Good news, everyone! Today’s post is brought to you by science!
For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to get some parts together to further my offerings when it comes to building lightsabers. Being able to do the basics like soldering, wiring, drilling, tapping, etc, all come into play, as does being able to design things well (or not). Each step is certainly a learning process, but etching is a whole different level in my mind.
Having a solid piece of metal is great, but what if that solid piece of metal had a light design etched into it? I wanted to find out how to do that, and of the two methods I’ve seen others use (acid or saltwater), I went with saltwater etching. I followed this handy tutorial from ARKM, one of the many skilled members on the custom saber shop forums.
Science has proven to me that amazing things happen when you combine metal, salt water and electricity. Even though I know it’s science, it feels like magic seeing the aluminum get etched away.
On a basic level, the process is the opposite of electroplating which is commonly used in jewelry making to make gold plated metals. In this case I was taking the aluminum away from the piece I need to etch by “coating” a bar of aluminum at a negative charge to the piece’s positive. What you end up with depends on how you mask what you’re etching. In this case I used packing tape to mask the piece and cut out different sections.
If you can’t tell from the video, this test turned out pretty well considering I only used tape as the mask. When I get some PnP paper, I’ll be able to print some designs and directly transfer the ink onto the part! Until then, see you stars side!