Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f5b78300838> #<Tag:0x00007f5b783006d0>

(Mike Kelly) #1

I made a Fuzz Face pedal with an old enclosure I’ve had for years.

I think the box is aluminium. Can anyone recommend an etching process for this kind of thing so that I can add labels and/or a design?

(matthew inman) #2

Etching aluminium, traditionally this is done via alkali or acid etching solutions.

alkali etching solutions are based upon caustic soda and this is quite unpleasant, particularly to the eye if you get it in.

acid etching is done with various mixtures of concentrated nitric, acetic, phosphoric and hydrochloric acids. this simplest being a simple hydrochloric acid bath. but each of these acids present issues in the makerspace, particularly hydrochloric acids with its fumes and nitric acid with its fire/explosion risks.

what I would suggest is a less commonly used method of salt electrochemical etching. this is based upon a solution made from anhydrous copper sulphate and sodium chloride, to avoid problems with both chemicals you want to use a pure compound, ie not salt from the supermarket and not 98% pure copper sulphate.

here are some examples


(Petra) #3

Thought to pledge drive for this.

(Mike Kelly) #4

Useful links, thanks.
@petra that looks quick and easy. Would it be safe to use the Trotec for this with metal materials?

EDIT: Trotec sell it so I guess it would be OK:

(Martin John Finch) #5

Nice looking pedal! Why not leave it as it is, enhancing the mystery black box effect?

But to answer your question, most of my pedals look like they are screen printed; how about asking @silkscreentechs ?

Good luck,


(Dermot Jones) #6

We also have vinyl cutters!

(Pete Hellyer) #7

there’s also the toner transfer method of marking alumnium, that doesnt end up looking too bad either.

(Patrick) #8

RE: Etching

I haven’t try that myself, yet, but from what I heard it is good to use USED (as in already in contact with copper) Ferric Chloride. I’m not a chemist but… I heard it’s efficient in eating Al as well. The trick is to have the copper in it apparently. Any chemists here?

(Barnaby Coote) #9

We should still have the aluminium anodising kit in the cosh cabinet
You could make a mask, screen print an etch layer then use the etch bucket and optionally anodise (we have black anodising dye in the kit)

The chemicals didn’t come mixed so you’ll need to get some distilled water (5L per bucket)

just make sure its aluminium, looks like it could be galvanised steel

(Barnaby Coote) #10

Or just paint it a nice color and screen print a decal on it

(Mike Kelly) #11

@fincheee it’s a nice box but it could get confusing if there was more than one with no markings :slight_smile:
@Barnaby_Coote I will take a look at the anodising kit… Sounds promising. I want to try dissolving some metal.

Having said that the CerMark stuff looks convenient - anyone else interested in chipping in for a tub of it?