Does anyone know how a branding iron is made? Not the crude looking types for livestock, but the kind used for burning the louisville slugger logo and signature into a wood bat.
I know you can get custom made branding irons from Rockler or other sources, but I was hoping to be able to make my own.
If you have some type of vertical mill, just mill away what you don't want. If you don't have a mill, lay out you name, etc with magic marker or tape, get some small chisels and chisel away everything that is not marked. A small job shouldn't take long.It will have that handmade look.
The branding irons available for woodworking and leather work are made from photoengraved brass. These are easy to make. You take a piece of brass of sufficient mass to soak and hold the heat, coat it with a photo emulsion, expose it and then soak it in acid till you get the desired relief. If you want to try small qualities, the chemicals used in the production of printed circuit boards works well, slower than dedicated chemicals, but much cheaper. Any of the hobby and/or surplus electonic companies will have what you need. If you have access to a laser printer (inkjet priners don't have the density required) you can make some very intricate designs. I bought 25$ worth of chemicals about two years ago and have made 11 branding irons for my woodworking friends. Hope this helps you.
Thanks very much for the information. This seems like a perfect solution for me.
It's been a few years, but when we made a few wood items I had a couple of custom logo/brands made.
They were large chunks of brass (copper?) on the end of an electric soldering iron.
In those days the engraving appeared to have been done by hand on a pantograph machine. Probably done by CNC these days.
The photo etching process sounds the simplest. I wonder if the high quality brands are done that way? In my experience with etching sometimes there're problems with undercutting of teh design on deep etchs.
I learned one lesson about the brands, my son and his friends used to come to the shop and want to play with the branding setup. I let them try it on some old brown paper grocery bags. Bad idea, apparently there's something in the paper (acid?) which caused the fine details of the brand to errode after them playing for about 15 minutes.
Not responsive, but I thought you all might enjoy some old-time cattle brand technology!
Good old-style Texas cattle brands do not have any intersection in the metal. This would cause a hot spot which would burn the hide deeper, allowing a screw worm infestation of the wound. For instance, a cross would only be four lines with a blank spot in the center, none intersecting, sometimes known as a "southern cross" in Australia (a constellation). Screw worms were a problem in Texas until the early 1980's when they were eradicated back to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico. Some ranchers close to a city would use dry ice instead of fire for branding when they had intersections in their brand so as not to infest the animal. Ex-wife was a rancher. A.T.
The name on a bat was probably done with a laser.
Re: laser printer
You can get something and skip the photoemulsion.
It is basically an iron on transfer, you print it in a laser printer, iron it on to your metal, then peel the film back off. It will leave the trace on there, ready to etch.
I have used ferric chloride on copper quite a few times. Dont know how well it will work on brass, never tried.
I think this is the stuff I have.
oh yah...never used a laser printer, always used the copy machine. Another advantage is that you can do hand drawn stuff if you are the artistic type.