Some Helpful Suggestions on Nameplate Etching

| April/May 1997

Subscriber Frank Foster, 25 Abbey St., Fairhaven, Massachusetts, sent in copies of two 'Letters to the Editor' of Stationary Engine magazine. He thought they would be of some interest to his fellow subscribers. We therefore reprint them with gracious permission form Stationary Engine.

The first letter, which appeared in the August 1994 issue of Stationary Engine, was written by Bryan Robert, Rad-book Green, Shrewsbury, and reads as follows:

'Dear Editor: In David Edging ton's article in the April (1994) issue he mentions the frustration of the restorer who is missing the spec plate. I have had some success etching a brass plate in the way the electronics enthusiast makes his printed circuit board.

The first step is to lay out some etch resistant lettering on a brass plate; transfer lettering (Letraset) with its various styles and sizes is ideal. For borders and larger areas, shapes cut in plastic electrical tape rubbed down hard on the surface, can be used. Curves, etc. are filled in by hand, using model paint (curves are available on Letraset Ed.)

'The completed mask is then placed with the etch ant in a plastic tray (margarine tub) which, if floated in a bowl of hot water (to speed reaction), will etch sufficiently if agitated for 10 to 15 minutes. If left too long, the lettering may be undermined.

'After etching, the masking is removed (cellulose thinners work well for this) and the whole plate is given a light 'blow over' with matte black aerosol. The tops of the lettering can then be polished with some fine emery paper on a flat block.


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