Results of Galvanic Etching UPDATE! 2 new plates

Hi everybody, I just tried the Galvanic Etching process described on Jake Von Slatt's website. I wanted to show off my results and offer my observations.


1) The etch came out perfectly.. even details that looked WAY to fine to pick up came out clearly.

2) The Inkjet Paper (Staples Photo Plus Gloss) took a bit of soaking to get off, but when I got a corner, It came off as one single layer.

3) I had to re-iron the corners, so check those before soaking.


1) a PC power supply worked fine for the etch.

2) my Root Killer lists Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate... no noticeable issue with this versus plain copper sulfate

3) Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate eats alumin(i)um... Using tin foil as the anode was a bad idea.. I went through three anodes over the course of the etch... next time I'll use copper.

4) Electrical tape makes a great mask to cover the back and edges of your etch.

5) Mr Clean Magic Eraser's make short work of the toner without marring the brass.

and now.... the Picture. (this is before paint, polish & varnish, I haven't gotten to those parts yet)

Picture of Results of Galvanic Etching UPDATE! 2 new plates
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Southclaw5 years ago
ok,I have used a process simmer to etch copper circuit boards,but in this you connect the brass plate to the positive terminal,but what do you put on the negative terminal?? please help.
gschoppe (author)  Southclaw5 years ago
I used a brass blank for the negative terminal... since surface area effects speed of etching, brass or copper wool might be best
Goodhart8 years ago
It can be nasty stuff, really, being quite toxic and acidic.

I have yet to try this one though. :-)
Goodhart8 years ago
Whoa, how did I miss this. This is really great (and I thought I had done something when I etched my first PC board, ha).
johannesgj8 years ago
im probably too late. but i would just ask if there is special kind of metal you can etch or if you just use ervery kind? diferent methods for different metals? kind regards - joe
gschoppe (author)  johannesgj8 years ago
Salt water will work with almost any metal, but you'll get better effects with other electrolytes, depending on your metal. Copper Sulfate only does well on copper, brass, and other copper alloys... using salt water, i recommend an agitator and heater, as bubbles tend to be an issue. Here are some other things I've discovered (mostly copper and brass related): 1) Verdigris, the discolored coating copper and brass get, can be cut by citric acid. Adding concentrated citric acid to the sulfate will break it down as it forms 2) Staples basic photo gloss is the perfect paper for the Brother HL2070n. 3) you can cut the stuff cleanly with a dremel w/ cutoff wheel, strapped to a wood platform with pipe clamps... a clamp-on square works as a great fence.
dremel mounted.JPG
beado4ever9 years ago
Excellent (mind whirls with possibilities) One question though, I haven't got access to a laser printer, any suggestions? I etched my initials onto an offcut of square tubing but only by trimming out the shapes from tape!
acrylic paint, if properly cured holds up to the etching process well, so if you can paint in negatives, go for it. another idea i've tested is ye old wax resist..dip the metal in liquid paraffin wax from a grocery store. scratch away wax where you want the metal to etch. note: it looks really odd at the surface, but the design comes out well, once sanded a little with 220 grit sandpaper. there;s another instructable that uses vinyl stencils .. he spraypaints over them, and then removes the stencil letters, revealing clean metal to etch. also, another idea- most modern office printers are laserjets. ask a girlfriend, friend, family, someone to run some designs for you.
Thanks for all the ideas, I'm definitely going to try some of them out. (I won't ask the girlfriend as my wife would object!!!! LOL)
gschoppe (author)  beado4ever9 years ago
use the self-serve copiers at your local Staples or Kinkos... bring your own photo paper/mag pages and use the stack bypass. alternatively, Staples has just discontinued carrying the Brother 2040 and 2070n laser printers, and you can get them at great savings if you can find them in store... my 2070n was 79.99 before rewards check and employee rewards, and that was a normal, non-clearance sale.
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