How to do your own PE parts in 1 hour ;)


gionc
04-25-2007, 12:37 PM
Hi guys,
someone asked me, in my threads, how I'll do custom PE parts: this time I taken some step-by-step pict over the process.

This would be a brief tutorial, so feel free to ask me here (no PM plizz) what's unclear or skipped.

Before all I want to thanks (a LOT!) two fellows, without them contribution and help I'll done nothing. First one is Jaykay640: he was (and is) super inspiring with his McLaren thread, and super-helpful with his answers: you're GIANT! The second is my friend Motociclante from the ita forum: he done really a huge research on PE techniques and materials, in particular on the UV device: thanks you too.

Things you need:

Transparent acetate for ink-jet or laser, you'll also ask a service to print your artwork on a slide hi res prnter for offset printing, if youre able to locate one: they're losting due the direct to plate printing tech.

Paper tape (masking tape) and double side tape.

UV device: you'll buy one or make your stuff: I done mine with an old scanner as box, four UV 12V lamps, few cables ;): the web is full of tutorial about do something like that, just do a research, all the refs I have are in italian.

Developing solution and acid: I'm still using some great stuff designed for plate etching (that is a bit different from electronic etching): BTW you'll use some thinned (water) caustic-soda as developer and ferric-cloride as acid: I don't like ferric cloride cos do much dirty and oxid.

Some toluene solvent (nitro), or acetone, to remove the laquer after the etching.

Pre-coated plates, ready for etching. You'll try the job with the famous UV laquer Positiv20, I tried: you'll achieve good result but for the little parts I need and for the cost I prefere ready boards. You'll find all from an electronic supplier.

Let's start, please reply after "the end" ;)



And, at least, no hurry, like ever in modelling: you'll do all in 1 hour working quiet ;)

gionc
04-25-2007, 01:57 PM
Step 1: Artwork.

Everyone here still using great PE stuff from good manufacturers: you know already how your PE shoud be! Anyway you need to know very little to start. The narrowed line you will do (as also for the smaller hole) is approx (to work in safety) 0.1mm plus 25% tolerance, I know some great manufacturer do smaller, but we, at home, aren't they LOL.

So 0.1-0.2 mm minimum with a great printer device and good tools and acid, and a great eye to overlap slides: if you do it wrong of 0.1mm you already screwed up you job!

I'm speaking of 2 sides etching: so we'll design different details (ex. engravings) in front and back side: following you'll see that I designed sprues just in the back side to allow part's removing.

Just 2 words on the design: if you haven't any CAD/graphic design skills, meanwhile you learn, feel free to use this file (4 point harness/belts) to do your experiments:

www.gionc.it/gioseatbelt.pdf (http://www.gionc.it/gioseatbelt.pdf)

(sorry Mods, I need to host in my site since photobucket don't allow pdf or other vector upload, if you have a solution to host here just let me know.)

So: design our shapes. In that case I'm designing something for my 360CS build: basically I want to add pulleyes, belts and details and Tamiya offers a timing part's cover melted with belts and stuff... so I designed mine: overlapping as a template a 1/1 tamiya part's scan and next overlapping a detailed ferrari technical draw:

first step:

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/rough1.jpg

I designed my stuff as a sketch just over the Tamiya 360 modena part's scan.

Followin the almost completed job:

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/rough2.jpg

There I overlapped and detailed my job on a Ferrari tech, draw: like you'll see shapes I drawn match the draw: tamiya people done a great job! I started to add details like alternator and pumps backings. At least alternator was designed out of 11 parts: in 6x6x6 mm!

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/rough3.jpg

This is the finished job, front side:

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/drawfront.jpg

Important thing: less is the stuff that acid have to etch, less is the time, the acid and plate temperature, more the quality. So is good stuff to surround all and fill any space you don't need to etch.

So I mirrored the job and added stuff like sprues to keep all toghether.

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/drawback.jpg

Doing the mirror job you need to draw some cross to allow next step: overlap's setup.

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/drawimpa.jpg

gionc
04-25-2007, 02:12 PM
Time to print: I used a 9600x2400 dpi ink jet printer: enough for my needed. Just be sure to set up blacks at 100% for each ink in CMYK and gain a bit inks set up in the print dialog, you need a opaque black. Media needed are ink jet's films for presentation, better the quality, better the result. In print dialog choose "mirrored" or "emulsion back": you need to expose plates in contact with the ink, to avoid refractions that the film could do.

