I've tried etching brass plaques found in old cars, and the results were pretty good. Here is a nice description of one method from the AACA Forum:
http://forums.aaca.org/topic/268427-the ... ?p=1452862
I found a friend who helped make the graphics for my plaques (which I used on my 1913 Metz). I used Radio Shack PCB Etchant Solution which is used to make printed circuit boards. The above method uses a cheaper muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide solution. The acid-resist paper is PNP (Press-n-Peel) PCB Transfer paper. You print your image on the PNP (the part that isn't to be eaten away by the acid) on this film using a regular laser printer, then stick it to the brass with an iron. The brass sits in the acid solution until the brass is eaten away sufficiently (you can lift it out to peek every few minutes). Then it is filled with paint and wet sanded with 1500 or 2000 grit paper.
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