Homemade Etching Brew - WarmGlass.com

Homemade Etching Brew

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Monty
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Homemade Etching Brew

Postby Monty » Tue Mar 16, 2004 5:20 pm

Has anyone have a recipe for etching liquid? Probably a sugar acid concoction? I’m thinking liquid is better as submerging a complete bowl/plate etc instead of smothering with cream will give a better final result. You can get cream in New Zealand but not liquid.

I found on this sight a link to Vera Etch frosting powder that you make up into a liquid. This stuff looks like it’s just the ticket but the problem is freight, enough powder for 5 gallons is approx US$300 and then the freight to get it here is another US$300…Ouch!

I’ve looked into hydrofluoric acid but the more I research the less I like it (it’s truly terrible stuff) so the next best thing is a sugar acid brew but I can’t seem to find any great recipes out there.

Can anyone help?
Cheers
Monty

Phil Hoppes
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Postby Phil Hoppes » Tue Mar 16, 2004 5:54 pm

Do yourself a big favor and get a sandblasting setup used or something. Any acid that etches glass is just not worth messing around with ESPECIALLY HF. I worked in the semiconductor industry that uses that and everyone I know that worked with it absolutely hates that stuff. Very dangerous from every way you look at it.

Phil

Bert Weiss
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Postby Bert Weiss » Tue Mar 16, 2004 6:29 pm

Phil Hoppes wrote:Do yourself a big favor and get a sandblasting setup used or something. Any acid that etches glass is just not worth messing around with ESPECIALLY HF. I worked in the semiconductor industry that uses that and everyone I know that worked with it absolutely hates that stuff. Very dangerous from every way you look at it.

Phil


HF is on the danger list somewhere just below nuclear power. Sugar acid is HF.

On the other hand some of the dips and creams use less dangerous chemicals like sodium bifluorite and hydrocloric acid. I have no idea what is available in OZ, but my guess is that there are some alternatives that don't involve that level of shipping.
Bert

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Nancy
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Postby Nancy » Tue Mar 16, 2004 9:56 pm

Hi,

Nancy's husband here... chemist by training. HF attacks your bones!!!! Best to leave it in the polymer bottle...it doesn't ship well in glass!!!

I am not familiar with Sugar acid but unless it's a misnomer it should not have any fluorine in it. Sugars & Starches are composed of smaller subunits like glucose which don't have fluorines in them, so it would be difficult for them to generate HF. In addition, if the acid is truly derived from sugars it probable isn't that strong, i.e. doesn't have a low PH.

Let me know the structure & origin of Sugar Acid, I'm curious.

with very kind regards,

Will

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Postby Brad Walker » Tue Mar 16, 2004 10:10 pm

Nancy's husband Will (the chemist) wrote:Let me know the structure & origin of Sugar Acid, I'm curious.l


The formula for sugar acid is widely circulated in Australia. It's meant as an acid polish recipe for lead based glass, but will also etch soda lime glasses.

The basic ingredients are distilled water, very fine sugar, and ammonium hydrogen diflouride.

Not for the timid. Goggles, gloves, mask, ventilation, rubber apron, etc.

Brock
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Postby Brock » Tue Mar 16, 2004 10:11 pm

Nancy wrote:Hi,

Nancy's husband here... chemist by training. HF attacks your bones!!!! Best to leave it in the polymer bottle...it doesn't ship well in glass!!!

I am not familiar with Sugar acid but unless it's a misnomer it should not have any fluorine in it. Sugars & Starches are composed of smaller subunits like glucose which don't have fluorines in them, so it would be difficult for them to generate HF. In addition, if the acid is truly derived from sugars it probable isn't that strong, i.e. doesn't have a low PH.

Let me know the structure & origin of Sugar Acid, I'm curious.

with very kind regards,


Will


Don't have the structure, but sugar acid is a mild form of hydrofluoric, used extensively in Oz. Brock
Last edited by Brock on Tue Mar 16, 2004 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My memory is so good, I can't remember the last time I forgot something . . .

Monty
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Postby Monty » Tue Mar 16, 2004 11:13 pm

Whoa!
Thanks everyone, that's a great heads up....I think I'll checkout a sandblasting alternative first and then perhaps have a hunt around Ausy for something if that doesn't work out.
Cheers
Monty

Bert Weiss
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Postby Bert Weiss » Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:46 am

Mild hydrofluoric will still dissolve your eyeballs, remove the paint from a car, dissolve glass... overexposure can be fatal. It is a wetting solution so once it is on it's way through your skin, water is not an effective diluter.

I was taught to use HF with simple safety equipment outdoors, so it is possbible. On the other hand, after mastering the technique, I vowed not to do it again. At least not without an OSHA approved acid booth, which is not in the budget any time soon.
Bert



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Peg
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Postby Peg » Thu Mar 18, 2004 8:28 am

I've used an acid bath in a fume cupboard (HF acid) for deep etching of flashed glass at a local college. We had to wear 2 pairs of rubber gloves, a facemask and goggles.

