Making My Own Head Badges

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DANGER! I do NOT recommend that you try this. Failure to follow proper safety precautions can cause injury, blindness, death and there is a hazard of explosion from the production of hydrogen gas during this process! If you try this and cause injury or death, it's YOUR FAULT!

Materials I Used
  • Artwork for a headbadge
    Hydrogen Peroxide, 3% from my local pharmacy
    Muriadic Acid, 31.5%, from my local hardware store
    2 Plastic Containers, one for etching, the other for rinsing
    A plastic zip tie
    Press-n-Peel Blue Transfer Film, from http://www.techniks.com/
    Brass Sheet, 0.015" thick, from any hobby shop, like HobbyLobby.
    A laser printer or copy machine.
    An iron
    Brake Cleaner
    5/16" drill bit & drill
    Steel wool
    Spray paint, any color
    Long Nitrile Gloves (TO PREVENT THE ACID FROM TAKING MY SKIN OFF!)
    Chemical Bib (TO PREVENT THE ACID FROM BURNING THROUGH MY CLOTHES AND INTO MY BODY!)
    Face Shield (TO PREVENT THE ACID FROM DESTROYING MY EYES!)

How I Did It

I set myself up outside (TO PREVENT THE BUILDUP OF HIGHLY EXPLOSIVE HYDROGEN GAS INSIDE MY HOUSE!)

I prepared my artwork with some old graphics software and made sure that I could print the artwork to the exact size of the finished headbadge. PhotoShop would be great or another good free one is Gimp http://www.gimp.org/

I cut my brass sheet to slightly larger than needed.

I de-burred the brass around the edges.

I roughed up the brass with steel wool and then cleaned it with dish soap and water to remove any oils.

I transferred my artwork to the brass using the instructions here: http://www.techniks.com/how_to.htm

B203.jpg


I let the brass sheet cool for 10 minutes before peeling the blue transfer sheet off.

I drilled a hole in the corner where there would be no artwork.

I spray painted the back side of the brass to prevent etching on that side and then let it dry.

I secured the zip tie through the hole in the brass so that I could pull it out of the etching solution without reaching into the solution.

I mixed my etching solution; 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide into the plastic container FIRST! and then GENTLY/SLOWLY! added 1/2 cup of muriadic acid to the plastic container.

HAD I ADDED THE HYDROGEN PEROXIDE TO THE ACID, I COULD HAVE BEEN SERIOUSLY INJURED!

I filled the 2nd plastic container with plain water.

I GENTLY! lowered the brass into the etching solution with the artwork face up.

B207.jpg


After roughly 20 minutes, I removed the brass from the etching solution and rinsed it in the other plastic container with water.

I removed the blue film and paint from the brass with brake cleaner.

B215.jpg


I cut the shape of the headbadge out with a Dremel and various bits. I also polished the badge using a Dremel polishing kit.

B223.jpg
 
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Thanks for sharing CycleTruck. (and thanks for the safety heads up)
Gizmo
 
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Thank you very muck Cycle Truck. Really appreciate you sharing this knowledge. (And it's good that you mentioned the dangers of this process too).
 
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I'm impressed! Very nice work. Better living through chemistry. 8) I have peroxide and muriatic acid but they are both clear. Why is your solution green? How are those brass nails held into the frame? Gary
 
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How did you make the nice smooth curve to fit the frame without putting creases in the badge? This is one of the best "how to" threads I've seen for a while. I'm going to have to try it. Gary
 
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B607 said:
How did you make the nice smooth curve to fit the frame without putting creases in the badge? This is one of the best "how to" threads I've seen for a while. I'm going to have to try it. Gary

Great question. I should have included that at the end. I started the curve on the badge by hand forming it around a pipe that's slightly less than the diameter of the head tube. To finish it off, I used a nylon ratchet strap as a strap wrench around the badge and gently formed it until it fit the head tube.
 
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that is a great idea, i have a a couple q's, i didnt see this, how did you get the image cut onto the blue transfer. and am i correct when you said you left the transfer on the brass while in the solution. than washed it off when done. i wonder if vinyl would work the same way.
 
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linksandkinks said:
that is a great idea, i have a a couple q's, i didnt see this, how did you get the image cut onto the blue transfer. and am i correct when you said you left the transfer on the brass while in the solution. than washed it off when done. i wonder if vinyl would work the same way.
I believe he first removes the backing paper of the transfer sheet, which will leave a film that separates from the backing paper when heated with an iron. This film is what stays on during the etching process and is removed later.
 
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linksandkinks said:
that is a great idea, i have a a couple q's, i didnt see this, how did you get the image cut onto the blue transfer. and am i correct when you said you left the transfer on the brass while in the solution. than washed it off when done. i wonder if vinyl would work the same way.

I print my artwork on the transfer film in a mirror image, then iron the film to the brass. The laser jet toner melts and makes the film stick to the brass. An inkjet printer can be used with normal paper then a copier to copy the artwork onto the transfer film. I let the brass cool before peeling off the film and what's left is a blue film image of the artwork. If there are bare spots that didn't stick to the brass, I color in the bare spots with a Sharpie or even hobby paint. The etching solution will remove brass from where there is no artwork.

The official instructions are here: http://www.techniks.com/how_to.htm
 
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I checked the prices on materials and for the price of the material for getting started Terry at Jones & Son can do 2 badges for you depends on how many you want to do I guess pretty cool process though.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=31195&p=401398#p401398
 
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thanks for the reply, i think i was reading too much into it lol i have an idea im going to try with some aluminum and my vinyl cutter, ill post pics when im done
 
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