Hello Trevor and Noel,
I use a Roland STX-8 Stika Plus to cut my vinyl. It is a very small
sign plotter. I think you can get it from places like Beacon
Graphics for about $525 these days.
I paid a lot more five years ago. The biggest selling point for me,
besides price, is that it prints directly from Corel Draw. Just
another print job.
There are many other resists you can use but vinyl is the only one I
have tried that lets me bead blast with the resist still on. Vinyl
also lets you do things in stages like the pieces I partially bead
Contact paper is essentially the same thing as sign vinyl… It just
needs to be cut by hand. You could transfer a laser print to the
contact paper or an ink jet print and then cut it out with a
Nail polish is another great resist. It will even stand up to nitric
or cyanide. However, it doesn’t last one second under bead blasting.
Several years ago I wanted to make a brass plate to put on one of my
displays to remind a wholesale account just who owned the display.
I coated the brass with nail polish and then applied a photo resist
(PhotoBrasive.com) and sand blasted through the nail polish and
etched with ferric chloride. It came out very crisp and clean. They
never returned the display but it was still a success to some extent.
The plaque looks way cool.
There are two types of photo resists for chemical etching that I
know of. I haven’t tried either one.
My intent with my post was not to extol vinyl but to share a
relatively non toxic and low tech way to etch silver. Transferring
designs is another topic entirely and I am happy to share my limited
I have been conversing with Trevor off list and he relates using
Sparex, citric acid, salt water…as a mordant. Experiment.
The one thing I would strongly advise is using only .5 to 1 volts.
Your resist is going to take a beating at anything over 2 volts.
I have learned so much from this forum over the years that I am
grateful to give back anything. I learned about this phosphoric acid
electro-etch on Orchid.
If you missed the original post, the url for this is
And the last word on the page is “Donate”. Are you getting this kind
of from any other source?