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Nitric acid etch


#1

I have started etching copper in a 4:1 water - nitric acid solution,
and in my research I found that when using a Ferric Chloride solution
it becomes less effective after a few uses and needs to be replaced.
I would presume due to the strength of nitric it would not lose it’s
etching quality. Could someone advise if I am correct in this
assumption, or will it also need replacing?

Lorraine Allan


#2

Nitric Acid goes a long way, it just starts to slow down but it will
etch a lot of copper, brass or silver, but beware it will give you a
good burn to, have some baking soda and make a solution with water
and a bunch of baking soda to rinse you’re hands and pieces
afterwards (use gloves and plastic apron, of course nitric is a
serious acid)

the thing with Nitric is that not all the resists you use with
ferric will withstand Nitric (tar diluted in gasoline or thinner
works well but is a bit messy)

cover you’re pieces in acid and use a feather to brush away bubbles
from the surface, acid is much faster than ferric so check constantly
for it will eat away you’re resist from under it,

Don’t forget to add acid to water and not the other way around ! use
protection and a Pirex container since the reaction of acid and
water is “exothermic” it heats up and will warp a plastic bottle or
crack cheap glass

have you tried electricity and salt water ? its looks pretty safe
and simple (I haven’t used it but youtube it it looks very
interesting)


#3

Have you tried using salt water and a battery instead of the acid
for etching copper?

It’s working pretty well for me and I get to skip the whole acid
handling/safety/disposal issue, too.


#4

Be carefull with fumes, there are poisonues. I use Ferric Chloride
with small amounts of Citric Acid and it works fine for a couple of
years.

regards Pawel Bielawski


#5
I would presume due to the strength of nitric it would not lose
it's etching quality. 

Sorry, but there’s no free lunch. Etchants work by combining with
the copper to make a soluble salt, which is then washed away. In the
process, the etchant is depleted and will need to be replenished.

Al Balmer


#6

David, How does one etch using the salt water and battery method?
can you explain please, thanks!

Carol A. Guenther


#7

Have you tried using salt water and a battery instead of the acid for
etching copper?

It’s working pretty well for me and I get to skip the whole acid
handling/safety/disposal issue, too.

I too use salt water and electricity for etching copper. Has anyone
tried this method on silver? And if so, does it work?

I find that the waste coppery brine makes a super weed killer on my
driveway, provided you get the weeds while they’re small.

Janet


#8

I noticed a couple people on this thread mentioned that nitric is a
pretty serious acid.

One thing not mentioned is that if you accidently splash even one
tiny drop into your eyes you will be blind for the rest of your
life! I use a full face shield whenever I work with nitric acid, and
recommend anyone working with it do the same.

Paf Dvorak


#9

Etching metal is a passion of mine. There is am article on Ganoksin
that might help. Safety is number 1. Having nitric around is hard to
dispose. Ferricchloride or ferric nitrate are slow and detailed.

Look up Photocopy Transfer Etch on Ganoksin.
http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam/photocopy_transfer_etch.htm

Here to help.
Karen Christians


#10
I too use salt water and electricity for etching copper. Has
anyone tried this method on silver? And if so, does it work? 

A solution of sodium chloride, common salt, does not work for
silver.

However, a solution of cupric nitrate does etch silver. Keep an eye
on it because it etches fast.

Cheers.

John Fetvedt
bijoux-de-terre.com


#11

Hi Carol,

I learned from Arthur Hash. He’s got a good write-up at

I’ll be glad to answer questions (if I can).


#12

You can use the electro-etch process to etch silver. Mix 10 grams of
silver nitrate crystals with 500 ml of distilled water and set the
rectifier at about 1 milliamp.


#13

Hi,

It does not work on silver. I’ve tried. I use a different chemical
for that.

-m