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does any one know of a house hold chemacel that will etch allumin (sorry fore the spelling errors) Answered

I have access to cheap aluminum sheets and i was wondering is there a way to etch PCB on them?


Have you ever seen the inside of some Keyboards? ( I don't recommend taking one apart to look, but if you have or find a defunct one, it is educational to a degree). The innards under the keys and little rubber contacts, at first appears to be "masked and etched" on the metal base plate. On further investigation, on finds it is a sheet of some sort of plastic or vinyl with traces and contact points seared into it.


10 years ago

Commenting just on the etching: Muriatic acid from the hardware store (actually somewhat diluted hydrochloric acid) is used all the time to clean aluminum, and in large amounts will dissolve the metal. In fact, I recall reading about diy carbon-fiber structures made by wrapping the fiber / resin around aluminum tubing, then vacuum bagging (or heat shrink) until set. The inner aluminum form would be removed by immersing the whole thing in a trough of muriatic acid. Bye bye, aluminum.... Kind of dangerous stuff, HCL....

The aluminum would have to be first "plated" or attached somehow to a "board" (fiberglass, glass, etc) so that when you removed the parts you didn't want, the rest would not just fall apart onto the floor. And as someone else mentioned, it is not really easily soldered, nor brazed, nor welded without special equipment.

Sodium hydroxide (Red Devil Lye, some Draino products) in water. Not sure for a resist, try a good paint, wax, tar or duct tape. Don't forget to do the back. Sodium Hydroxide can be dangerous-so can the hydrogen that the process puts out. If you are trying to make a circuit board, that's different than etching sheet aluminum.

PCB? I think that you can forget this due to at least two reasons.

First you can't normally solder onto aluminum. (I know there's a special aluminum solder to be used to repair aluminum sheet metal like small boats but I wouldn't trust that my non-aluminum components would like that solder or the temperatures required to bond them.)

Secondly etching is not easy because of the layer of aluminum oxide that very quickly forms on the surface of the aluminum. Aluminum oxide is non conductive and rather resistant to both mechanical as well as chemical attacks.

Third; To get a PCB you need to have the sheet glued to a backing material otherwise it will only look as a bunch of thin wired in a heap on your desk. The backing and the glue must withstand the heat needed to solder the aluminum later.

There are probably ways around all of these problems, but I seriously doubt that it's worth the effort.

If you only want to etch a "picture" of a pcb onto it you could probably use a electrochemical solution like this: Altoids plalting and etching. This might possibly work also with aluminum.

alluminum is an ok conductor, maybe salt water and vineagar, i dunno.