Very quick and easy way to inscribe your name or initials, or really anything you want into metal.
Things you'll need
- 2 Wires With Alligator Clips On Both Ends
- 9V Battery
- Piece of Steel
- Cotton Swabs
- Plastic Bowl With Water
- Muriatic Acid
- Paper Towel
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Peel and Stick Stencils
Step 1: Step 1: Clean Your Work Piece
Using some rubbing alcohol and a piece of paper towel or a soft cloth, wipe your work piece clean so that the stencil sticks to the metal. Then go ahead and apply the stencil to the metal. I'm using the letters A and F for my initials.
Step 2: Step 2: Mix Water and Acid
I roughly mixed the solution to 4 parts water and 1 part muriatic acid. ALWAYS add the acid to the water, not the other way around as it can cause a chemical reaction. Also it is a good idea to mix this in a well ventilated area and use gloves...I should have been wearing them but luckily I didn't spill any on my skin.
If you do spill acid on your skin, it will burn you so rinse the affected part with cold water.
Then I mixed the solution with a cotton swab and ended up soaking a bunch more in the solution.
Step 3: Step 3: Connect the Battery
Using two wires with alligator clips attached to both ends I connected the positive side of the battery to the work piece and the negative side to the soaked cotton part of the swab.
Step 4: Step 4: Start Etching
It doesn't take long for the electricity and acid to start etching the metal. Only about 5 seconds to get a good etch going. Your cotton swab will become contaminated so change it when it becomes discolored. I spent approximately 1 minute total etching the A and F until it was ready.
Step 5: Step 5: Clean
Dry the remaining solution with a paper towel and peel off the stencils. Then clean the piece with rubbing alcohol to make sure there is no acid left on the metal.
I've found that this works with steel, stainless steel and copper (that's what the last picture is). It will not work with aluminum. As far as galvanized, chrome or brass I have not tried this experiment yet. If anyone else has, please let me know if it works or not!
I have a more detailed video of this instructable, along with other DIY videos on my YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/c/adamfleisch
Thanks for looking!