A link for the artistically inclined

If you ever need to etch something out of metal–building lettering for your model railroad, funky lettering or a custom fan grill guard for your l337 modded-up computer case, or anything else that floats your boat, here’s a link you’ll want to bookmark:

Cheap photoetching, step by step.You need little more than a bottle of photo etchant from Radio Shack ($4), a can of lacquer thinner ($3 at Kmart), some aluminum cans, a permanent marker (I’ll bet you’ve got one of those), and a handful of other household items.

One tip: The author suggests using a permanent marker to color in the side opposite your drawing. Depending on what you’re wanting to make, that could take a while. You might want to invest in a spray can of the cheapest paint primer you can find, and use that for the opposite side.

Just keep a few cautions in mind when working with this stuff.

Aluminum cans are very light gauge. If you’ve ever sliced your hand open while working in a $12 computer case, the hazards are the same. Wear work gloves while cutting and handling the aluminum prior to etching.

Lacquer thinner is nasty, nasty stuff. One chemical commonly used in it, methyl ethyl ketone (a.k.a. MEK) is alleged to cause cancer, and its fumes are bad for your liver. It would be prudent to wear rubber gloves and a mask while working with it, and only work with it outside.

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