Photo Etch kit opening

16.06.2009

POSTED IN Blog | TAGS : ,

With the work going into the website, getting other modellers interested in Armageddon and working with me on the website and finally the Photo etch kit arriving and trying to learn all about it, I can honestly say I have been busy, but with little I can show you yet.

However I can give a run-down on how the Photo etch system should work, and a review of the various kit and what it does.

For those that don’t know Photo Etching is the process of using strong chemicals to eat away metals placed within them. This process is used by people to make circuit boards for electronics as well as modellers. You can control the eating away of the metal by covering it a thin layer of resistant chemicals which protect the bits of metal you wish to keep.

So it is therefore possible to print this resistant material and laminate it to the metal and use it as a means to make thin sheets of brass containing shapes you wish to keep. Here is an example from Forgeworld showing what is possible: -

Notice how small the possible results can be … If I manage to master the process I will be able to produce Steel Legion emblems for tanks, troopers, flags, ¬†etc. It also opens up possible avenues of modelling I haven’t been down before and will give me some scope to add complex items to models without casting.

However its a bit of a black art, certainly in the wargaming field, although less so in the master modelling field. The pro-etch kit I bought for instance, has almost no reviews I can find on the web, which means I am working on faith. Lets hope it all turns out ok!

My first step was to try and identify and understand every piece of the kit supplied. So without further ado, I present an overview of the supplied kit: -

A - Photo Resistant film, used as the protecting film on the metal, its light sensitive and kept in black tubes to stop it reacting and becoming useless. It needs to be opened and used in a darkroom until you have it in place on the metal and wish to “develop” it.

B - Laminate Carrier film, to hold and take the metal sheet & photo-resistant film, through the Laminator without seperating.

C - Chemical Resistant Plastic tubs to hold the Sodium Hydroxide solutions, first one is used to remove the undeveloped Resistant film so the bits underneath can be eaten by the etchant chemical. Second one is for removing the remainder of the resistant film from the finished product at the end.

D - Pro-Etch Manual, describing the process, I am hoping to make my own guide when I have got on top of the whole process, so that its easier for other people in the future.

E - Etching Tank, the place where the etching takes place, usually 2/3rds full of etchant (Ferric Chloride) and with the metal sheet being etched held inside.

F - Etchant Resistant Tweezers

G - Holding Rod, this sits inside the Etching Tank and holds the Brass sheet horizontally (so the brass particles fall down into the tank easily)

H - Brass sheet supplied with the kit, I purchased more and can get more locally if I need.

A - Disposable brushes, for removing chemicals & brass particles from the sheet.

B - Micro Cleaning pads, to clean the Brass to a very clean bright surface, so the resistant film will stick to it properly.

C - Goggles, the chemicals and the fumes they release are VERY dangerous and the wearing of protection is not optional.

D - Plexiglass plates, for holding the film and metal during the exposure process which makes the film stick to the metal.

E - Gloves in a measuring pot, once again the gloves are important to ensure no risks are taken with the dangerous chemicals.

F - Laminator, to fix the resistant film onto the metal using heat and pressure.

G - Clips, to hold the plexiglass together during the exposure process

H - Aerator to ensure the etchant remains fresh while etching the metal

I - Apron, once again for protection.

As you can see there is a substantial amount of items in the kit, and a relatively complex process to follow. Because the kit travelled from America to England, the etchant (Ferric Chloride) and cleaner (Sodium Hydroxide) need to be purchased by myself, however if I was in the States they would have been supplied.

I am waiting for the chemicals to arrive, and might well take a day off of work to test it all out sometime next week.

On a final note, if there are any people producing armies from the Armageddon 3rd war, either Ork or Imperial, who wish to actively contribute to an ongoing blog format website about Armageddon and the forces fighting there please contact me. This is for the following games: - 40k, Apocalypse, Battlefleet Gothic or Epic Armageddon.

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