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/printedonace.jpg

Now is time to cut the film: you have to perfectly and carefully overlap ink on ink the two drawings, little cross are done for that. Remember that a 0.1mm misallignement would burn all your 0.1 mm details, so take time, do attempt and fix with tape when you don gol! Now we have to glue slides togheter with double side tape: we need a pocket, or a sandwiches with the pre-sensybilized plate inside:

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/overlap1.jpg

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/overlap3.jpg

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/overlap4.jpg

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/overlap5.jpg

How you'll see the overlap's set up is good:

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/overlap2.jpg

gionc
04-25-2007, 02:38 PM
I guess you'll lost 10 minutes after the "print launch" if you work at the sloth speed ;) :D So we have 50 min. left: more than needed :naughty::evillol: I guess we deserve a good beer before the etching ;)


Time to cut th plate in the desired size (do it with a sharp knife since scissor could bend it) and peel the protection tape: you'll do it quickly at daylight, be sure to avoid overexpositions.

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/plate.jpg

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/plate2.jpg

Insert the plated (peeled LOL) in the "pocket" you done with slides, fix it with tape and expose it in the UV device. Normally it need 2-3 minutes each side. I done a kind set-up on my UV device pulling tall the glass board approx 10-12 cm over lams: it help me a smooth and costant exposition, so times are a bit longer: approx 6 min/side. Also with old developer you may help chemicals with 2-3 mins more of exposition.

So other 12 mins, 38 left, we have to start run :D

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/UV1.jpg

(just in case you want ask: my device isn't do by paper LOL I just filled with cardboard to avoid UV rays go around LOL)

Develop the board: it would take a couple mins for side with 20 warm solution, this is teh result:

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/developed.jpg

Like you'll see holes are now bare metal and stuff we need to keep are protected by a gray/green/blue laquer.

33 mins left: time to etch.

Etching solution I used need to be warmed at approx 45 (I believe) and need to be stirred often. Or you buy a etching station with pump and warmer or...

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/acid.jpg

I put warm water in the big blue container, later the chemical reaction help to keep the temperature HI, may be useful cut your board in several parts, etching times may be different:

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/cut.jpg

I found this solution to keep parts:

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/acid3.jpg

despite at begin acid is transparent, it quickly become cloudy: look what happened: it eat me a new pincher in few minutes! May be was a strange material, old two dirty pinchers are ok!

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/ever1stime.jpg

Every so often mix the solution, stirring it with a plastic wand and check it: you'll see that acid start to eat ;)

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/acid2.jpg

Finally after 20-25 (30/40 with 3-4 times used acid) is time to wash your etched plate under water, dry it and wash on solvent to clean from the laquer:

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/solvent.jpg

After cleaning, this is the result (1h later ;)

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/PE%20howto/result.jpg

THE END!

thanks a lot guys for read it, sorry if something was unclear (also for shi##y english) and be free to ask, if I can I'll answer.

ciao
gio

auw12
04-25-2007, 02:46 PM
Uncountable thanks man!!!! You're the best!!!! and THIS THREAD IS A KILLER!!!!!

M-Tuning
04-25-2007, 03:17 PM
Nice tutorial.

maybe im going to etch my own stuff too :D

Risko
04-25-2007, 03:25 PM
WOW. :worshippy

OrangeR
04-25-2007, 03:42 PM
Wow! PRICELESS CONTRIBUTION!!!

Thank you very much!

Spike2933
04-25-2007, 03:54 PM
damn only if I had the money to do this

that is awesome that you can make your own PE parts

drunken monkey
04-25-2007, 04:13 PM
for those interested, maybe you can give an indication of the costs involved for the required supplies and/or services.

mike@af
04-25-2007, 04:14 PM
Awesome! Thanks Gio...thats all I need, one more project to build my models. They'll never be finished now. I'm going to want PE for everything.

voyageur
04-25-2007, 04:27 PM
I will try that some time in the future. Many thanks for the tutorial...I always wanted to know how this is done. Great pictures!

hrmodeler
04-25-2007, 04:49 PM
Great Gio!
It reminds me on time when I made my electronic devices. :-)

gionc
04-25-2007, 05:32 PM
for those interested, maybe you can give an indication of the costs involved for the required supplies and/or services.
UV device: it may cost less of 40-50 usd: all you need is a box (old scanner have already the glass board) , 3-4 UV lamps (12W) reactors and power supply. You'll find a ready-to-use UV device for 130-250 $ and a pro UV device with vacuum for more, 600-750 $.

