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October 23, 2019, 01:00:39 PM

Author Topic: Acid etched serial tags  (Read 306 times)

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Online oguinn

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Acid etched serial tags
« on: May 30, 2019, 01:37:04 PM »
While I have a lull between tweaking the Crack with some upgrade parts and putting in the Stereomour upgrades, I decided to do a little cosmetic work and etch small nameplates for each project I've built. I figured I'd share my process in case it's interesting to anyone else.

Here's the list of tools and materials you'll need:
  • A laser printer. It CANNOT be made by Brother, at least not if you use the transfer paper I did. It has something to do with the toner.
  • Transfer paper. I used this stuff that is made for PCBs.
  • A laminator. It has to have enough pressure and heat to melt the toner and press it to the board. The transfer paper manufacturer recommended one, so I got it.
  • Ferric chloride acid. (That's for brass and copper, you'll need a different acid for different materials)
  • Brass etching plates. I got mine here.
  • An infill paint pen.
  • Three tubs, water, baking soda.
  • Xacto knife, ruler, high-grit sandpaper.

Ok, now on to the process.
  • I designed what the tags looked like in Adobe Illustrator. I made the background a dark green (a suggestion from the transfer paper manufacturer) and the text white, then flipped everything so it was backward.
  • I printed the tags on the transfer paper. Give yourself a little space so you can fit a ruler between each tag without touching the ink or it'll scratch.
  • I cut out each tag and paired it with a blank. My blanks had a brushed side and a bare side. If you have both, put the transfer against the bare side. Despite sanding I could never get the brushed side bare enough to etch.
  • I prepped the following: a tub of cold water, a tub with acid (plastic worked, but pick something you don't care about), and a tub with warm water and baking soda mixed together.
  • This is where I experienced the most frustration. Because the tags were so small, it was difficult to get the transfer paper and the blank fed into the laminator together. I ended up using a piece of regular white paper as a sleeve since it was thin enough to allow the heat to pass through.
  • I passed the blank and transfer paper through twice, then immediately plopped them in the cold water bath for a couple minutes until the transfer paper backing came off by itself.
  • I dried off each blank and covered the back side with packing tape to keep it from etching. It apparently also keeps the acid from overheating or something, I'm not a chemist. Leave a little tape so you can have something to grab onto with tongs or tweezers.
  • I carefully dropped the tags in the acid and let them sit for 30 minutes. I agitated the tub of acid every 5 or so minutes to keep the etching surface bare.
  • I pulled the tag out by the tape with some pliers and dropped it immediately into the baking soda and water solution to stop the reaction.
  • After a little while I pulled the tags out and let them dry. Then I scrubbed the transfer off with a coarse kitchen sponge.
  • Finally, I rubbed the entire surface pretty hard with an infill paint pen. This took a little trial and error, but I found sanding in one direction lightly with a high grit paper removed the surface paint and left the infill alone. Then I cleaned them slightly and sprayed them with a clear coat.

Overall I'm very happy with how they turned out. They're imperfect, which is great since my amps are also.
Jameson O’Guinn

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Main System: Bottlehead DAC prototype, U-Turn Orbit, Reduction w/ Integration, Smash w/ Smashup & SmashQuiet (replacing w/ BeePre), Stereomour II w/ DC Filament & Shunt Regulator (replacing w/ Kaiju), SEX 3.0 w/ C4S, Blumenstein Orcas, HD6XX

Desktop System: Crack with Speedball

Online oguinn

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Re: Acid etched serial tags
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2019, 01:37:57 PM »
Splitting the photos into separate posts for size reasons. Here's the base Illustrator image.
Jameson O’Guinn

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Main System: Bottlehead DAC prototype, U-Turn Orbit, Reduction w/ Integration, Smash w/ Smashup & SmashQuiet (replacing w/ BeePre), Stereomour II w/ DC Filament & Shunt Regulator (replacing w/ Kaiju), SEX 3.0 w/ C4S, Blumenstein Orcas, HD6XX

