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  • Jaakko Fagerlund
    replied
    One that I have to test if a regular laser printer paper works at all, as the printing is plastic and thus electrically non-conductive. The only worry is that the plastic is very thin and might not handle even the low 10-15 VDC.

    Other idea would be to etch an electrode to a regular printed circuit board. These are actually very easy to make and very fine details can be had if ordered from a PCB supplier with gerber files

    Have to make some test next week, I think something feasible can be invented for HSM usage

    Edit: Or laser cut from a PVC tape the design you want and tape it on.
    Last edited by Jaakko Fagerlund; 01-01-2012, 10:18 AM.

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  • RussZHC
    replied
    Dec 2011/Jan 2012 issue of Machinist's Workshop has an article titled:

    "Laser Printing on Any Clean, Smooth Surface"

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  • alanganes
    replied
    Etch-O-Matic

    These are "electro-etchers". The knife maker guys seem to use them to mark their creations. Some info on a home made unit here:

    http://www.knives.mlogiudice.com/kni...er/index.shtml

    Essentially just an AC/DC power supply of about 12-24V. The trick is in the stencils and electrolytes. If you google "electro-etching" you will find loads of info to get you started. I have heard that this can be done using just salt water as an electrolyte, but have never tried it.

    I also recall seeing an article about this in one of the old popular science or popular mechanix magaizines from the '50's or '60's. Some poking about on google books may turn it up.

    Edit: While it is not the one I was recalling, I just found this one:
    POP MECH
    Last edited by alanganes; 01-01-2012, 09:29 AM.

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  • Jaakko Fagerlund
    replied
    Yep, would be interested in knowing the required properties of the stencil. I do understand that it would have to conduct electricity through the wanted text, but otherwise be an insulator.

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  • fredf
    replied
    Originally posted by Jaakko Fagerlund
    How does that Etc-O-Matic stencil work, I mean what it is and what could be substituted? The machine is easy, as it is just a DC power source with about 10-15 VDC and a few amps of current.
    I would like to find out more about this my self

    I have used a mimeograph stencil, blotting paper (or paper towel), and an electrolyte to mark metal. was more than a few years ago, probably 40 years or so ago the mimeograph stencil had to be "cut" with an impact like a typewriter or even a ball point pen, which would make it hard to use with modern printers.

    FWIW: the process with the odor, was the ditto machine or spirit duplicator, where the stencils had a waxy film which was dissolved by the spirits and transferred to the paper. printing was blue

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  • Jaakko Fagerlund
    replied
    How does that Etc-O-Matic stencil work, I mean what it is and what could be substituted? The machine is easy, as it is just a DC power source with about 10-15 VDC and a few amps of current.

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  • armedandsafe
    replied
    Originally posted by kbertoson
    The Etch-O-Matic. looks like a good tool and the cost is not excessive. Based on use by a business. In the 1960's, 1970's. Popular Science or Popular Mechanics had an article on making your own etching machine. A search of Google Books should turn up the article. It used a transformer and a pad. The electrolyte was a saline solution as I recall. The stencils were made made on a typewriter using stencil paper from the old rotary machines. Anybody my age can remember those from school along with the smell of the liquid.
    I remember those smells.

    I made many stencils for the Etch-O-Matic using their blanks and my dot matrix printer. That works well. This latest project I'm using the photo-developed stencils from them, as my last dot printer is down and their stencils last longer (more transfers per stencil) than the old paper ones.

    I have also used their old stencil stock with ferric-chloride for etching brass, when I needed a much deeper etch.

    Pops

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  • kbertoson
    replied
    The Etch-O-Matic. looks like a good tool and the cost is not excessive. Based on use by a business. In the 1960's, 1970's. Popular Science or Popular Mechanics had an article on making your own etching machine. A search of Google Books should turn up the article. It used a transformer and a pad. The electrolyte was a saline solution as I recall. The stencils were made made on a typewriter using stencil paper from the old rotary machines. Anybody my age can remember those from school along with the smell of the liquid.

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  • darryl
    replied
    Yes, that does a very good job. I don't have a laser engraver, or access to one. My challenge was to do the job at home as best I can, and make it look decent. I've found a way to do that. Besides my time, it's going to cost me about two bucks for enough prints to cover several projects, including this rather large one (large as far as front panel area goes). I have enough projects going already that are costing significantly, so if I can save a buck and create something at the same time, why not-

    I'm going to have to consider the best format to use so the printer can give its best results. It would be nice if all the lettering came out sharp and clear. One shop did not want to see a bmp- they wanted it in pdf.

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  • tyrone shewlaces
    replied
    Getting in kind of late here, but to my eye my favorite kind of marking is to laser etch anodized aluminum. Basically the laser "removes" the color layer and leaves a nice clean-lined and professional looking markings. It's quite dramatic that the simple technique (if you have access to the laser or someone with one) creates such a good job. Very high contrast, especially in black, plus it's extremely durable.



