View Full Version : how do you etch acrylic or lexan?

03-31-04, 12:58 AM
I want to etch the window.

I am a superman nerd, and thus my case will be blue, chips and heatsinks red, wire sleeves yellow. and of course, WC will be UV green.

you can discuss how nerdy that is later. :)

but Id like to etch an S emblem onto the case somehow, then shine LEDs into the sides and the etched parts glow.

but how do you etch? sandblast? any other home made method?

03-31-04, 06:46 AM
To etch you need a dremel and an etching bit. The bit looks like a little ball on the end of a tapered shaft. Should be able to pick it up anyplace that has dremel stuff.
Print your design, tape it to the backside of your window and trace it with the dremel's point. The deeper it's cut, the more it will pick up light in the case, and glow.
Take your time, forcing it can damage the bit, and melt the plastic instead of grinding it.

Sandblasting is more difficult, access to one is half the battle.
You cut out your design from an adhesive vinyl/plastic sheet like shelf liner, but the heaviest you can find. Shelf liner is the peel and stick plastic film for lining cupboard shelves.
Best way to do it is to peel your vinyl from it's backing, carefully apply it to your window starting at one edge and working your way accross with a credit card or squeegie to push out air bubbles as you lay it down.
With a razor sharp exacto knife, cut out the part you want blasted very lightly (just enough to slice the film, not the window) remove the bits to be blasted.
Dust across the surface with the blaster once or twice lightly, then check how it's doing, and judge from there if you can go harder, and if the plastic is holding up okay.

Not too hard either way, just try it out on a scrap piece to get the feel for it.

Have fun!

03-31-04, 06:48 AM
Get one of these (http://www.toolsforless.com/cgi-bin/ToolBig.pl?SKU=290)

Link fixed

03-31-04, 11:17 AM
that link isnt working for me.

can anyone point out the part on here?

I see some engravers, grinders, polishers, ect, not sure which one is needed to etch.

03-31-04, 11:26 AM
Buy a few different kinds. Firstly these for etching (top set) (http://www.dremel.com/html/products/accessories/carving.html). Secondly, for "frosting" plexi or acrylic, get the thick shelf linging type paper or some similar thick material that you can mask off your project with, and use one of these (http://www.dremel.com/productdisplay/bit_template.asp?SKU=413&Color=660099) on a LOW rpm setting to give it a rough feel, take some 600 or 1200 grit paper after and go over it by hand when you're finished with the tool.

If it were glass you could venture to do acid etching but I dont know that anyone uses glass in cases.

Note: I've never made any case mods myself and am new to the forum, but I've worked with the many concepts in some form or another, so I hope this helps!

03-31-04, 12:14 PM
alright, that sounds good.

yeah dont want glass, if it cracks or whatever while in the case itd make a mess.

frosing is exactly what Im looking for. if it is done right, the LED light into the side of the plate will pass straight through sorta like fiber optic, but when it hits the jagged edge of a rough surface, it will bounce out of the glass thus illuminating the frosted portion, and only the frosted portion. but from the inside... if that makes sense.

Ill try the sanding. Ill test with some scrap acrylic first of course.

03-31-04, 12:20 PM
Great! Show some pics when you get started, I'd like to see these applications on a Case Mod. I've looked around a lot but have not seen any frosting applications and the Isis PC is the only one i have seen with a nice big etch.

03-31-04, 01:05 PM
heres an example of it on an S2000.


the edges of course also light up, but edges are always hidden on a case window so you wouldnt see that.

03-31-04, 05:51 PM
Originally posted by ares350
can anyone point out the part on here?
I see some engravers, grinders, polishers, ect, not sure which one is needed to etch.

I just picked up the 105 (listed under carving and engraving in that link), it's got about the tiniest ball tip on it (.8 mm) Any of those should do just fine, but like Scary Penguin said, you can pick up a couple of them so that you have your pick from fine to heavy lines.
If you click on the pics under carving and engraving, it shows the size of the tips on the next page.
Mine was $2.97 at Lowe's.

Hint, if you engrave first, then frost it afterwards, you'll get a nice 3D effect....