UV coated plates: something like 7-8$ for a 100x250 mm 0.10mm thick nickel board. (what I used) Brass and steel cost more, as per more thickness.

Acid: from 8 to 13-15 $ for 1 Kg (mine was the best one) , it work with 3 liters of water, I use 1 liter a time, you'll use the solution several times: I used also moths after but you'll have even dirty results: but at least you'llwash better or sand.

Developer: approx 3 $, it works with 1 lt. water, you'll use the same times of the acid: but developing times may come slow.

I guess no other ;)

Services: slide print approax 15 bucks each A4, but the quality is fine, I used for my montecarlo project and come out superb.

Services: etching: approx 20-25 $ for each A4 (210x297 mm something like 6 good sets) and something like 130 $ for una-tantum tooling (for slides etc.) so you'll pay the same for 1 or 10.000 sets: I used a ita professional srvice for my montecarlo project, done by stainless steel, and it come out superb.

gionc
04-25-2007, 05:32 PM
Thanks guys I appreciated a lot ;)

Enzoenvy1
04-25-2007, 05:42 PM
Damn, that is so cool! I n all reality it doesn't seem that hard. I etched years ago but nothing this exact. All I need is,.........well,..........everything. Looks great, I will be the first and ask to buy a set. lol. :naughty:

D_LaMz
04-25-2007, 06:27 PM
lol this is great!

Now, go start a business!

mikemechanic
04-25-2007, 06:37 PM
Great tutorial Gio. I have a few questions.

#1 Do have any suggestions on a CAD/graphic design program?

#2 I've scanned decal sheets for masking purposes in the past and always found that I could never get the image to print with the same dimensions as the original sheet. How do you make sure that the image prints off with the exact dimensions?

#3 Do you have a picture of the UV box you use (without the cardboard)?

#4 I was a little unclear as the where the double-sided tape goes?

Other than that thanks for sharing very well written with great pictures.

Mike.

racer917
04-25-2007, 06:40 PM
what the ...

NOMADGAMER
04-25-2007, 08:59 PM
do you take custom orders? :naughty:

klutz_100
04-25-2007, 10:07 PM
Brilliant stuff buddy :thumbsup:

Your pictures makes it look so easy (then your Polita make it hard again :lol: j/k)

Seriously, great job :worshippy

#2 I've scanned decal sheets for masking purposes in the past and always found that I could never get the image to print with the same dimensions as the original sheet. How do you make sure that the image prints off with the exact dimensions?
That's soooo funny that you asked that Mike.
I was going to email Gio with the EXACT same question today but I'll just tack on to yours instead :D

gionc
04-26-2007, 12:42 AM
#1 Do have any suggestions on a CAD/graphic design program?

Two ways: if you need a service to etch you need an electronic CAD with Gerber languages or some graphic professional tools like Illustrator, Freehand or CorelDraw since they have to print on slide.

If you like I think to do the same home job like me you'll use everithing willprint on an ink-jet: also Word LOL. BTW I reccomend Adobe Illustrator (or similar) for the fine set-up you'lldo on line weight and CMYK colors, for designing tools I guess AutoCad (or similar) give more 2d options smoothing and cornering lines. Illustrator have some great tools like Boolean 2d operation and offsets that allow you to do the job quickly.

#2 I've scanned decal sheets for masking purposes in the past and always found that I could never get the image to print with the same dimensions as the original sheet. How do you make sure that the image prints off with the exact dimensions?

I guess it depends just o the scanner dialog and print dialog boxes: I have professional gears (since my job) but I guess also with cheap tools you'll have exactly the same size: at least you'll check everything in Photoshop as a postoprocessor: PSd help me ever to rotate right the scan, check X/Y sizes (to avoid strech) do optimizations. I'm used to scan images at grayscale, 1200 dpi (you'll have something like 1600% zoom level without aliasing).

#3 Do you have a picture of the UV box you use (without the cardboard)?

