Electrochemical Etching With a Microcontroller

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While most of the time the name of the game is to remove a lot of metal, etching is an entirely other process. If you just want to put a logo on a piece of steel, or etch some labels in a piece of aluminum, You need to think small. Mills and CNC routers will do, but they’re expensive and certainly not as easy to work with as a small, homebrew electrochemical etcher.

This etchinator is the brainchild of [Gelandangan], and gives the techniques of expensive commercial etchers to anyone who can put together a simple circuit. This etcher can etch with both AC and DC thanks to a H bridge circuit, and can be fabbed up by anyone who can make their own circuit board.

To actually etch a design in a piece of metal, simply place the piece on a metal plate, put the stencil down, and hold a felt-covered electrode moistened with electrolyte down over the stencil. Press a button, and in about 30 seconds, you have a wonderfully etched piece of metal.

[Gelandagan] has some templates that will allow you to make your own electro etcher, provided you can etch your own boards and can program the PIC16F1828 microcontroller. All this info is over on the Australian blade forum post he put up, along with a demo video below.

[Read more...]

High contrast laser etching

high-contrast-laser-etching

The problem with laser etching dark materials is that the areas burnt away by the intense light don’t really stand out from the rest of the surface. [The 5th Fool] is taking a roundabout way of correcting this by topping his laser engravings with contrasting paint. The technique is still pretty simple and we think it looks great!

Basically he’s etching a layer of painter’s tape which becomes a stencil. But the surface it is masking also gets etched so the paint has an area below to the surface which it can fill in. We figure this will help with durability issues.

After etching the painters tape the design gets a few coatings of a high-contrast paint color and is left to dry. To remove the stencil, duct tape is applied to the entire area. This helps quite a bit in removing the tiny bits of tape from an intricate design.

Hackaday Links: January 24, 2012

Open source engraving

[Scott] wanted to do some v-carving with a CNC router, but couldn’t find software to generate GCode that didn’t cost hundreds of dollars. He ended up doing the sensible thing and wrote his own that will generate tool paths from CXF fonts. We’ll be bookmarking this for when our router project is done.

Improving Genesis sound output

Dissatisfied with the sound output on his Sega Genesis, [Drakon] installed a few mods into his console. How much could it really affect the sound? Listen to the video. The changeover happens at 0:50. Impressive. Now if only the chiptune scene would get into Segas.

Yes, we did, and now we’re seeding

Here’s an alternative to Thingiverse: The Pirate Bay has a new category for 3D-printable objects. The best file so far? A 1970 Chevelle. US Copyright law does not protect (most) physical objects, so it’s not illegal. Honestly, we can’t wait for somebody to take this to the courts; It’s sure to be an interesting case. Somebody upload a ship hull design and give the EFF a buzz.

Just be glad it’s not a QFN

[Mikey] was pulling a PDIP ATMega8 out of a socket with pliers and a screwdriver and broke the RESET pin. Ouch. He fixed it by soldering on a lead from a resistor. We’ve all done this before, but [Mikey]‘s results look really good. Here’s the gallery.

This might be fake

If you want a second analog stick for your 3DS, you could wait a month and buy a Circle Pad Pro, or install a PSP analog stick. We’re not sure how this would work – the Circle Pad Pro works over IR, and we’re not seeing an IR transmitter on this build. Here’s the source if anyone wants to give this a shot.

Trashed Hard Drive? Why not an Engraved Clock?

So your hard drive quit working.  Don’t despair, with a “little” work your disk can be repurposed into a clock like the one seen above. I made this clock after several iterations of various success, including the first revision, which was simply the platter with a clock kit from a hobby store screwed into the middle. Still a very neat effect, but if you want to actually tell what time it is, it helps to have the numbers available.

For this, you’ll need some sort of CNC machine (a kit-build router in this case), and some way to generate the Gcode to get everything cut correctly. A guide to how the logo was eventually turned into something a machine could understand is provided here. Of course if you’re not sure what logo would look good on your clock, you can always skip a few steps and engrave the our logo. In this [HAD] article, it’s conveniently provided in .dxf format, which can be converted by a CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) program into code that your machine can understand.

Check out after the break for a video of two “platter clocks” being engraved using these methods: [Read more...]

Hackaday links: October 10, 2010

Old timey pics with a new timey camera

Update: We’ve already looked at this one… see the full article for all the details.

One way to get old-looking photographs is to use a vintage camera. Then again you can just connect a 1908 lens to a modern dslr with great results. [Thanks MS3FGX]

Cheap iPad mounting bracket

Need a way to hang your iPad but don’t want to spend some bucks? [Tumbleweed] used a $3 plate hanger to do the trick.

Hand engraving

You can get free laser engraving when you buy an iPhone but it won’t look as good as this does. [Viljo Marrandi] spent eight hours on this, but most of the time was spent resharpening tools dulled by the tough metal.

Let time prevent your computer from going idle

Want to keep your screen saver from running? No need to change settings, software, or use special hardware. Just set your mouse on an analog watch and let the moving hands jiggle it around. [Thanks Lovro]

Epilog Zing personal laser etching

The new Epilog Zing is designed to bring laser engraving to the home for personal use. It’s got 25 watts of power, a small enough footprint to fit neatly on your desk, and the video above shows it has a pretty high resolution. But compared to the mini18, the Zing has less Z movement, a lower wattage, a smaller engraving area, and about half the speed. Also, with a price set around $8,000, we don’t think many people will be buying them for personal use just yet. However, if you have a small home business that requires these services, the Zing could be perfect. If you are looking for more information on laser engraving, see [ladyada's] laser information page.

[via Engadget]

Laser tattoo


We’re amazed we didn’t stumble across this ill advised burnination sooner. Earlier in the week [tetranitrate], of LED chess set fame, posted his experiences using a laser cutter to scarify his own skin. It’s very painful, not to mention the discomfort of smelling your own burning flesh. He’s using an Epilog with a magnet over the safety switch. To get the positioning right, a layer of painters tape was put down and then etched. For a less painful version, you could try Bre’s fingernail calendar from last Fall. Video of multiple tattoos embedded after the break.

[Read more...]

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