Desktop System: Crack with Speedball

Online oguinn

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Re: Acid etched serial tags
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2019, 01:40:04 PM »
And here are a couple shots of the finished tags.
Jameson O’Guinn

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Main System: Bottlehead DAC prototype, U-Turn Orbit, Reduction w/ Integration, Smash w/ Smashup & SmashQuiet (replacing w/ BeePre), Stereomour II w/ DC Filament & Shunt Regulator (replacing w/ Kaiju), SEX 3.0 w/ C4S, Blumenstein Orcas, HD6XX

Desktop System: Crack with Speedball

Offline Deke609

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Re: Acid etched serial tags
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2019, 02:27:28 PM »
That's very cool. What grit sandpaper do you use? 600? Higher?
Derek
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Roon Intel NUC ->  Yggdrasil DAC -> BeePre (w/ BeeQuiet and EML 300B)  -> Kaiju (w/ DCFil and EML 300B) or Stereomour II (2A3 [EML Mesh] and 45 Conversion [EML 45B])  -> Audeze LCD4

Online oguinn

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Re: Acid etched serial tags
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2019, 02:33:50 PM »
I used 1500, but I’m sure you could get away with something a little coarser
Jameson O’Guinn

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Main System: Bottlehead DAC prototype, U-Turn Orbit, Reduction w/ Integration, Smash w/ Smashup & SmashQuiet (replacing w/ BeePre), Stereomour II w/ DC Filament & Shunt Regulator (replacing w/ Kaiju), SEX 3.0 w/ C4S, Blumenstein Orcas, HD6XX

Desktop System: Crack with Speedball

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Acid etched serial tags
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2019, 07:49:08 PM »
That's really cool! 
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Online oguinn

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Re: Acid etched serial tags
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2019, 02:30:04 AM »
Thanks!
Jameson O’Guinn

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Main System: Bottlehead DAC prototype, U-Turn Orbit, Reduction w/ Integration, Smash w/ Smashup & SmashQuiet (replacing w/ BeePre), Stereomour II w/ DC Filament & Shunt Regulator (replacing w/ Kaiju), SEX 3.0 w/ C4S, Blumenstein Orcas, HD6XX

Desktop System: Crack with Speedball

Offline ALL212

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Re: Acid etched serial tags
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2019, 02:49:48 AM »
Very cool and nicely done!

When do you go into production? ;D
Aaron Luebke

Offline Tom-s

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Re: Acid etched serial tags
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2019, 03:03:49 AM »
Awesome!  :o

Wonder what you put on your S3X badge. Speaker or headphone amp?  :P

Offline Karl5150

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Re: Acid etched serial tags
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2019, 08:55:49 AM »
Nice! Hearing and seeing a stock BH kit is usually enough to wow most friends and family. It's always great to see the things that add another layer to "I built it myself".
Karl
Analog: Planar3>Eros>Stereomour II>Tekton OB4.5 & DIY "S8" subs
Digital: CD5004>Quickie>Seductor>FH3
Office: Schiit Modi Uber 2/Sirius Tuner>SEX 2.1.1>µFonken/FF85WK

Online oguinn

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Re: Acid etched serial tags
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2019, 09:02:55 AM »
Awesome!  :o

Wonder what you put on your S3X badge. Speaker or headphone amp?  :P

I put PA for power amp even though it’s half accurate and probably not the preferred nomenclature. I considered MISC (like I did for the Fix tag) but settled on this.
Jameson O’Guinn

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Main System: Bottlehead DAC prototype, U-Turn Orbit, Reduction w/ Integration, Smash w/ Smashup & SmashQuiet (replacing w/ BeePre), Stereomour II w/ DC Filament & Shunt Regulator (replacing w/ Kaiju), SEX 3.0 w/ C4S, Blumenstein Orcas, HD6XX

Desktop System: Crack with Speedball