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Etched engine maker's plate

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steamdave25/03/2017 23:56:50
403 forum posts
34 photos

I want a small fairly detailed stationary engine manufacturer's plate to be etched. A search on here doesn't bring up any names, so I'm asking the readership for suggestions. A google search lists several plate engravers and laser plate makers. The etchers that I have found concentrate on small scale railway stuff or larger scale engine name/number plates, etc.

I did have one guy who was going to do it for me, but after 9 months I'm still waiting because he has 'domestic problems'.

It has to be etched because the plate thickness will be not more than 30 thou with the area removed about half the original thickness.

Dave
The Emerald Isle

JasonB26/03/2017 07:41:09
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15034 forum posts
1532 photos

Have you tried Fox, look under "made to measure" for bespoke etching

mark smith 2026/03/2017 09:51:26
566 forum posts
296 photos

p1250953.jpgUsing a laser printer and ferric chloride would probably work quite well at that depth of etch. heres a southbend lathe QC Gear box plate i did and it was my first attempt.

p1250978.jpg

 

Edited By mark smith 20 on 26/03/2017 09:53:45

Phil P26/03/2017 12:04:41
446 forum posts
116 photos

Mark

I would be interested in a description of the steps you took to produce that plate if you wouldn't mind.

Cheers

Phil

Richard S226/03/2017 13:25:36
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155 forum posts
84 photos

Dave, At risk of offering a link to one you've already checked out, I offer this one to click on. They are used quite a lot by my colleagues on a few Vintage Machinery Forums. Won't be cheap though!.-

- Etched Plates-

Regards

mark smith 2026/03/2017 13:58:40
566 forum posts
296 photos

Phil,

Its quite simple the hardest part is painting the plate.

I bought a cheap used laser printer off ebay.In my case a Samsung ML-1860. It had half the original toner cartridge still in (worked great) and later found out that cheap compatable toner cartridges dont work very well.

I printed out the reverse image onto mylar drafting film using the best quality and blackest print settings.

I then placed it over the brass plate which was cleaned and polished before hand with alcohol or acetone and ironed the mylar on a hot setting .

p1250952.jpg

Carefully and slowly peeled off the mylar before it cooled too much and it leaves the black toner as a mask on the brass plate.If all goes well it should look like this.

p1250953.jpg

I then coated the back with a couple of coats of shellac,quick drying acrylic varnish will do,just to stop etching on the back of the plate.

I then prepared a simple warm bath of ferric chloride in an old icecream tub. I didnt take much notice of the strength of the solution but probably about 25gms in 1/2 litre of water.

Then just put it in the bath and gently tilted the tub occasionally to keep te solution a bit agitated.

You can use a very soft brush to brush the surface but after a while the toner becomes sensitive to abrasion.

Heres a different plate in the bath.

p1250986.jpg

Thats basically it ,clean off the toner with a dish cleaner scruber (like the scotchbrite pads).

Neil Wyatt26/03/2017 18:03:04
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Moderator
15700 forum posts
659 photos
73 articles

I use photo etching, bit expensive for a one-off unless you use sunlight as a UV source.

Neil

richardandtracy27/03/2017 11:58:05
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938 forum posts
10 photos

Simpler version of Mark Smith's method is to print on the paper here: **LINK** then iron on to work.

Regards,

Richard.

Maurice27/03/2017 12:07:15
431 forum posts
50 photos

When using ferric chloride to do the etching, it is worth remembering that oxygen is a catalyst to the reaction, and increasing the strength of the solution will actually slow things down. I was warned about this by a technician at a firm from which I scrounged some photo etch chemicals.

Maurice

mark smith 2027/03/2017 12:26:45
566 forum posts
296 photos
Posted by Maurice on 27/03/2017 12:07:15:

When using ferric chloride to do the etching, it is worth remembering that oxygen is a catalyst to the reaction, and increasing the strength of the solution will actually slow things down. I was warned about this by a technician at a firm from which I scrounged some photo etch chemicals.

Maurice

Maurice , i noticed this when i add more ferric chloride to the bath,it stopped the reaction.

The film that forms prevents the reaction and its a fine balance using the toner method between carefully brushing the surface with a soft brush and removing parts of the toner(which you dont want until your finished). If your not going very deep then just agitating the bath works.

I think i added some citric acid to the bath as well but cant remember, may have been something else.

Maurice27/03/2017 12:51:01
431 forum posts
50 photos

Hi Mark

This is why I thought I would pass on what I was told by the technician. The firm used to bubble the ferric chloride through a piece foam rubber to ensure plenty of oxygen would be present. I was advised to bubble plenty of air through the solution before use, and not to use too strong a solution.

Maurice

steamdave28/05/2017 20:31:57
403 forum posts
34 photos

Some time ago I requested etched plate suppliers details because my original contact had domestic problems and was unable to assist me.

Contacting the suggested possible etchers did not prove fruitful, but lo and behold my original etcher came back soon afterwards and said the plates were ready. I'm very pleased with his work and considering the condition of the original plate from which he had to work from, and the small size of the replica I would say it is a a job well done. The cost was very reasonable, too.

name plate - real.jpg

nameplate.jpg

If anyone needs etched name plates, then I would have no hesitation in recommending Peter's Plates
http://www.petersplates.co.uk/

Dave
The Emerald Isle

Phil P28/05/2017 22:06:09
446 forum posts
116 photos

Is Peter's Plates currently accepting orders ?

It appears from his website that is not the case, pity because I need one doing myself at some point.

Phil

Neil Wyatt28/05/2017 22:57:05
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Moderator
15700 forum posts
659 photos
73 articles
Posted by steamdave on 28/05/2017 20:31:57:

name plate - real.jpg

Well I have now tried gargoyling motor oil, and it leaves a pretty bad taste in the mouth, and it didn't result in any etching, just retching...

Neil

steamdave28/05/2017 23:06:30
403 forum posts
34 photos
Posted by Phil P on 28/05/2017 22:06:09:

Is Peter's Plates currently accepting orders ?

It appears from his website that is not the case, pity because I need one doing myself at some point.

Phil

Phil

Give him a holler. I've had to wait about 9 months for these. If I've got mine, maybe he's back in business pre-domestic situation.

Dave
The Emerald Isle

Massimo Dalmonte29/05/2017 21:04:07
15 forum posts
11 photos

"I use photo etching, bit expensive for a one-off unless you use sunlight as a UV source.

Neil"

Not necessarily so, here's a little contraption I made with aluminumm sheet, pop rivets and parts from the scrap box when I bought some photoresist PCB laminate at a fair; the vendor told me I could use a Philips TL 8 W tube (standard tube, but it seems they "leak" some UV radiation) for 90 seconds at a distance of 7 cm.

uvlightbox1.jpg

uvlightbox2.jpg

uvlightbox3.jpg

You simply put the "mask" (artwork on a printed drafting paper, best with a laser printer, but inkjet was about the same) on the pcb, a piece of glass over the two ( I quickly took it from a small display case I have, just to show that I'm a casual pcb "developer"...) and this gadget on top.

Results where consistent ( I always turned it on for a few minutes before using it on the pcb, to be sure that it had reached it's working temperature) radiation bounces on the inner walls. Working area 32x13 cm, TL tube axis height (guess...) 7 cm.

I searched now, and found that you can buy UV TL tubes, anyway I think that a standard tube is safer, as the exposition time is longer and plus\minus a couple of seconds won't ruin your pcb.

Anyway experiment on small samples of the pcb laminate you have before trying "full size".

Cheers,

Massimo

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