Mad Science Monday

20170204_Electronic Etch

I did my electrolytic etching this weekend. I was hesitant to get started, afraid it wouldn’t work, but I mixed my solution, hooked up the electrodes, plugged it in and bubbles immediately started forming on the piece of silver hooked up to the negative side. It was working. I did my happy dance. The resist was untouched through the process, the design was crisp and clean. A success all around. Just what I was looking for.

Wanna see my etchings?


I’ve been working on a pair of custom cigar band rings. The picture below is a test of the design in copper. I wanted to see if the detail would show well. And it certainly does.


This one is just a test, the final work will be in silver. I want to use electrolytic etching to make sure that I get the level of detail that I want. I’ve used acid etching in the past, but it goes through the resist pretty fast and I don’t get the depth of etching that I want. I’m going to try a salt water etching system and see how that works. I’ve done it before, but it’s been a while so I’ll do another test run with a different design.

Cigar Band Rings

So I make cigar band rings. I take the art from old cigar bands and translate it into something I can make a ring out of. I buy old cigar bands off of Ebay and use them as an initial source. I ordered some recently and got the batch yesterday. And they are the weirdest bunch of cigar bands I have ever seen. It’s like they were printed just for collectors. There were birds, bugs and flowers. Flags and airplanes. Traditional costumes from different countries. Country of origin markings from cruise ships.


Truly an odd collection. And, unfortunately, mostly unusable by my standards. I need strong graphic designs to be able to get it onto the metal at all and most of these really don’t fit the bill. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any weirder, I found these.


The Thunderbirds and street signs. Really? A kids show from the 1960’s made with puppets and street signs?

So I have this idea

Long ago, in my distant and misspent youth, I used to embroider. I was one of those girls that ran around in jeans with flowers, etc. sewn all over them. I used to sit in front of the TV with my family at night and sew all night long. Shirts, jeans, jackets, nothing escaped the needle.

Recently I’ve been feeling nostalgic for it. It’s a very zen activity and gives me something to do with my hands when watching TV with the Spouse. I’ve wanted to do a shirt or jacket for a while, but couldn’t decide on what kind of design. I wanted it to be plants and flowers, but none of the designs I could think of appealed to me at all.

The a light bulb went on. I’ve been taking pictures of my own garden for years. Why not use that? I have hundreds of photographs for reference material. Use the flora and fauna of my own garden. Use the flowers, plants and vines. The birds and butterflies. With the cats and caterpillars, the tortoise and the fish. The more I think about it, the more I like it. Plenty of subject matter. The pieces of the design are filling themselves in in my head. Now I have to find the right garment. Heavy weight denim is a pain to sew through, and fabric that is too light weight puckers. If this actually gets made it’s going to be a once in a lifetime thing. It’ll take months, if not a couple of years. But the picture of it is building up so clearly in my head I want to start it right away.


I’ve added a lot of new garden links to my blog this year. It has been informative and inspiring.

Because of them I’ve joined a local cactus and succulent group. Gone to plant shows and sales. It’s wonderful when you find your own brand of nerd.

Now, following a link from one blog to another blog I have found a new obsession. I’ve been a fan of the Arts and Crafts movement for a long time, and I really like Frances Gearhart’s work. Now the trick is to find a piece that I can afford.


When Dad passed away we did a partial go through of the garage. He used make electronic things so I found a lot of resistors and other electronic bits and pieces. Rather than sell it all at a yard sale I decided to keep them and see what I could do with. I’ve made a couple of pieces, but I like this best so far. I know it’s not the usual thing, but I like the colors and numbers. It’s been sealed so the paint and the label won’t come off easily. The shape of the band makes it so that it can be bent to fit different sizes.