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Marking out

Copper Sulphate Marking out fluid.

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anthony daborn22/08/2014 18:02:01
8 forum posts

Hello fellow travellers,

Can any one remember the formulae for making copper sulphate marking out fluid? I seem to remember that it included copper sulphate crystals dissolved in hot water with the addition of dilute sulphuric acid but I have forgotten the ratios.

Can anyone help ?

Tony Daborn

JasonB22/08/2014 18:13:59
23039 forum posts
2769 photos
1 articles

Quite a long thread on the subject here

SteveW22/08/2014 18:14:36
135 forum posts
11 photos

I don't think its a fussy formula. Just dissolve as much copper sulphate as possible and don't worry about the acid. I cant remember ever putting any in. Bright steel with emery and dab a bit on.


Martin Cottrell22/08/2014 23:41:39
297 forum posts
18 photos

Brings back happy boyhood memories of "growing" huge blue crystals by dangling a tiny crystal tied to a cotton thread into a concentrated solution of copper sulphate!


Steve Withnell23/08/2014 10:00:21
848 forum posts
215 photos

When I first started up my home workshop (this century, not last ), I did make up some concentrated copper sulphate solution and put a few drops of battery acid into the mix. (100mL of solution or thereabouts).

One side effect is that clean steel does get a nice copper coat which prevents rusting...

I only ever use permanent spirit markers (Pentel, Sharpie...) now as it's just cleaner and simpler. There is also a choice of colours too-


anthony daborn24/08/2014 10:22:39
8 forum posts

Many thanks all. I shall go the straight forward route and dissolve the crystals and then if not successful add some acid based compound. I tried the permanent marker again yesterday but again found that unless the scribe was not at 90* to marker fluid as applied it was not easily seen.

Will let you all know the result


ChrisH24/08/2014 11:50:12
1018 forum posts
30 photos

I used so-called permanent markers, but found they weren't so permanent as they rubbed off easily especially if there was any oil around.

I have been recommended etch primer spray paint - have found that works well, stays put, marks are clear, and is no problem to remove when required.

Ian S C24/08/2014 11:54:31
7468 forum posts
230 photos

The only problem I'v had with marker pen is getting it all off again before painting, on the Stuart turner S9 the paint I used, and the (I thought) cleaned off marker disagreed with each other, requiring stripping, and repainting of a number of parts.

Ian S C

Vic24/08/2014 18:45:38
3089 forum posts
16 photos

I use these, they're very good and come off with meths afterwards. Far less messy than layout fluid.

Nigel McBurney 126/08/2014 17:56:56
1004 forum posts
3 photos

Whats wrong with traditional blue layout fluid,its been used for donkeys years and there was a lot of it spilled on benches, I travelled extensively around various machining ,and sheetmetal contractors plus a lot of toolmakers and never saw any copper sulphate used though its use was mentioned in various older tech books.For black plate whitewash and chalk were used though when the work was centre punched the chalk fell off. for black flat ,plate and angle ,grey aerosol primer really shows up scriber marks and primer can be painted over as most black iron finishes up painted.

george clegg26/08/2014 19:41:59
2 forum posts

I recently purchased a litre of traditional blue layout fluid. This much more than I will ever use. Nearly 80 in age.

Perhaps others may be interested in 20 ml or 100 ml plastic bottles.?

Rik Shaw26/08/2014 20:49:52
1484 forum posts
398 photos

I buy a sachet of copper sulphate from fleabay and dissolve a little in hot water. Store in 35mm film plastic storage pods and shake well before use - lasts ages.


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