sulphur. Walshes do but in large tubs. The precious metal clay people tend to do smaller quantities although......

                  you can do the egg trick!!!

                  Hard boil an egg and allow to cool. Place your silver to be patinated in a ziplok bag or tupperware box with lid. Remove the shell from the egg, mush it up and then place at the other end of the bag/box. Seal and place in the fridge until you have the colour you want!
                  Nettie

                  Ng Jewellery
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                  • #10
                    ooo really! How interesting..how many months does it have to stay there?! I don't want it walking out the door with my silver.
                    www.clarenash.co.uk

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                    • #11
                      overnight should do it. Of course the more eggs you use the faster it is. have a play with some scrap!!!
                      Nettie

                      Ng Jewellery
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                      • #12
                        http://www.megauk.com/pcb_chemicals.php

                        found ferric nitrate- and all sorts of photo resist grounds
                        www.clarenash.co.uk

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                        • #13
                          Thanks

                          I am going to go and buy some eggs now-will let you know how it goes.
                          www.clarenash.co.uk

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                          • #14
                            I heard about this meathod but you have to varnisit to make it more permenent.
                            "You've Got to Keep Your Mind Wide Open" - AnnaSophia Robb
                            my Folksy shop Goldy'sclearoutblog debaynewebdesign


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                            • #15
                              Having done both LOS and eggs they are about as permanent as each other. Both will wear off in about the same time (abrasion etc). so if you want something really permanent you would have to varnish in either case. The advantage of LOS solution is that you can apply it to selected areas with a paintbrush, but the eggs do everything at once.
                              Nettie

                              Ng Jewellery
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