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Suppliers for etching solutions?

Hello you fine people, I have spent the last several days trying to
find a supplier for Ferric Chloride for etching copper and similar
metals. I got a 6oz. bottle in a printed circuit board etching set
from Radio Shack a few years ago. The guy who sold it to me insists
that they have never carried it. I don’t want another kit, I just
want a gallon or so of the stuff. I’ve called every chemical
supplier in the greater Albuquerque area and have met with nothing
but frustration. Either they’ve never heard of it, they don’t sell
it, or I can’t get it in smaller quantities that a 55 gal. drum. One
person quoted a price of “$60 or $70 for 500 grams” another said
something about a special order of 1 lb. crystals for $7.50 US but
I’d have to pay a $75 shipping fee for it. So… Am I tripping or am
I missing something? Surely there are more reasonable ways to obtain
Ferric Chloride that won’t involve the selling of my first-born male
child. I’m having similar issues finding Copper Sulfate to try some
electro forming. Lots of you etch copper (quite nicely, I might
add). Where are you getting your chemicals? I’m having great fun and
some nice successes with this stuff but I need more than 6 oz. to do
it. I’ve gotten citric acid quite easily to aid in the etches. Where
do I get Ferric Chloride in respectable quantities? Is it easier to
buy crystals and mix your own and what recipes do you recommend if
mixing my own? Are there some heavy “Hazardous Chemical” shipping
restrictions I should be aware of?

Another area I’m wanting to try is photolithography using light
sensitive resists and developers. I did it working semiconductors
but I can’t seem to find suppliers for the resists and related
goodies. What kind of UV light source is recommended and where can
the lights be purchased?

I’m planning on diving into the archives as soon as I’m through here
but I’d really appreciate help finding suppliers for some of these
chemicals. Rio Grande couldn’t offer any assistance at all.

Ok, I’m not as panicked as I sound but I am frustrated. I’ve got
projects flying through my brain and no way to initiate the
processes till I get these chemicals. Thanks again for your help.


Michael, tell the Radio Shack guy you want the 16oz bottle of the
Radio Shack brand PCB Etchant Solution. Just don’t tell him the back
of the label says it “contains Ferric Chloride”. After losing
patience with the clerk who originally told me two weeks ago that
they NEVER had “dangerous chemicals” (her words) in their stores, my
husband went to another RS store and found the Etchant Solution. The
number on the front label is 276-1535 and is most likely their stock


Try and then look in printed
circuit board supplies. They have 1 gal bottles for $19.95. They also
sell a pretty interesting UV light setup with a vacuum pump to lock
down the negative.

You can also find it at where they list 1 lbs
dry Ferric Chloride at $6.95/lbs.

A2Z Metalsmith Supply Inc
5151 S Federal Blvd Unit I-9
Littleton CO 80123
720 283-7200 Phone
720 385-2118 Fax

Radio Shack’s PCB Etch catalog listing: We
used to buy Ferric Chloride from KEPRO Circuit Systems. Has now
changed to D&L Products Have also purchased
from Spectrum Chemical Or Graphic
Chemical Copper Sulfate (Blue Stone)
from the Chemistry Store or from here at
Lucky Mojo for the energy stone/crystal people. Try your local nursury or
feed store. It is used in animal feed, in water treatment for algae
control, and as a plant fungicide.

Have you tried your local university or local college bookstore or
supply store for photo sensitive and etching supplies ? At least they
would have a resource if they are teaching printmaking and jewelry.
Good Luck from Oceanside, CA

There are 13 compnies listed at <> 

Stop at the chemistry department of the local university and ask for
the supply room. Ask the guy that deals in this stuff every day
where to go.

Reactive Metals Studio, Inc.
PO Box 890 * 600 First North St. * Clarkdale, AZ 86324
Ph-928/634-3434 * Ph-800/876-3434 * Fax-928/634-6734

Hi Mike: I’ve always bought my ferric chloride from Radio Shack. I
bought some last year. Their product goes by the name PCB Etchant
Solution and carries the Radio Shack label. It is listed at Cat. No.
276-2535. Mine came in 16 Fl Oz plastic bottles.

Here’s the URL for Radio Shack listing their PCB Etchant Solution
for $3.99. So give it another try. Maybe
the sales person you talked with didn’t recognize it as Ferric


I recommend trying a real electronics supply house. They often sell
ferric chloride for etching printed circuit boards. They also
sometimes sell photoresist. I think I paid around $30 for the last
gallon of ferric chloride I bought locally.


Contqact Sigma Chemical Co of St Louis Mo

Yours Billy S. Bates

Michael, No, you are not dreaming about the Ferric Chloride from
Radio Shack. Check the catalog. Look under circuit board supplies.
That may also jog the memory of some clerk at Radio Shack. I might
also suggest that you try a different Radio Shack than the one that
you went to the first time. Some do not want to take the time nor
effort to make the customer happy. The full description on the
bottle that I have is Radio Shack PCB Etchant Solution “use full
strength Contains Ferric Chloride”. Part number 276-1535a. This is
for 16 fl. oz. You might also want to try as they are the parent company of Radio
Shack. I think the clue is the title of the material according to
Radio Shack… the “PCB Etchant”. Clerks do not necessarily equate a
title of a product with the actual chemical. contains a
wonderful article on ferric chloride.

As for the copper sulfate. You are again asking tough questions. I
had to get mine at a feed store. They had to special order it and
it did take 3 weeks. It was not expensive, just a pain to get. Some
of the uses are for keeping small ponds clean of algae and for weed
control. We have lots of waterways, so this is a product that would
have a commercial use. The following place is a farm supply place,
they have the chemicals you are looking for if you cannot find them
closer to home.

Beth Katz

I knew I’d get good advice here in Orchid Land. I want to thank
everyone that has answered this request, both here and in private. I
now have a strong enough list of suppliers that I am even able to
shop for the best price. While in the midst of my brain-cramp I
never even considered the local University ( where my wife and son
are currently students and I obtained 3
degrees…Duuuuhhhhh…). That tunnel vision can be a dangerous
thing. Maybe I need to step out of the shop, look at the stars and
sky, breathe a little air and the like. As it is right now you folks
are my major social interaction so I really want to thank you all
again. You’ve been a great help.


Hi All.

Go to my article on Ganoksin for photo etching. You will se a list
of suppliers. My favorite is Bryant Labs. They are really super
people and will work with you. They have all the chemicals you

Karen Christians
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio