Along with 3D printing I have also been exploring photo etching for the first time. After a few false starts, I found a Birmingham company specialising in parts for the the railway modelling industry – Grainge & Hodder. They have been so helpful, Richard especially, who helped me with my photo etching artwork setup and was always at the end of the phone. I am really liking this process. The parts can be incredibly detailed, I am amazed by the slotted conchos and can’t wait to try them out on a saddle! There are, of course, some things I’m not too sure about (picky, picky!).
These first sample sheets were photo etched from nickel silver with a thickness of 015″ or 0.4mm. In terms of scale, compared to a real western bit, this is a tad thin. The thickest possible is 036″ or 0.9mm, so I think that might be the next step, to try another sample sheet or two! The finish on the parts is perfect – flat and blemish free, but they have come out a warm grey colour – don’t be fooled by the images, there’s a yellow tinge. I suspect the only way to change that is priming and spraying the parts, or a further finishing process. They do have to be protected in some way so that they don’t tarnish… methinks another phone call is required!