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Steel etching

Hello! I am looking into making some steel punches for stamping
designs into sheet goods. I don’t have the money to have someone
else do it but I prefer to make my own tools most of the time
anyway. I’ll be using heat treated carbon steel for the punches. The
designs are going to be too fine for files and the like so I’m
wanting to try a chemical etch. Any advice concerning different
mordants, resists, or anything else of a related nature would be
appreciated. Most of the things I’m hoping to etch will be 1/4" or
so and smaller. If this sounds like a pipe-dream I’d also like to
hear that as well, along with any reasons you might care to share. To
start off, I’ll be stamping annealed brass and copper sheet but I’d
like to be able to use them on sterling and the like at a later
date. I’m wanting to use my own custom designs. Thanks, folks.


Hello Mike, I have etched all my stamps, and the smallest is 2 mm
with a monogram etched in it.

Use following like I do for file etching.

If it is going to fast (depends on the steel type and alloy
contends) dilute it op to 1/10 of the original formula.

You can see this that your etch ground (water resist felt pen, or
asphalt ground) is coming lose to soon.

This formula can also be used on files and burrs.

It etches more to the deep. than pure Nitric acid.

Clean the stamps, files in a hot washing soda bath with a brush, or
with an other way of decreasing.

Than put them in the following mixtuRe:

7 parts water

3 parts sulphuric acid

1 part Nitric acid.

In a few minutes ready. (Remember first water that acid)

Neutralize in washing soda again.

Good luck
Martin Niemeijer