Yep: that before I tuned up it raising grass of approx 10 cm, but with an old tall scanner you'll do right from the start:

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/bromo2.jpg

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c159/gionc/bromo1.jpg

#4 I was a little unclear as the where the double-sided tape goes?

double sided tape keep togheter two slides: so I fixed the lower with tape, overlapped well, fixed with tape the top one in the lower side, folded it, placed the tape in the lowe slide and unfold teh top one, seem a joke but is really so easy to do, try with two piece of paper ;)

gtidude
04-26-2007, 04:13 AM
DUDE! that is just flippin awesome.
im a graphic designer.....now for my questions.
ok the same /similar process is used for printing books etc.
we also make plates, with positives..(acitate clear sheets)
we make the etched plates from aliminium and not steel will it still work? i know its abit softer than brass or steel

drunken monkey
04-26-2007, 05:27 AM
just so there is a frame of reference for relevent costs and achieveable results, in the UK (london) there's a place that can do Custom Photo etch for you that i've used before on an architectural project.

4Dmodel shop etching (http://www.modelshop.co.uk/services/s_03.htm)

gionc
04-26-2007, 05:51 AM
DUDE! that is just flippin awesome.
im a graphic designer.....now for my questions.
ok the same /similar process is used for printing books etc.
we also make plates, with positives..(acitate clear sheets)
we make the etched plates from aliminium and not steel will it still work? i know its abit softer than brass or steel

Dunno know if alu need a kind etching agent: the only thing I know is that should be hard find thin strong alu boards: I guess it will start from 0.3-0.4mm, so details you'll do are at least more than 0.4-0.5mm.

gionc
04-26-2007, 05:54 AM
FORGOT A THING

I said something about minimum size doing the artwork: when I said 0.1mm plus 25% it it referred to my board thickness that was 0.1mm: so the minimum size of your details depend of the material thickness: if you're etching a 1mm board you cant (or acid would eat) do details smaller than 1 mm (plust something for safe)

mike@af
04-26-2007, 11:47 AM
we make the etched plates from aliminium and not steel will it still work? i know its abit softer than brass or steel

Aluminum does not react well to the etchant/acid. It is very erratic. It needs a special type of acid, but even then it does not work well.

mikemechanic
04-26-2007, 05:02 PM
Thanks for the answers Gio. I have Adobe Illustrator CS2, just need to learn how to use it. I got an old scanner around here somewhere. Looks like a little time, effort and chemicals and I'll be good to go. Thank you very much for sharing this with us. Thanks to you I am a better modeler and broke (lol)

Mike.

coolchu
04-26-2007, 07:08 PM
woah what an amazing guide, awesome!

Big Kahuna
04-29-2007, 12:49 AM
Awesome tutorial Giovanni.
I just need to get the light box and I can do my own etching.

Where can I get the UV Lamps from? Any ideas?
Regards
Nens

gionc
04-29-2007, 03:50 AM
Hi Nens: any electronic stores, they just should be 12W UVA lamps (the kind long approx 30 cm.), my suggestion is to mount lamps 10-12 cm far from glass board, for a better (and longer) uniform exposition.

Murray Kish
04-29-2007, 05:32 PM
This thread is definitely a keeper. Thanks gionc...


Murray

cinqster
05-01-2007, 05:23 PM
Great tutorial G. Nice to see those Lightwave manuals being put to good use! LOL!

gionc
05-02-2007, 12:02 PM
Great tutorial G. Nice to see those Lightwave manuals being put to good use! LOL!

Yep: better use I know, those is dammn stodgy stuff ;) LOL

dflett
05-02-2007, 01:32 PM
Gionc

Are you willing to share your source(s) for the Ferrari technical drawings?

Thank you for the tutorial! I had just started to wonder about doing my own photo-etch. Thanks for sharing.

gionc
05-03-2007, 02:05 PM
Gionc

Are you willing to share your source(s) for the Ferrari technical drawings?

Thank you for the tutorial! I had just started to wonder about doing my own photo-etch. Thanks for sharing.

Just in the 360CS Owners Manual: you'll find it around or for cheap on ebay: it's a huge file to send for email, zory.

jotace
05-30-2007, 09:14 AM
Nice tutorial you have here. Thanks.
Just some questions - what kind of acid do you use for the etching? Does it work also with brass ? I use Ferric Chlorid (FeCl3) but is too dirty and too sow, even at 60.
Thanks
JC

gionc
05-31-2007, 02:35 PM
Nice tutorial you have here. Thanks.
Just some questions - what kind of acid do you use for the etching? Does it work also with brass ? I use Ferric Chlorid (FeCl3) but is too dirty and too sow, even at 60º.
Thanks
JC
Sorry for late reply, I noticed now. Yes, I found FeCl3 crappy too. Don't know how kind of thing I'm still using, is something from saemann-aetztechnik, the better kind. I guess it would be great also with brass.

pedrofsky
12-11-2009, 11:50 AM
i have a question, what would be the minimum dpi to do good PE parts? And what dpi resolution you would recommend?

