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Requesting a bit of assistance.

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Marlene Reeve-Newson, Jan 2, 2004.

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  1. Dear Knowledge Floating in the Ether
    I'm hoping I can get a bit of help from someone with knowledge on this
    subject. I have a blank zippo lighter. I bought it blank with the
    intention of engraving it once I decided on a design. However, I'm going to
    try and put Maxwell's equations on it. And unfortunetly they don't lend
    themselves much to engraving techniques. So being technically minded I've
    decided to cheat and use Printed Circuit Board (PCB) techniques to etch
    things. Thus my post here.
    A friend bought me some etch resist pens for Christmas and I have a
    bottle of (old) muriatric acid (commercial grade hydrochloric acid, 31.45%).
    The lighter is brass (I believe) with (I believe) stainless steel plating
    (just your standard zippo lighter). I have a few ideas, such as using a
    face down mirrored photocopy and ironing the equations on (the toner melts).
    I've done something similar when transfering an image to leather. Will this
    photocopy toner protect the metal under it from the acid? Will the acid
    dissolve the plating? Which is more reactive, steel of brass?
    Worse comes to worse I can just write the equations on with the etch
    resist pens and drop the thing in acid. But at $20 a pop, and being a poor
    student I'd like to avoid mistakes. Anyone with some good advice please
    email me at marc_rn[at symbol goes here]

    Sincerely Marc Reeve-Newson
  2. Garrett Mace

    Garrett Mace Guest

    Straight muriatic probably won't do well at etching stainless steel. It
    doesn't even do well on copper. If you add an oxidizer like a good splash of
    hydrogen peroxide, it will start chewing (at least on copper, nickel, steel,
    and aluminum). I know that ferric chloride will etch stainless (and copper
    of course). I think that once you get through the stainless plating, the
    brass underneath will begin to etch very quickly. Brass is mostly copper.
    Are you sure that the lighter is stainless-plated, and not nickel or chrome

    Never put any aluminum into a muratic etch solution. You are asking for a
    very nasty exothermic reaction and a possible hydrogen explosion, in a vat
    of corrosive acid too. I would suggest trying this etching with ferric
    chloride first.
  3. Quack

    Quack Guest

    Hi Marc,

    I dont have an answer for you, but i'd like to know how it went if
    you'v tried it already ...

    I'v considering etching a few things (i use ferric chloride for pcb's)
    - but i havent tried anything but copper-clad boards.

  4. I checked the Zippo site and sent a query to their cutomer support asking
    *what* my lighter is made of. Looking through their catalogue makes me
    believe that my lighter is probably chrome plated. This would make it
    harder to etch, right? (I'm guessing it's time to bug a few friends in

    As for putting aluminum in the acid, I already know that trick for
    producing hydrogen, but you day it like it's a bad thing. Thanks for the

    Sincerely Marc Reeve-Newson
  5. Assuming this works I'll try to post the experience or better yet put it
    online. With luck I can get it up on google (I wasn't able to find anything
    helpful that was specific to etching lighters).

    Sincerely Marc Reev-Newson

  6. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

  7. I've considered laser engraving, but part of the fun would be doing this
    myself (plus I'm a poor/cheap student). I can proably get access to some
    high powered lasers (~5 W) though. Hmmmm.......

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