Etched Tin – Some Thoughts

The only problem with copper plating a tin using the copper sulphate method is that it doesn’t really work very well… as copper plating. As etching it positively rocks.

Etched tin, “Tesla Futuristic” retro graphic (fragmentary)

The photo above is terribly out of focus (darn, all the shots look so good in the tiny little monitor on back of the camera), but illustrates the effect of the acid copper plate approach: the shiny (tin?nickel?) plating of the “tin” is removed by the copper sulphate solution, while the copper sticks better to remaining tin plating rather than to the ferrous inner metal. In the photo, the electrolyte removed exposed tin, and that which was masked (and wasn’t undercut) remained bright and shiny, with near photographic detail. What copper that was deposited adhered only to the bright finish on the tin, and not to the ferrous metal beneath. It is more of a mordant (with circumstantial deposit of loose copper smut) than plating.

I do think that the etching process as it stands is worthwhile, especially if you adjust the process & images to utilize the dark ferrous background/shiny masked off detail effect.
I’m not sure if moving to an alkaline process is worth the effort/toxicity, etc., but I may look at some options.
(NOTE: check the end-note of Etching…the Cheap & Easy Way for a hint as to an interesting line of research).


Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s