Etching, Undercuts, and Enamel

I am considering getting some etching done commercially for the purposes of making champleve enamelled pieces with. However, I want to make sure this is going to be feasible before I go ahead with it, as I’ve never done it before.

The thickest copper the company I am looking to work with use is 2mm, and they have said 0.5mm is the deepest they can go with the etching on either side of the sheet. They have also mentioned the undercut, which I intend to design around.

I can’t find a decent explanation of the undercut or how it would impact enamelling anywhere. I’ve been checking in books and online. So my questions here are:

Is 2mm with 0.5mm deep etching enough to work with properly with enamel?

Does the term undercut refer to an even eating away at the walls of the piece, or is it going to lead to the walls being thinner at their base?

Will the undercut lead to the enamel cracking, and what can be done to prevent it?


You will need to ask your vendor how they produce the undercut, either by design like the walls are slanted at some angle, or they use something like a bur or other cutter to carve out some area by the base and the wall junction.

If you don’t have some amount of undercut, the enamel is just held in by the weak bonds between it and the metal surface. If the part was to expand and contract, it might cause the enamel to pop loose.

Thanks for responding. So is some amount of undercut a good thing with the enamel? I was worried it would make it crack.

Yes, I believe that is true and something I strive for when I design pieces for enameling using the champleve technique.

The procedure followed while enameling is the biggest contributor to cracking based on my experience. Thin layers and lots of patience or else cracks and spalls can occur.

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Thanks :slight_smile: