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topic 8238

Etchant for Aluminium


Greetings all,

I have a group of H. S. students who need to etch al. plate to create a leather press plate. They have used ashphaltum stop-off but have found that it floats off in hydrochloric solution. What etchant should we use? Any advise would be appreciated muchly.

Dave Hunt
Pinehurst School - Auckland, NZ


There are a couple of letters on this site, including recent ones, that discuss the etching of aluminum both with acid and with alkaline solutions.

But I think your first problem is getting a better maskant, rather than trying to find an etchant that won't attack the maskant you are using. There are all kinds of good etch resists/stop offs, but for something instantly available, and perhaps good enough, you might try common electrician's black tape.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


The safest material that you can use is a saturated solution of bicarbonate of soda from your local grocery store. Use at a warm temperature. If this is not fast enough to suit you, add lye, one teaspoon at a time until you get the etch rate that you are looking for.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

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