The acid eats the glass at an alarming rate - to the extent that you could etch holes right through the glass if you weren't watching what you were doing. The glass has to be continuously stroked with a goose feather to brush away the glass crystals that form in the acid.

When the inside of the windows on the other side of the room started hazing over it was realized the fume cupboard extractor wasn't as efficient as it should be (the cupboard itself had acrylic walls). I think they shut down the etching facility, which is a shame as the effect could be spectacular.

frenchacidman
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Postby frenchacidman » Fri Mar 19, 2004 4:45 am

Just a little tid bit about the sugar acid mixture. The sugar is usually dextrose and is only added as a buffer to affect the way the flourosilic crystals form on the glass surface. Instead of the crystals forming in a sharper crystaline shape, they become more cobblestone like. It leaves the surface texture microscopically smoother resulting in a brighter, smoother finish.
Although many people fear this acid (and truthfully it must be handled properly) in its use by a trained glass embosser its effects are truly awesome.
Pat
Pat

Phil Hoppes
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Postby Phil Hoppes » Fri Mar 19, 2004 8:42 am

frenchacidman wrote:Just a little tid bit about the sugar acid mixture. The sugar is usually dextrose and is only added as a buffer to affect the way the flourosilic crystals form on the glass surface. Instead of the crystals forming in a sharper crystaline shape, they become more cobblestone like. It leaves the surface texture microscopically smoother resulting in a brighter, smoother finish.
Although many people fear this acid (and truthfully it must be handled properly) in its use by a trained glass embosser its effects are truly awesome.
Pat



While true, unlike many other glass techniques where one can get away safely with a "hack" messing around with HF requires lots of safety equipment let alone proper storage and disposal of the waste. I would not want nor suggest to use it unless one was prepared to make the necessary expense for all of the proper equipment for safely handling HF.

Phil

Bert Weiss
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Postby Bert Weiss » Fri Mar 19, 2004 10:27 am

Phil Hoppes wrote:
frenchacidman wrote:Just a little tid bit about the sugar acid mixture. The sugar is usually dextrose and is only added as a buffer to affect the way the flourosilic crystals form on the glass surface. Instead of the crystals forming in a sharper crystaline shape, they become more cobblestone like. It leaves the surface texture microscopically smoother resulting in a brighter, smoother finish.
Although many people fear this acid (and truthfully it must be handled properly) in its use by a trained glass embosser its effects are truly awesome.
Pat



While true, unlike many other glass techniques where one can get away safely with a "hack" messing around with HF requires lots of safety equipment let alone proper storage and disposal of the waste. I would not want nor suggest to use it unless one was prepared to make the necessary expense for all of the proper equipment for safely handling HF.

Phil


Phil

Keeping in mind my previous postings, here is some more of my experience. I was taught to use HF outdoors with minimal safety equipment. You need a plastic photo developing tray, a hose, a plastic apron, rubber boots, respirator with acid filter in place, eye goggles, and optional heavy rubber gloves. Oh yeah and some plastic darkroom tongs. You need to be careful to stand upwind.

The rubber glove thing is, or course scary. Some people don't like rubber gloves because it can give you a false sense of security. A pin hole in the gloves can be very dangerous. A quick rinsing of an exposed area will remove any acid. Once it has begun to sink in, it will continue to do so unless diluted with another wetting solution like contact lens solution.

I did this indoors on the 3rd floor with a Sears window fan. I didn't do enough to rot the fan out, but of course it would eventually. The 3rd floor was key because cars were parked outdoors on ground level and the paint would have been effected had I been closer.

I used 2 resists, clear Venture tape (high quality contact paper), and asphaltum (liquid tar). The tape had to be burnished after heating with a hair dryer a bit. Asphaltum sealed the edges. Bees wax also works, I think.

When you are done, the acid can be neutralized by adding soda ash or baking soda (a lot) until litmus paper reads neutral. At this point it is not particularly dangerous. I am not aware of the OSHA routine for neutralized acid waste.

We once tried doing a large door sidelight in a laquer exhaust booth. The fans were not adequate and we had to neutralize and run out and then neutralize some more until it was safe to go in. I wasn't present when the job was redone outdoors. The result was nice though. The technique was to sandblast, then etch away some blasted areas in a pattern. It was a restoration of turn of the century art glass.

The worst thing that happened to me was little bits of acid under my finger nails. This was irritating but that's all. Enough to be scary. I collected HF horror stories when I was involved in my project. Some were pretty bad, like the guy who mistook the acid bucket for the rinse bucket and stuck his hand in.
Bert



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