Etching Tutorial and FAQ
Tracy Mickley –
Bob Warner http://www.warnerknives.com/ has allowed us to incorporate two of his tutorials, Making a light box and Making an etch machine.
Mike Fitz. – researched and compiled the supplier listing at the end of this tutorial.
The equipment you will use is:
An etch machine. These can be constructed for around $25 to $50 in parts or purchased commercially for up to $900 for a complete kit. Most knife makers purchase a machine for around $100 to $200. eBay often has etching machines for sale. I picked up mine, a Marking Methods 300a from eBay at a very good price. Later in this tutorial, we include Bob Warner’s tutorial on how to make your own etch machine for around $50. A lot of people have made this machine and it works very well from what they say.
You will need a stencil. The stencil is roughly, a rubber coated piece of fine mesh fiber screen maybe 2”x3”. You can make a stencil or have them commercially made from a half dozen different companies. Making your own requires you make a light box to expose the stencil and then developing them in a solution. I have made stencils by putting them under glass and going outside on a sunny day and exposing them to sunlight but it is hard to get consistent results. Cost to make your own stencils will be around $25 in supplies and a home made light box for another $25. You will be able to make a couple dozen stencils using your computer printer. Producing you own stencil will take 15 minutes. You can also purchase stencils commercially by just calling up one of the suppliers and telling them what you want. Often there is an art or setup charge ranging from $25 to $40. The stencil costs vary widely but can be averaged at around $35 to $40 for 4 to 6 stencils on a sheet. A typical individual stencil might be 2”x2”. Have a look at the supplier listing Mike Fitz assembled for more.