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Muriatic Acid


#1

Can Muratic Acid be used to etch copper? I was told that
Muratic acid can be used to etch copper, but It will not etch
silver. I have tried to find about muriatic acid,
but all of the I found was for masons, and how to
use it to clean concrete etc… Are there any books that cover
acid etching in depth, explanig diferent chemicals to use, how
to use them safly and how to properly dispose of the chemicals
when they are nolonger usable?

Isaac Coblentz


#2

Muriatic Acid is also known as Hydrocloric acid or HCl. Nitric
is commonly used to etch silver.

Rick Hamilton
Richard D. Hamilton, Jr
http://www.rick-hamilton.com
@rick_hamilton


#3

On 04-May-97, The Coblentzes wrote aboutMuriatic Acid:

TC> Can Muratic Acid be used to etch copper?

Note: muriatic acid has been called hydrochloric acid for about
100 years now! No, it won’t etch copper, but will remove oxide
and sulphide staining from a copper or brass surface. It burns
holes in clothes and gives off a choking vapour. It won’t touch
silver either.

Nitric acid will etch and dissolve copper, and silver, (does not
react alone with gold) giving off a brown gas called nitrogen
dioxide. This is poisonous, choking and nasty. Nitric acid is
also nasty, also gives off a choking vapour, stains fingers and
other flesh bright yellow which won’t wash off, and burns like
hell! Unless you are used to handling chemicals, keep off these
two acids.

But Ferric Chloride solid dissolves easily in water, is
reasonably inoccuous, no fumes or burns (but don’t ingest it!)
and eats into copper without problems - electronics folk use it
all the time for making printed circuits. You can buy it at a
good electronics hobby outlet, and your local pharmacists might
sell it.

Books from your local library on photo etching, or alternative
photo materials will give you lots of detail. Modern Librarians
just love to help. To dispose of the waste chemical just flush it
down the toilet with copious amounts of water to dilute it and
you won’t cause inviro problems with the amount you will use.
Have a go! Cheers,

        /\
       / /    John Burgess, 
      / /
     / //\    @John_Burgess2
    / / \ \
   / (___) \
  (_________)

#4

In a message dated 97-05-03 22:27:16 EDT, you write:

Can Muratic Acid be used to etch copper? I was told that Muratic
acid can be used to etch copper, but It will not etch silver.

Isaac, Muratic acid is basically a weak Hydrochloric acid.
Nitric acid will eat the hell out of copper and silver - and if
nitric and hydrochloric are mixed together- you end up with aqua
regia which is used in refining gold. I havent done any etching,
but I have done alot of refining and assaying. Be careful working
with acids! If you ever mix acids with water, remember the three
A’s." Always Add Acid "to the water- not vice versa or you could
end up splattering it all over yourself. Also make sure you have
a good ventilation system setup.

Ken


#5

Etching of copper can be done easily and very safely with pc
board etch liquid available at most radio shack stores. Its
sodium something or other and is not an acid and very safe.
Resists to use are sharpie markers or ironed on laser toner from
acetate prints. Works real well only on copper…Dave

Art Jewelry for Conscious People
http://www.opendoor.com/stephensdesign/crystalguy.html


#6

Etching of copper can be done easily and very safely with pc
board etch liquid available at most radio shack stores. Its
sodium something or other and is not an acid and very safe.
Resists to use are sharpie markers or ironed on laser toner from
acetate prints. Works real well only on copper…Dave

Dave, I just bought some feric cloride. I tried to use a
sharpie marker as the resist, and the bath ate away my desighn.
It was only a test so it is no great loss, but what did I do
wrong. Also, I usualy use asphaltum in a nitric bath. I like
my pices to have a farly deep etch, will the feric cloride
produce an ethch that is a few mm deep?

Isaac


#7

Isaac: I’ve only tried it a few times and it worked perfectly. I
used a toner iron-on stuff for laser printers. A sharpie should
work fine. One thing you have to do is put the copper plate in
FACE DOWN and suspended so it doesn’t sit on the bottom. I don’t
know how deep it will etch, its kind of a crude process not meant
for super fine detail. Dave

www.opendoor.com/stephensdesign/crystalguy.html
Art Jewelry from Crystalguy, a Mineral Experience


#8

Dave, I just bought some feric cloride. I tried to use a
sharpie marker as the resist, and the bath ate away my design.
It was only a test so it is no great loss, but what did I do
wrong. Also, I usualy use asphaltum in a nitric bath. I like
my pices to have a farly deep etch, will the feric cloride
roduce an ethch that is a few mm deep?