Sorry, only saw the last comment date, its from 2007, anyway, if someone can help, im grateful.

AAlmeida
12-11-2009, 02:06 PM
i have a question, what would be the minimum dpi to do good PE parts? And what dpi resolution you would recommend?

Sorry, only saw the last comment date, its from 2007, anyway, if someone can help, im grateful.

Pedro 600dpi at least, 1200dpi would be better for minimum details.

pedrofsky
12-11-2009, 02:44 PM
My printer i think is 1200x1200 so its ok.. Thanks!

gionc
12-13-2009, 02:07 AM
Hi, sorry for late reply, been busy lately.
For a "professional" look when etched, PE needs a professional source like a slide printed by a offset industry' service: those services (ever less, since the born of the print to plate process) that print slides to build plates for the graphic industry.

You'll get decent results at home, my printer get 9600 by 2400 dpi (inkjet). I got also printers with lower outputs, by 1200 and 2400 dpi, but if you can get better or use a friend's printer, more resolution would be helpful.

My advice is to start with a good professional film, and etch the first stuff, than you'll decide and compare by yourself what is needed and what is enough.

Serioga
12-21-2009, 07:27 AM
Hi, Gionc.
I very like your article. I start to etching PE parts my self, but got stuck. Yesterday I tried to etch stainless steel (0,25mm thick) in FeCl solution, but after an hour the sheet was cowered with small cavitys, even under the photoresist. It is the failure.
As I see on your photos the metal you used is looks like steel. What is it? And what kind of Acid have you used?
Final question: where do you buy laminated metal sheets? Is there on-line shop?

Thanks in advance,
Sergey

gionc
12-30-2009, 04:23 AM
Hi, Gionc.
I very like your article. I start to etching PE parts my self, but got stuck. Yesterday I tried to etch stainless steel (0,25mm thick) in FeCl solution, but after an hour the sheet was cowered with small cavitys, even under the photoresist. It is the failure.
As I see on your photos the metal you used is looks like steel. What is it? And what kind of Acid have you used?
Final question: where do you buy laminated metal sheets? Is there on-line shop?

Thanks in advance,
Sergey

Sorry for delay Sergey: All my supplies (boards and acid, developing agent and eventually warm pool) are from Saemann.de, have a look ;)

I also didn't got good result with photoresist laquer, but I intend to study better the thing now or then, would be useful for 3D shaped objects ;)

psedney
08-02-2011, 03:45 AM
Sorry for delay Sergey: All my supplies (boards and acid, developing agent and eventually warm pool) are from Saemann.de, have a look ;)

I also didn't got good result with photoresist laquer, but I intend to study better the thing now or then, would be useful for 3D shaped objects ;)

Hi all,

I'm sorry for bringing this thread up again, but I have a question regarding to the source of the UV sheets.

I'm looking at saemann.de, but I can't find anything near to none of these items. Is there any place or ebay shop where I can find them?

Close to where I live, there's a manufacturer of these kind of plates, but the material is aluminium instead of brass or niquel. Would it work properly?

Thank you very much.

regards!

sky1911
08-02-2011, 02:38 PM
hi man,
not sure if this is allowed, so i'm going out on a limb here.. this is the direct link to their etching plates: http://www.saemann-aetztechnik.de/aetzbleche/neusilber/index.html

thing is, it probably doesn't help the entire page is in german, and german only. you could try running it through translate.google.com - just paste their url in the left box and select the languages. quick reminder - translating german to other languages is sort of ok, translating the other way (via software) is usually pretty horrible (at least to me).
also worth noting there is no online shop as such. you have to write down the parts-#, then grab the pricelist, check for the parts-# & locate it & the price, then write down your order list and email it to them. yea, usability at it's best :P. oh and they don't do orders via credit card either yet.

if you need help, ping me, but in general, translate.google should get you there (ok just tried it myself, translating it to english is not perfect, but it'll do well enough to get the gist of it ;))

as for your other questions, someone else more knowledgable needs to step in here as i haven't got a clue about this. i'm still in the planning stages of getting all the parts for a similar setup as described in this incredible tutorial.

psedney
08-03-2011, 06:07 PM
...
Thanks a lot man! That was very helpful!

Godfathercac
08-04-2011, 09:45 AM
Very in depth write up, Many thanks - very good read!

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