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Thread: Etched Steel

  1. #1
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    Etched Steel

    My girlfriend showed me a piece she made in school the other day that featured large copper plates that had been etched with acid and I was wondering if anyone had ever chemically etched a bicycle frame or components. I know some builder's got (and still do get) very ornate with their lugs, etc... It seems like maybe somebody would have taken that a step farther and etched a design into a frame. Yes, no?
    trued 'till death

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    Senior Member mezza's Avatar
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    Never heard of it but it sounds like a great idea. My imagination is running wild with that
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    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
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    Well, many of us can and have done a combination of scotchbrite or polished which is then masked and bead-blasted, which creates the same effect. Also, many companies that do Aluminium frames laser etch their logos - Ellsworth and Santa Cruz spring to mind.

    Expect to see many steel frames with 'etched' logos when this whole stainless thing takes off.
    Have you earned your stripes? <<click here / Questions about custom frames? Chat me! - warwickg71 (AIM/iChat) ThylacineCycles (Skype)

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    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    "Chemical milling" is a term used to describe acid etching of mechanical components. Although it's not overly popular, some titanium framebuilders have the tubes "chemically milled" on the inside to remove material, thus creating a "butted" tube profile.
    Last edited by Nessism; 12-21-06 at 07:48 AM.
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  5. #5
    Dr.Deltron
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    My son's name is Merlin and here's a frame I'd love to get him when he's big enough!

    http://mbent.net/cycles/nahbs/pages/merlin02.htm

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    That Merlin is a perfect example of what I was thinking about. It looks beautiful. Of course, since it's a purely aesthetic addition to the frame, and a costly one (in terms of time and perhaps money) at that, it seems like something that would have to be reserved for only very special frames.

    Thanks.
    trued 'till death

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    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Igneous Faction
    That Merlin is a perfect example of what I was thinking about. It looks beautiful. Of course, since it's a purely aesthetic addition to the frame, and a costly one (in terms of time and perhaps money) at that, it seems like something that would have to be reserved for only very special frames.

    Thanks.
    You mean special in a bad way, right? It looks like someone simultaneously discovered you could CN mill tubes radially and right next to the machine was a version of CorelDraw from 1994.

    *Boom* Behold the Merlin Agilis, which I believe in Greek means "Look, I discovered you could CM mill tubes radially and oh what's this? First Edition CorelDraw!"



    Okay, slight exaggeration, but not far off.
    Have you earned your stripes? <<click here / Questions about custom frames? Chat me! - warwickg71 (AIM/iChat) ThylacineCycles (Skype)

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    I agree with the idea that this may not be the pinacle of art. However the same should be said of lugs, just some stock curly cues repeated ab nauseum, thanks to an earlier technology called casting, or earlier still in stamping. Ornamentation of a formal type has a long history, people either love it, like wrought Iron work in a great city in europe, or they hate it and push "purer" lines like modern architecture.

    I wonder if one can hand engrave titanium. One certainly can hand engrave steel. That would eliminate the criticism that it's just some kind of clip art file.

  9. #9
    Dr.Deltron
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    I wonder if one can hand engrave titanium. One certainly can hand engrave steel. That would eliminate the criticism that it's just some kind of clip art file.
    Titanium is much harder metal, so I would imagine that hand engraving it would be much harder. You could get some cut vinyl (using CorelDraw vector art ) and then have it media blasted into the Ti. But be careful NOT to mention it here, for fear of being flamed by Thylacine!

    On that note, I'm gonna duck-&-cover!! ...

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    I think acid etched is a old process but very effective but quite dangerous since acid is involved. I had this project in my mtb bashring. Using aluminum T6 and some artwork of skull and character on it using adobe illustrator and the make film out of it. Cleaning (aluminum) throughly with degreaser and dry and put some thin layer photo emulsion and dry. after this I put the film on the surface of Alum. and then contact it with 1000watts halogen bulb for 1 min. and then rinse it with a developer and start acid etching for 4 min. or longer depends on how deep you want to achieved.

  11. #11
    Dr.Deltron
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    Quote Originally Posted by boyet
    I think acid ... want to achieved.
    I worked at a glass etching shop and we used photo stencils that were created using a similar process. Except that we made the stencil, applied it to the substrate and blasted it with 150 grit medium. (custom sand).

    I actually used that method to create business cards on rocks. They were really cool and would last for say 10,000 years. Course they cost about $2.50 each to make. But nobody ever forgot getting one, even if they didn't keep it in their wallet.

    I have plans for a couple bike parts I want to do. I'll post picks when they're done.

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