By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Forum House Ad Zone

Making nameplates

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
John Rutzen13/03/2019 17:06:24
348 forum posts
19 photos

Hi, I am trying to make the nameplates for my 5 inch gauge Crampton Locomotive ' Le Continent'. It's not a produced design so i can't buy a set. I've managed to create the artwork using Open Office. Photoshop would have been a lot better but I don't have it. I am using negative photo resist film which you can get cheaply on eBay . The difficulty I am having is getting it to stick successfully to the brass sheet. I think the correct temperature is 110 degree C. Using a domestic iron bubbles the material up. Putting the brass on the iron and heating it works better but not 100%. Has anyone any experience of this stuff please? Usually it's used to make pcbs and a laminator is used. I haven't got one to try that but anyway I think the problem would be it wouldnt go through slowly enough to heat the brass.

Brian H13/03/2019 18:32:24
2312 forum posts
112 photos

Hello John, cannot exactly help you with that one but I was in a similar position of wanting nameplates for model traction engines.

I am fortunate in having a sign company locally who took my artwork and lasercut individual letters in Perspex so that I could glue them onto a Perspex background to make a full-sized pattern.

My aim is to use this as a template to follow on my Alexandra engraving machine to produce smaller replicas in brass to suit my models.

This technique could also be used to produce a pattern that could be cast in brass.

I'd already had a professional sign company attempt an etched nameplate but the problem there is the that etchant removes metal sideways, under the artwork, as well as etching the depth, which for a 5" loco would need to be quite deep to look convincing.


AJW13/03/2019 18:36:27
377 forum posts
137 photos



John Rutzen13/03/2019 19:51:20
348 forum posts
19 photos

Hi , i've managed some of them, I'll put up some pics if I can figure how to. The trouble is that it's a bit hit and miss!

pgk pgk13/03/2019 20:39:59
2552 forum posts
293 photos

Possibly an off-the-wall suggestion but have you consdiered popping the brass into a waterproof bag and boiling it for long enough to get to temp before applying the sheet?


Nimble13/03/2019 20:56:24
59 forum posts
4 photos

There is also a product that was used in the printing industry called “Nyloprint” that used (I think an alcohol solution) to do the etching. (

From memory using a point source light and the transparent nature of the plastic a shoulder is automatically developed, these could possibly used as patterns for casting.

This could be food for thought and investigation!

Stuart Smith 513/03/2019 21:04:57
274 forum posts
40 photos

You could try Pressnpeel. It is a blue sheet that you print onto using a laser printer or photocopier. You then iron onto your brass sheet and when peeled back it leaves the black resist for etching.

I have used it for producing PCBs but recently made a couple of etched patterns onto brass for wood brands. I didn't manage to etch very deep, but deep enough I would think for a loco nameplate. I intend to use this technique to produce nameplates for my 16mm scale loco.

Nimble13/03/2019 21:05:57
59 forum posts
4 photos

How to split messages?

John Rutzen13/03/2019 21:11:58
348 forum posts
19 photos

Boil in the bag nameplates? Need to roller the stuff on which would be difficult but it could work if I worked quick enough. I'm using a domestic iron but the heat control is very crude. About 1 in 4 is good but I'm half way there!

Another JohnS13/03/2019 21:19:43
832 forum posts
56 photos


I made some for a friend by engraving from artwork. Did write this up for Diane, but article was probably too long and the software was free, so has not appeared in print.

In essence, I drew it up, saved it as a jpeg file, and sent it into LinuxCNC, which understands image formats and will engrave from that.

All I needed to get was some engraving cutters, From my album, the first results:

simplex truck parts

Stuart Smith 513/03/2019 21:55:48
274 forum posts
40 photos

I etched this after using pressnpeel sheet with the design printed using a laser printer.

I heated the brass in the oven and then pressed it onto the sheet.

I used Sodium persulphate from CPC as the etchant. It is clear so is easier to see what's happening than ferric chloride. It works best at 50 deg c.

etched brass

Stuart Smith 513/03/2019 21:57:35
274 forum posts
40 photos

The etched brass in my previous post is 28mm diameter.

John Rutzen13/03/2019 22:07:34
348 forum posts
19 photos

The engraved ones look excellent but they will need cnc software? Did you get them done by an outside firm? I wasn't quite sure whether you did them yourself?

I was going to go the press n peel route but reading the original article in MEW it's not so easy to get the image onto the brass either. I am electro etching using a lab power supply and copper sulphate . This works very well, taking about 2-3 hours to etch. It doesn't seem to undercut strangely. Gets plenty deep enough for the paint filling.

John Rutzen14/03/2019 12:34:40
348 forum posts
19 photos

Hi , I've got a photo of a finished one but can't figure how to upload it? I'm using a macbook. Any ideas please?

John Rutzen14/03/2019 12:40:12
348 forum posts
19 photos

I've created an album in Photos on my mac but when i click the icon above it says 'No albums found'?

John Haine14/03/2019 13:57:08
4630 forum posts
273 photos

I engraved these for a member here...


Will PM you.

John Rutzen14/03/2019 14:18:39
348 forum posts
19 photos


John Rutzen14/03/2019 14:21:30
348 forum posts
19 photos

As you can see the result isn't professional quality but it's adequate for my model. My son did the artwork on Autocad but it took him a long time and he's good at it!. Unfortunately the only way we could reverse it and get a negative was by taking a screenshot an using that so we lost resolution.

SillyOldDuffer14/03/2019 15:04:00
8492 forum posts
1896 photos
Posted by John Rutzen on 14/03/2019 14:21:30:


Unfortunately the only way we could reverse it and get a negative was by taking a screenshot an using that so we lost resolution.

Not sure about AutoCAD, but most CAD tools create text in blocks of fixed characters specifically so you don't get a negative when you mirror the block. It ensures text always remains readable, which is usually what's wanted.

Everything else can be mirrored, and an efficient way of producing a symmetric object is to draw one half only and to create the other side with a single mirror command.

To produce a true negative of a word you have to first select the text and Explode it . (Explode converts complex objects like text into their component arcs and lines.) Once broken into parts, reselect the whole lot and mirror that. As the components are now ordinary arcs and lines, they should mirror as wanted.

Of course once text has been exploded, you can't edit it as text any more. Double check spelling!


Russell Eberhardt14/03/2019 16:20:10
2728 forum posts
86 photos

I've used photoresist from Ebay to etch a brass clock dial on 1.5 mm brass sheet. I used an A3 laminator purchased cheaply from Lidl and ran the thing through the laminator twice to make sure of the adhesion. It was exposed using the sun for about 3 seconds to get even exposure as I don't have a light box.

There is a good guide to doing the job here.

A couple of photos showing the developed resist and the finished product with the engraving filled with celulose paint:




All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Eccentric July 5 2018
Eccentric Engineering
Rapid RC
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest