Sunday, December 21, 2014

Rusty Knuckles Custom Belt Buckles From Soda Etching

Transferring the art for the buckles onto the aluminum plate
Hardly a day goes by when we aren't trying to up the ante on our craftsmanship and products offered. Have a look at a new product in the development phase, with our soda etched aluminum belt buckles. We have been wanting a quality belt buckle for quite a long time and didn't want to spend a certain amount on minimum orders from large manufacturers so we opted to read up on the process via many online resources such as this one on Instructables or this one for a guitar pedal

Our initial etchings are a bit rough as we are testing papers and dialing in our production process. The next steps will be to then finish out the existing designs with a perfect etch, TIG weld on the back the pieces needed to attach to a belt and then polish to perfection and be ready to ship. We will be offering up quite a few of these for the bands we work with in limited runs and then to also have batches of one off designs created in limited editions. 

Once our aluminum buckles are perfected we have also been building our new kiln to start pouring molten bronze buckles through sand casting. If any of this were easy and a few quick steps we would have all of this done quickly, but of course quality takes time and that's the best way to operate.
From all of our research, Sodium Hydroxide and H20 is a much easier and safer route than the chemical etching, due to disposal and ease of use getting the products. So be careful with the DIY chemistry and work in a well ventilated space. This mixture is very caustic and of course can cut through body parts faster than a man with a pig farm, just ask Bricktop.

Check out another one of our DIY Chemistry projects for D Rings with Brass Removal

Buckles are dropped into a pyrex dish and then agitated with a mix of Sodium Hyrdroxide and H2O

The caustic mix starts to etch into the exposed aluminum plate

Rough buckles coming out of the sodium etching bath and nowhere near perfect

We didn't get a perfect etch as there is a lot of pitting in areas which should be smooth

Not too shabby for our first soda etches, now just need to insure a proper transfer from the toner paper