Fig. I: Another panel, copper this time, fresh out of the
etchant bath and washed off. Fig. J: An electroless
plating bath tin-plates the etched copper panel, giving
it a more neutral color.
panel I’ve done, and one of the more detailed, is
from my Model 11b Nixie clock.
This was a copper plate, which I tin-plated after
etching using electroless plating solution. After
removing the plate from the tin bath, the tin plating was dull.
I polished it with dry cotton balls, then used
a small paintbrush to fill the etched lines with
enamel paint (One Shot brand). I used tiny scraps
of paper to carefully wipe the enamel filling flush
with the surface, then polished off the excess
with small scraps of plain copy paper.
After the paint dried, I shaped the panel by
drilling holes for the switch and buttons, and
filing out the rectangular areas for the display.
I also used tin-plated copper, painted with
black enamel, for my Model 13, shown at right.
Instead of using Nixie tubes, this clock shows
the time and date with an analog needle gauge.
Tom Jennings ( email@example.com) is an artist with a background in technology.
128 Make: Volume 09
Fig. K: Filling in the etched arrow details with a fine
paintbrush and black enamel paint. Fig. L: Filling in the
color detail with more enamel.