I asked DIY Brass Etching methods (safer etchants, waste, and disposal of).

It has had no votes, no comments, no answers.

Given the popularity of etching, I'm surprised this has neither been covered before, nor seems to have readily available answers.

Although I understand that the question diverges from industrial practices, so readers might only open the question with a preconception that it's about a common industrial method they are familiar with, only to find it's not something they can readily answer (since DIY requirements are very different)

Could the question perhaps be split up into specialist fields, thus enabling different people to provide answers to the different parts? I'm clutching at straws.

The only real barrier I sense is that I have not specified what household waste disposal regulations/restrictions are in the UK; could this be why?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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    $\begingroup$ Safety itself is a fraught issue on Chem.SE. For (hopefully obvious) liability reasons, we tend to shy away from attempting answers that say "X is safe", or "Y is safer than Z". We have no idea of your expertise or what apparatus/facilities you have at your disposal -- e.g., what might be perfectly reasonable to do in a lab fume hood might be terribly dangerous in a given DIY environment. $\endgroup$ – hBy2Py Jun 1 '17 at 14:08

I think the main problem with this question is that you are targeting the wrong audience. The main user base here is either professionally involved in chemical research/ development/ engineering, or on its way into this direction (starting as early as high school).

You are basically not asking about the chemistry involved in etching, but instead have an inquiry about a best practise or methodology, without much caring about the processes involved.

As you state yourself

I want a method easy for someone with minimal chemistry knowledge and equipment to safely perform, and dispose of byproducts etc as household waste, or down a drain.

you have quite unscientific restrictions. The question itself might be a much better fit at Home Improvement; although I am not sure about that because I am unfamiliar with the site.

I'd encourage you to ask in their chat room, whether this question would be on topic there. We still have a couple of days to migrate it there, if they agree to take it on. Please don't cross-post this to other sites of the network, as this is discouraged due to doubling effort, and such questions tend to be closed quickly.

See also What happens to a bounty question if it gets migrated?.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Perhaps I should try to specify the DIY requirements more precisely. Sadly it is off topic for Home Improvement. AFAIK the only place it could be migrated is Engineering.SE. I've asked a meta question there and am awaiting a response. Chemistry chat is a good idea though $\endgroup$ – CL22 Jun 1 '17 at 7:52
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    $\begingroup$ I stayed away from the question because of that bit about putting something down the drain. If nothing that you can buy at the grocery store will etch it, well, it becomes something that doesn't go down the drain. Period. So, you are left with putting stuff in a waste bottle and taking it down to your local hazardous waste place. Where I live (in the US), my town has a drop-off site for stuff like that. Find your nearest one, and use a real brass etchant properly. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Jun 1 '17 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ @JonCuster you might want to consider adding that as an answer. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Jun 1 '17 at 13:11
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    $\begingroup$ Except it doesn't really answer the question at some level was my thinking. (And never underestimate laziness). But I will think of polishing it (not etching it) as an answer... $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Jun 1 '17 at 13:14
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    $\begingroup$ @JonCuster I meant here on meta. It does answer, at least in part, why the question is not popular. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Jun 1 '17 at 13:16
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    $\begingroup$ Clearly I need more coffee... $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Jun 1 '17 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Jodes You might try asking in the chatroom of Woodworking.SE if it would be on-topic there. It would probably be a stretch, but I think their scope may wander into non-wood materials from time to time. $\endgroup$ – hBy2Py Jun 1 '17 at 14:08

Perhaps following from the 'wrong audience' sentiment of @Martin, I did not answer because of the part of disposal 'down a drain'. No waste goes down a drain in a lab (unless it is a special drain to a treatment plant, such as in a semiconductor fab). If you can't buy it at a grocery store, it doesn't go down the drain at home - period, full stop, done, no further discussion.

But, many communities do have a hazardous waste drop off site, or special days of the year for hazardous waste pickup. Look in to those, and then select a normal, well known and characterized brass etchant. There are many hobbies that generate hazardous waste (HF for glass work, solder and rosin waste, etchants from DIY circuit boards, ...). If the hobby is interesting enough that you will spend time doing it, it is not much trouble to find out how to dispose of the waste legally and properly. And, it will make your local wastewater treatment plant folks much much happier.

  • $\begingroup$ Agreed here -- where I live in Ohio, the restrictions on the concentration of copper going into municipal wastewater are pretty strict. I would worry about violating some environmental regulation or another by putting this sort of metal-containing waste stream down a drain. (And this is entirely aside from the question of the chemicals going down the drain.) $\endgroup$ – hBy2Py Jun 1 '17 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ @hBy2Py - lately my city water authority has been running ads telling you not to put grease down the drain. I don't quite see how to implement that 100%, but I get the general idea. It does mess with their treatment chemistries. Hopefully we can continue to flush certain solids... $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Jun 1 '17 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ It'll become a big problem once people go bionic, if the metal loads in ... waste products ... rise appreciably. ;-) $\endgroup$ – hBy2Py Jun 1 '17 at 14:20

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