Will tumbling remove an etched image?
I would like the last step of my construction process to be the tumbling and not to etch after tumbling. the metal will be red brass, is it ok to put it in the tumbler with an etched image without losing the etch?
I've never had the tumbling damage my etched metal images. The exception could be very faint, ghost-like etchings. If they are barely visible after etching, prolonged time in a tumbler could smooth them out. I've got lots of samples of etched items such as bead caps and discs on my website and Etsy Supplies shop. All of them have been tumbled polished, some of them several times... and they all came through with no damage. Even intricate patterns tumbled polished beautifully!
If in doubt, tumble a sample first before adding your completed project.
A word of caution.....make sure that you metal has been thoroughly cleaned and neutralized of the etching agent BEFORE adding it to your tumbler. Ferric Chloride commonly used for etching copper and it's alloys, will also etch stainless steel. If your brass or copper after tumbling comes out yucky, dull and dark, clean your shot and rubber barrel with a 50/50 mixture of ammonia/water to neutralize any of the etchant that may have contaminated it.
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