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Silver Etching


#1

Dear Orchidians, I have requirements of making specialisez KEYCHAINS
from Silver Sheet having 3mm thickness. I want to ETCH silver metal
0.5mm deep and for that I need your technical help.Is it possible to
ETCH silver metal only by chemical dipping? Which chemical and what
is the process sequence? If only chemical process is not possible,
then how to do the etching by Electrochemical process? Please suggest
Chemicals and current details. Also please suggest me reading material
on this subject. Awaiting your positive response, Thanking you,
Sincerely, DINESH PATEL. @dineshpatel


#2

Hello Dinesh, It is possible and simple to etch silver. Use nitric
acid approx 35-40% Cover the silver with some asphalt solution (etch
ground) Draw, scratch with a needle, in the etch ground your wanted
details. Hang your object into the nitric acid with a plastic or a
titanium wire. It takes approx 10 minutes to etch 0.5 down at room
temperature (20 degr C). Do some experimenting and remember the fumes
coming of the acid are very dangerous.

Martin Niemeijer


#3

hello silver can be etched using nitric acid, or ferric chloride.
ferric gives a cleaner edge. depending on the strngth of the acid and
how deep you want it to go, you may need to leave it in the bath for
30 mins, more or less. ferric can be purchased at dick smith
electronics for cheap. nail polish is a good fast drying resist, or
iron on transparency film that has a photocopied image on it can also
act as a resist. experimentation is recommended.

good luck.


#4
Dear Orchidians, I have requirements of making specialisez
KEYCHAINS from Silver Sheet having 3mm thickness. I want to ETCH
silver metal 0.5mm deep and for that I need your technical help.Is
it possible to ETCH silver metal only by chemical dipping? Which
chemical and what is the process sequence? If only chemical process
is not possible, then how to do the etching by Electrochemical
process? Please suggest Chemicals and current details. Also please
suggest me reading material on this subject. Awaiting your positive
response, Thanking you, Sincerely, DINESH PATEL.
dineshpatel@icenet.net 

Dear Orchidians, In response to the question below, could I ask a
further question to go with it. I only know of Nitric acid for etching
silver are there any others? Could someone please explain the dangers
of nitric acid and how best to handle it? I know it makes your skin go
yellow if it gets on you. How do you store Nitric acid safely and in
what sort of containers?

I used it a long time ago and I think it was watered down, we had to
put a resist on the back where you did not want to etch. We wore thick
rubber gloves goggles and face mask, it was quite daunting. I got some
excellent results but the whole chemical process and danger put me off
so I did not continue to use Nitric Acid. Marjorie.


#5

Marjorie—I do quite a bit of silver etching using Nitric Acid. If
handled properly it is perfectly safe. Always remember to add the
acid to the water (never the other way around), do not allow it to
get on your skin. Keep some baking soda handy in case you get
careless and some of it splashes. The soda will neutralize it. I
store it in its glass jug (I get a gallon at a time), and keep the
jug in a plastic bucket so that it cannot be tipped over. Just use
common sense, and concentrate on what you are doing and you will not
have any problems. it is far less dangerous to use than some of the
other things we work with regularly—torches, buffing wheels, etc.
–Alma


#6

I believe you meant to write that silver can be etched with ferric
nitrate. Ferric chloride works for copper and brass, but not silver.


#7

Morning Marjorie, The best substitute for Nitric acid when etching is
ferric nitrate (ferric chloride is for copper and its alloys only).
Nitric acid is something you really don’t want to keep or use. Let’s
face it s, your skin turning yellow will only happen if you’re
extremely lucky - nitric acid produces a lot worse results. The fumes
will damage your lungs, the solution will burn holes through your skin
and into your hands/arms/affected areas. Wearing gloves only helps
as there is something between you and the acid that you can
(hopefully) rip off before it touches your skin. Scary? you better
believe it. But if handled with the caution it deserves, you can use
it safely. Nitric acid should be stored in glass containers AWAY from
other oxidising agents (such as other acids). Use it in well
ventilated areas, wear appropriate safety gear (including a properly
rated mask, gloves, long sleeved coat and shoes that are covered -
not open. In otherwords, full skin coverage) and have a source of
water and bunding (rags) in case of emergence at hand. If you want
any more just ask. Eileen Procter


#8
hello silver can be etched using nitric acid, or ferric chloride.
ferric gives a cleaner edge.  

Sorry; Ferric Chloride doesn’t work well on silver at all. It’s for
copper based metals. Try Ferric Nitrite.

Greg