Weathering Corrugated Aluminum HELP PLEASE

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by Fred_M, May 15, 2004.

  1. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    So I'm building a fence for my junkyard out of stained basswood and Campbell's metal #805. Now I need to weather it because it's shinier than even new tin. I read/heard somewher to use Ferric Chloride (circuit board etch). Anybody ever do that? Any other ideas. Ideally I would like to bush something on and it's done. I'm lazy that way. I would like it to look 10 to 30 years old, not clear rusted out, but not looking like the inside of a new beer can. I'm all ears. FRED

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  2. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    Ferric Chloride might just give you the perfect finish Fred. Paint a streak here and there to get discolouration then a bit more in a few places to let it eat through. but I think you will still need to weather big bits with a diluted grey paint coz it's rare to see totally rusted corrugated steel panels. Give it a go (then I'll do it if it works hehehe)

  3. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    I used chalks to do it. Powdered then, and then used turps (paint thinner).

    Wet brush, (then dry it off a bit using, say paper towels) tiny dip in powdered chalk and then on it went. Used earthy/rust colours, and also white.


    The roof is the same stuff you have made your fence out of. A spray of Dullcoat takes the shine off it too.

    Hope this helps a bit. :)
  4. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    This roof is styrene, sprayed with automotive rattle can silver, dry brushed rust of several colors, painted rust streaks, dullcoated and hit with a dark wash. Latex paint/water/drops of dishsoap does best on plastic for the wash IMHO, but I used inkahol in this case.


    Awwww poopy; I'll try to get a better image monday :( This is all I can find right now :(
  5. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    The generator got about the same treatment, but the silver was hand brushed and the material is brass shim. Also used latex black in the wash. I prefer inkahol on wood, latex on plastic and metal as it spreads and flows better.

  6. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

    My "Help"...

    There have been a few articles over the years about using a PC etching acid solution to create very realistic weathering and rusting on this Campbell stuff.

    One of the best, in my opinion, was by Rand Hood, (an HO Rio Grande guy) in Model Railroader magazine, but I forget the issue.

    Essentially, the method is to purchase PC etching solution from Radio Shack, and just dip the pieces in for short periods of time, and then dip them into a baking soda solution to stop the etching process. Rand showed how to weather panels, and how to make and weather culverts. His results were spectacular.

    This is, however, an extremely dangerous process. There are noxious, acidic fumes, as well as the risk of fingers and what-have-you getting burned. (drips and drops on the table, your pants, shirt, the carpet, etc.) Also, all containers have to be THROWN OUT AFTER USE, mostly to avoid being mistakenly used for human consumption. Then, of course...what to do with the acid once you're finished your project?

    The closest I ever came to working up the nerve for this project was to ask my local Radio Shack how much the etching acid cost. They had no idea what I was talking about. :D Maybe it was all for the best.
  7. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Dash, I've used the ferric cholride (circuit board etchant) for the weathering thing. It will make that the siding look like its a 100 years old. Its great for making old rusted out siding but its too strong for light weathering.

    Paint the siding grey first and then you can add what ever kind of washes or chalks that you might want to use.
  8. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Well, I have some extra metal and a junkyard, so I am going to try all these methods and compare the results. I went to Radio Shack and purchsed a bottle of echant. It was $4.29 + tax. There is prob enough to last a lifetime for weathering metal. So tomorrow I'll start. I'm going to try the etchant first as that excites me the most, and this is my thread, so I'm going to do that first. :D FRED
  9. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    LOL. I'm not surprised at that response. I've found that way too many sales people working for them have little or no knowlege of electronics. Once I went in to ask if they had a particular IC. The response was "those are the little black things with legs aren't they?" :D :D :D :D
  10. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Careful With This Stuff

    Fred, I know that you know about this as you are familar with electronic circuit boards but for those who want to try this method I thought I might post this:

    1. Wear eye protection. The etchant will sometimes "sputter" when it comes in contact with the metal.

    2. Work in a well ventilated area. The fumes from the chemical reaction are highly toxic.

    3. Wear rubber gloves. This stuff can give you a nasty chemical burn. Wash the gloves throughly in soapy water after use.

    4. Don't eat, drink or smoke while using the etchant. Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth while using the etchant.