    Here's a youtube video of some black aluminum being laser etched:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=-Wia9zRwm3I

    I don't know what power or wavelength it takes to do this (maybe a wide variety?), but it might be worth looking into.

    p.s. You can see from the video that proper safety eyewear would be most important when dealing with lasers. Seems like a lot of scattered reflection. Your vision can be severely and permanently damaged almost instantly with a laser so you must be vigilant with the safety measures.
    Last edited by tyrone shewlaces; 11-03-2011, 01:29 AM.

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  • darryl
    replied
    After work today I got a drug store photo department to make me a 4x6 with some words on it- background black, words in white. Set behind a slot in some laminate, it looks good- quite good actually. Backlit it stands out perfectly. I got the words as all capital letters, and a font size of 10 or 12 is perfect for the 1/4 inch slot that it's going to show through. Anything smaller or larger would require a different width of slot to look right. Of course, the size 10 font takes up less linear room than the 12. This is going to be a big factor if there's lots of nomenclature to be displayed on a smallish panel. I have a feeling I'm going with the 10.

    So- this works for me and is the way I'll be notating this project. It looks like a single white led will fairly evenly light up about 4 letters, and it gives a good glow to the green when cellophane is put between the led and the back of the photopaper strips.

    Then I did a test with some epoxy. I wiped a layer on the word strip, then laid the slotted piece of laminate over it. Before doing this, I deburred the slot, front and rear, and felt penned over the inside of the slot to darken it evenly. The epoxy did not take well to the inside of the slot, possibly because of the ink, but is also did not level out well enough to look good. The best look was the raw photo paper pressed against the back of the slot, and with the inside edge of the slot black felt penned.

    I've described what looks best using this method- I still have to find my camera, and when I do I'll possibly have at least one module face done. Then I'll post a pic.

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  • darryl
    replied
    Weekend Scientist- I am indeed going to try to build an analog indicator by bouncing a laser line off a galvanometer. Somewhere here I have a red laser with a window in front that makes the dot into a line. That particular one does a pretty good job of delivering a thin, sharp line.

    There will actually be about six indicators built into one housing. I can set the laser to one side and have each of the mirrors picking up a 'piece' of the laser line. Each one will reflect to its own scale. These will all be backlit as well. I'll adjust the lighting to get the best readability.

    I'm building a pair of electronic test benches. Each will have power supplies, switched ac outlets, some constant current sources at various levels, and a 555 timer based current pass controller. This controller will have variable duty cycle and frequency controls with a simple square wave output, and will control a high current output device. Any of the power supplies can be routed through this device by connection with binding posts. The meter module will have a pair of dc voltmeters, a dc and an ac ammeter, a dc wattmeter, an ac wattmeter, an rpm indicator, and a torque indicator. My plan is to eventually have a torque measuring module on board.

    I plan to use instrumentation op amps to condition the input voltages and buffers with feedback to drive the galvanometers. This way I'll get a fairly accurate and linear readout, and I'm going to see if I can come up with an auto-range function also. I want 0 to 3 volt, and 0 to 30 volt ranges, and an led will indicate which range has been locked in. Same for the current ranges- I want to be able to resolve down to 10 ma, but also read up to 10 amps.

    Each bench has ten modules in it. Eight of them are spoken for already with the various functions, dc and ac voltage outputs. I'm open to suggestions for the remaining two panels. I'm thinking that one of them could be used for an electronic variable load resistance. The other one- maybe a 'smart' battery charging module.

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  • armedandsafe
    replied
    Originally posted by ArkTinkerer
    Anyone have any good processes for stamped/engraved/deep etched markings? I've read some of the descriptions in HSM about scratching markings and steel punching numbers/letters. None of these seem really practical for doing a modest number (10-30) of the same part.

    ArkTinkerer
    See my post about Etch-O-Matic. The stencils are about $30 each and the machine is about $80. If you go into doing a lot of different small lots, it pays to make your own stencils. They will etch to about 3 - 4 thou.

    Pops

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  • ArkTinkerer
    replied
    Anyone have any good processes for stamped/engraved/deep etched markings? I've read some of the descriptions in HSM about scratching markings and steel punching numbers/letters. None of these seem really practical for doing a modest number (10-30) of the same part.

    ArkTinkerer

    Leave a comment:


  • Evan
    replied
    I still use Paint Shop Pro Version 7 for much of my graphics work. I know it inside out as I was a tester on it as well as v8 and v9 before JASC sold out to Corel. Arcane computer trivia: JASC stood for Just Another Software Company.

    I also use SketchUp and for CNC work I often design directly in CamBam.

    There are a lot of ways to use a laser. I can use my low powered CNC laser to cut etch masks for circuit boards but that's not all. Stainless steel, aluminum, brass and bronze as well as copper can all be etched by ferric chloride. You can do etched engraving or even laser cut light masks such as this encoder wheel. It was cut using a 200 milliwatt laser burning away black spray paint on PET-G plastic. It would make an excellent mask for back lit lettering. These images are back lit.



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