Moving etched metal

I am attempting to construct several sugar casters for various
holiday gifts- I will be electro-etching the designs and piercing on
the outer visible surfaces and have a question about mechanical
process- (data for the plates etched- 18 ga for the spoon bowl and
the cover with the design).

I am trying to prevent the distortion of the design and as well
economize my efforts. My thought process is that to etch, drill and
then dish/dome the caster would be a more efficient process- but
would the dapping process distort the design and warp the previously
drilled holes or cause the thinner etched design borders to
split/stretch? (All plates to be etched are at dead soft prior to

Thanks ahead of time for the advice!

Holes will distort, drill after forming; dome in wood or delrin with
wood and/or delrin punches for the least distortion of the etched
metal; this is where a hydraulic press is very handy. Metal between
metal & metal will be thinned and become distorted because the
crystalline structure of the metal is changes. And then there are
sugar casters and sugar casters. All depends on the amount of detail
and the shape of the prospective formed piece. Could be a huge
undertaking! Do a practice piece in copper first and all your
questions will be answered.

Kay Taylor

Hi Judy,

I have a piece in which I etched, plated, then domed, then did it
the other way, dome (or raise, shape, forge, whatever), plated areas,
then etched. I must say that etching then plating last has its

  1. no change in the etch design on the one that I shaped completely
    before etching & plating.

  2. less waste of plating materials in the final project, as I had
    also done some piercing work, and what was cut away did not take up
    the plating solution, i.e. what I removed in piercing on the second
    one did not have wasted plating.

I think it will be up to you in the long run, but I found that doing
ALL of the work prior to my etching was the best way to go.