    5. Wash your hands thoroughly, even when wearing gloves, when you are through.

    6. The etchant is poison. Keep it put up where children can't get to it.

    7. Do not pour any left over portion back into the bottle. An explosive chemical reaction may occur.

    8. Dispose of any used etchant as you would any other toxic/corossive material. Don't pour it down the sink, it can eat your pipes up if left standing in the trap.

    9. Do not use metal or household plastic containers with this etchant. Only use glass containers. Yeah, I know, the bottle is plastic, but it is a special chemically resistive plastic.
  11. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Thanks for the MSDS, one can never be too careful Vic. :) It's good that you posted the safety precautions, this is a hobby we need our eyes to enjoy. Thanks you sir. I wasn't aware of #7, but wouldn't pour it back anyway, that's contamination and against basic lab training. You never ever pour leftovers back in to the supply bottle. FRED
  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    My Coal Dealer roof, visible in the second picture of the thread, was done with washes of rust and dirty black (Inkahol (c) jon-monon/The Gauge 2004), and covered with Dullcoat.

  13. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Ferric Chloride smokes!

    So the first piece was immersed in the Ferric Chloride. This is a time delay reaction so nothing happens at first. I thought maybe the metal had a coating, but if it does alcohol don't take it off. But once it starts it reacts fast, but not uncontrollable. The color is black so it will not work as a coloring weathering agent. :( But it eats, so I tried just putting a corner in and that works well for rusted out against the ground. (Piece2) So then I got out a small paint brush and pooled a puddle and let it eat, then scraped off the black with a knife and did it again. Then I turned it over and did the same until I got a nice rusted hole. (Piece3) So I did another and painted it with acrylic craft paint. (Piece4) I like that. It's extreme weathering, but it's going to take more than 1 step to do the fence, but it's not going to be hard. I'll work on it tonite as it's at home. I'm happy with the results. BTW, the Ferric Chloride boils and spits when it gets going, so follow Vic's saftey list. :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: FRED

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  14. belg

    belg Member

    Does this acid only attack metal? If so a set off chopsticks would work well to emerse the parts in the acid,Yeah or neah?
  15. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    If I spray acid like I do soy sauce when using chopsticks I would truely be dangerous. :D :D
  16. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    It don't seem to effect stainless. I used hemos and they are uneffected. I use hemos for everything anymore, pliers, tweezers, painting, pickin my , ummmm, I'm sharing too much again. :oops: FRED
    PS, I used toothpicks to help form holes tonite and they are still there, just discolored on the ends. FRED
  17. philip

    philip Guest

    Looks like you found the perfect solution Fred! :thumb:

    "You never ever pour leftovers back in to the supply bottle. FRED"

    No, I always drink my moonshine supply. Whats a supply bottle? :D

    Sorry man, Had to do that!

    philip :cool:
  18. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Chemistry Class

    The ferric chloride that you buy at Radio Shack is actually a dilute solution of ferric chloride and water. This forms a brown foul smelling liquid which is used to etch copper based metals. Its base after being combined with water is hydrochloric acid. It was never intended for the etching of aluminmum foil or tinfoil as we use it. When used to etch copper it does not emit any harmful fumes. Nor does it react violently.However, the reverse applies to other metals such as iron or alumimum. In stronger concentrates it is used to etch stainless steel.

    To answer your question: A pair of wooden chopsticks would probably be ok to imerse the the work but be careful of the plastic ones. They are most likely made of re-cycled plastic and its no telling what trace metals may be contained in them. The reason that Dash has been able to use his stainless forceps without damage is that the circuit board dilution is not strong enough to damge them initally but they will corrode over time with repeated use. Back when I was messing with the stuff I used a pair of stainless tweezers to "dunk" the siding. It never harmed them but after awhile they did turn black.
  19. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

    Well, I'm glad to see that you've had a go with this stuff, Fred.

    Remember - Stay safe, and be sure to show us your progress!
  20. Jodam

    Jodam Member

    A solution of Caustic Soda, will Etch the surface of Aluminium, leaving a matt finish. Sand paper of various grades can the be used for effects, then dry brush weathering or airbrushing.
    Use CAUTION the name States it EXACTLY it is Extremely CAUSTIC.
    That said i've used it on many projects with no mishaps for over35 years.

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