Electro Etching Brass – Mobilis In Mobili

I made a brass plaque for the frame of the steampunk computer using a 0.3mm thick sheet of brass and (pretty much) the electro etching tutorial posted on The Steampunk Workshop except I didn’t have any copper sulphate lying around so had to make do with a salt and distilled vinegar solution.

I covered all sides of the brass sheet that I didn’t want etched with electrical tape so that the current was most efficiently used.

The computer’s back story is that it was salvaged from The Nautilus, the submarine from Jules Vernes’ “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea”. The etching is of the saying of The Nautilus “Mobilis In Mobili” which I reproduced from this image.

Original Mobilis In Mobili

Original Mobilis In Mobili

This was the best image I could find though it wasn’t good enough to use for the etching so I had to reproduce it using GIMP. I then printed a negative image of it using a laser printer onto some glossy paper and then ironed the image onto the brass, and VERY carefully soaked and rubbed off the paper a little at a time until all that was left was the laser jet ink.

Mobilis In Mobili Negative

Mobilis In Mobili Negative

This is what it looked like before I started etching.

Before Etching

Before Etching

Then I dunked it into a salt and vinegar solution and attached the positive terminal of two 12v lead acid batteries in series (making 24 volts) to the plate I wanted to etch, and then attached the negative terminal to another scrap piece of brass and dunked it into the solution as well. Be very careful the plates don’t touch!

Begin Etching

Begin Etching

I left it like that for two hours, and it didn’t really look like it had done much until I cleaned off the gunk and ink afterwards and was left with this!

Mobilis In Mobili Brass Etching 1

Mobilis In Mobili Brass Etching 1

Mobilis In Mobili Brass Etching 2

Mobilis In Mobili Brass Etching 2

Mobilis In Mobili Brass Etching 3

Mobilis In Mobili Brass Etching 3

Mobilis In Mobili Brass Etching 4

Mobilis In Mobili Brass Etching 4

For my first etching, I’m very pleased with the result! It will make an excellent highlight on the steampunk computer.

 

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