Intro: Personalized Food Branding Iron
Made this as a Christmas present.
It is all stainless steel so it is food-safe, and will not rust.
The texas shape was cut from a $5 spoon rest I bought from a department store. I could not find a pice of stainless steel anywhere locally, and the spoon rest was cheaper than ordering a piece online.
I downloaded the texas image from the internet, printed it and used spray-adhesive and tape to attach it to the steel. The plan was to cut it out with a scrollsaw, but it wasn't powerful enough, so I just the VERY basic shape on the bandsaw, then ground down to the lines with a bench grinder.
I ordered the 3/8" SS rod from McMasterCarr and had it welded at a local welding/fab shop. They didn't charge me anything because it was such a small job!
I used my cheap Harbor Freight tap&die set to thread the rod, and used an old handle from a wood-file for the handle. I sanded the old paint off, stained it, and put on 3 coats of polyurethane and 2 coats of wax.
I used PhotoShop to get the letters and star, then reversed the image, printed it. I put a layer of packaging tape over the texas shape making sure there were no bubbles, then taped on the pattern I printed out. I then carefully used an exacto-knife to cut out the star and initials. This left only the initials and star revealed and everything else covered with packaging tape.
I electro-chemically etched the pattern. This is a real simple process. I used a 12v 10A battery charger (there was also a 1A setting that worked just fine, but the 10A was faster). I clipped the positive terminal to the SS rod, and the negative clip to a Q-Tip that had been dipped in a salt-water solution (just stir salt into the water until the water will not hold any more salt in suspension). I just dipped the tip of the Q-Tip in, and made sure the neg. terminal clipped onto some of the wet cotton. Then you rub the Q-Tip across the exposed metal that you want to etch. The Q-Tip will turn black fairly quickly, so change then when necessary.
Be CAREFUL when doing this, do NOT inhale the fumes, and do NOT let the neg. battery terminal contact the metal directly.
When I was happy with the depth of etching, I pulled all the tape off, and polished the whole thing using the buffing wheel on my dremel.
This is a fun project, but BE CARFUL, it does involve some potentially dangerous tools/processes, if you are not comfortable with these tools/processes, do not attempt.