Etching

Updated:  5/26/18

Nancy LT Hamilton

Question:  How do you use a resist?

Answer

Depends on what type you are using. You can paint nail polish on, draw with a paint pen, put waterproof stickers on, etc. Anywhere that there is paint, polish, paper, etc., will not etch. You can also paint on a layer of “ground” on the metal (see link) and draw into it with a scribe or similar tool – after it dries. All the lines, that cut through the ground, will be exposed in the electrolyte solution and will etch. You can try something like this with acrylic paint. Lightly sand the metal first. Paint on a layer, dry, and draw into it with the stylus. Acrylic isn’t ideal though. An etching ground chips less and lasts longer.

Here’s a link to etching grounds at Takach Press.  Check out directions. Here’s a link to my photopolymer page.

Question:  UV Light Boxes for Photopolymer Resists

I have a question on light boxes for processing photopolymer resists. All of the instructions, discussions Ive read for this process show a UV light source shining down, but traditional UV exposure boxes (as used in screen printing) shine the light up. For the of applying resist to metal, does it matter if the light shines up or down? Is one easier to work with? I am considering the following two options as a quicker/easier exposure method than building one myself. Id love your thoughts/input!

UV-box-Ebay Technology-Etrade on Ebay: 10.2″ X 8.3″ Vacuum UV Exposure Unit Hot Stamping Screen Printing Curing Plate 

Eco-Exposure-Light  Eco Exposure Light from Crafty Printers

Answer

I cannot think of a reason why the direction of the light would matter. You would just place the side with the black image, face-down onto the light instead of turning it up to the light.  It would probably expose a lot quicker so, you’d have to make some test pieces.

 The one on ebay looks great and is a good price.  I haven’t done any etching in a long time but, from what I remember, I made a sandwich of the metal, the film, glass and a backing, then clamped it together.  My question on that box is:  will there be enough room to fit this “sandwich” between the glass and the top?  Maybe, and especially, if there is a tight fit between the glass and the top, you don’t need the “sandwich”.  The glass and the backing are there to keep the image fitting tightly to the metal.  I wonder if you could do away with the “sandwich”  but, I also wonder if there is enough room to fit in various gauges of metal.  I’d ask them about the space between the glass and the underside of the top.
The Eco Exposure Light looks like it should work too.