ISAAC: The other thing I didn’t mention is you must clean the
copper perfectly before doing this technique. Use a scotchbrite
pad and scrub the heck out of it and then clean with acetone,
there must be no oils at all on the surface so don’t touch it
either after cleaning. Then use your sharpie or toner
resist…Dave

www.opendoor.com/stephensdesign/crystalguy.html
Art Jewelry from Crystalguy, a Mineral Experience


#9

Etching of copper can be done easily and very safely with pc
board etch liquid available at most radio shack stores. Its
sodium something or other and is not an acid and very safe.
Resists to use are sharpie markers or ironed on laser toner from
acetate prints. Works real well only on copper…Dave

Dave,  I just bought some feric cloride.  I tried to use a
sharpie marker as the resist, and the bath ate away my desighn. 
It was only a test so it is no great loss, but what did I do
wrong. Also, I  usualy use asphaltum in a nitric bath.  I like
my pices to have a farly deep etch, will the feric cloride
produce an ethch that is a few mm deep? 

Isaac

Hey: did I ever reply to this? You have to scrub the copper with
a Scotch pad or steel wool thats not oiled then clean with
acetone. Then use your sharpie and don’t touch the metal with
your fingers as the oil will resist. Its that easy. You can also
buy laster printable pc board transfer paper and do wild things
that way. The laser stuff will even work fairly well with silver
and nitric acid if you don’t need really fine detail…Dave

Kickass Websites for the Corporate World http://www.kickassdesign.com
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#10
Dave,  I just bought some feric cloride.  I tried to use a
sharpie marker as the resist, and the bath ate away my desighn.
It was only a test so it is no great loss, but what did I do
wrong. Also, I  usualy use asphaltum in a nitric bath.  I like
my pices to have a farly deep etch, will the feric cloride
produce an ethch that is a few mm deep?

I did quite a lot of Ferric Chloride etching on brass and copper
a few years ago. Sharpies will not give as good a resist as
other methods, but they do leave you with an irregular surface
that can be worked into the design. One thing about Sharpies,
You can NOT go over a line. If you try to redraw, you will
eliminate more of the old line than put down a new one. The
method I finally ended up using is:

Go to an art store and get a sheet of Frisket Paper. It’s used
by artists and signmakers. Draw your design on the Frisket and
apply the frisket to the metal. Then cut out your design with an
Xacto knife and use Spray paint (Blackworks best) as a resist.
When the paint is dry (30 min or so) peel the paper off and the
resist (Paint) is on the metal. I spray painted the back too
before doing the front.

As for cleaning, I first put the metal in piclke then wash and
wipe with denatured alcohol followed by a wash and final wipe
with acetone to remove any water left on. 15 min under a
lightbulb or in a sunny window will give you a nice clean
surface.

This is simplified, if anyone wants more detailes post on the
list or e-mail off list with the word etching in the subject

Be nice to your kids. They’ll choose your nursing home.

Bobert


#11

Just a quick note on using Ferric Chloride.

I used to use a lot of this some years ago when I was making
custom printed circuit boards.

It’s possible to etch fairly deeply with it but it has a nasty
habit of starting to eat away under the resist as it exposes the
copper. It’s really better for shallow etching. I guess that it
would be possible to etch and then check the edges of the resist
before continuing to etch further.

Like I saud, I’ve only used it for shallow etching of circuit
boards and I’ve never tried deep etching.

Regards,

Kerry

| Website - http://www.bennie.demon.co.uk/ |
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|Isle of Benbecula, Outer Hebrides HS7 5PG Kingdom of Scotland |
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#12

Yeah, I want more info on etching copper with ferric
chloride…mainly because I wanted a cheap way to practice
etching. So, I took myself to Radio Shack and got a big bottle of
ferric chloride. Trouble is, they didn’t have any resist pens in
stock. I also realize that PC board ething is a very thin etch.
I had hoped that a longer dunking might work.


#13

If you are etching copper in ferric, be sure that it is facing
down. You can speed up the etch by “bubbling” with a fish tank
air stone and pump. I get a pretty deep etch using ferric,
enough so that I can enamel for champleve. Radio Shack has
pretty substandard ferric. Try Zacryl
(http://www.10mb.com/zacryl/) for ferric. It’s great.

What are you trying to etch?
-k

Karen Christians
Fly Fish Design
282 Lexington Street
Woburn, MA 01801
781/937-3827

@metalart


#14

Karen… when I’ve tried deep etching with ferric
chloride in copper I got significant undercuts at the edges of
the pattern, that is the edges were not vertical but had pockets
under the edges. Is that your experience too ? If not , how did
you overcome this classic difficulty ? Sol K.