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Etching steel and rust prevention


#1

I understand I can etch mild steel. How can I prevent it from
rusting? Or, do I sand off any rust after etching and then seal?
Thx! Not a lot of time to experiment first this time. Brenda


#2

Is the method of etching steel the same way you etch copper? Or are
there some tricks to steel? And can an iron on resist work on steel?
I read to etch for short time, remove and steel wool and etch again
several times. But after you remove from etch the first time your
pattern or pic is gone. How does that work

thx, brenda


#3

Brenda,

I found electrical etching mild steel to be exhausting (scraping
gunk off plate every 20 minutes for hours), disgustingly messy(oh
that gunk), too time consuming (hours) and not worth the
trouble(image not very deep or crisp). Maybe if there was another
technique.

Esta Jo Schifter
shiftingmetal.com


#4

With a proper resist, electro-etching steel works pretty well. I use
iron sulfate as my etch bath and it only takes 35-45m for a good
etch without having to wipe off the steel during the etch. You can’t
use toner only for a resist as it will get removed in the bath. A
good UV film works better. I have a tutorial at

(unfortunately it’s out of date w.r.t. resists, as I no longer do
toner transfer and haven’t had a chance to update it with the new
method I use).


#5

Left a small piece of mild steel in ferric chloride for an hour and
almost no results. What I nail polished and scratched out, that
etched. What I stamped with stazon did not etch. I had it set on a
coffee pot warmer and a vibrator taped on, too.

Should I leave the steel in for several hourse
thx brenda


#6

Esta Jo -

When electrical etching mild steel with a salt solution, add some
citric acid to the salt solution. It keeps the nasty gunk out and
speeds up the etch.

Judy Hoch


#7

I have etched mild steel with some decent results. I use Ferric
Chloride and suspend the steel in a Rubbermaid-style container. With
steel, I find the solution needs to be constantly agitating to keep
from getting a buildup. I purchased some low-cost “fish bubblers” and
attached them to the inside of the container. You might have to leave
the steel in the solution for several hours. I also used the standard
PNP blue paper.


#8
When electrical etching mild steel with a salt solution, add some
citric acid to the salt solution. It keeps the nasty gunk out and
speeds up the etch. 

Might the citric acid also help to reduce the crud when electro
etching copper and brass with salt water?

I was told that this “crud” is “sodium hydroxide (lye) and copper
chloride”. After the etch bath sits overnight, this crud settles to
the bottom of the tank. I syphon off the clear solution to re-use
(with added salt) and pour the crud into a bottle to take to the
hazardous waste site. I am very careful to wear proper gloves to
protect my skin at all times. Also safety goggles. just in case.

Carol Holaday