chemical etching

for precise, burr-free, stress-free components

Chemical etching (also known as photo-chemical machining (PCM) and chemical milling) is as precise as it is quick and economical.

Complicated, multi-level, multi-feature, high precision parts can be produced without the need for expensive tooling or machinery. Rapid prototypes can be produced from your drawings in a matter of days, with production then quickly scaled to industrial levels.

precision: how small do you need to go?

Since the biggest design challenges often involve the smallest and most precise part of your product, it’s important to know the precision of a manufacturing method. With chemical etching, you can go as small as 25 μm, making it one of the most high-precision manufacturing processes. Chemical etching is especially suitable when round holes, sharp edges and straight or profiled edges are desired.

quality: aesthetics matter too

With chemical etching, you can create ultra smooth burr- and stress-free parts with a high cosmetic finish, which is important for many applications. Chemical etching is especially suitable when round holes, sharp edges and straight or profiled edges are desired.

Challenge us to develop a prototype for you and we can prove it to you.

lead time: rapid prototyping

If you need prototypes — and you need them fast — then chemical etching is the way to go. With this subtractive manufacturing method, prototypes can be produced from drawings in a matter of days. Moreover, chemical etching allows you to move from prototyping to industrial scale production almost instantly.

chemical etching process


chemical etching and tolerance

If tight tolerances are a strict requirement for your product, Chemical Etching can be a good option, compared to traditional manufacturing processes. Tolerance typically seen on chemically etched features is only around +/- 10% of the parts’ thickness. We deal with thicknesses of 25 µm to 2mm. Generally 10% of material thickness with a minimum tolerance of 12μm is possible. Feature size and tolerance are subject to:
metal type
sheet size
metal thickness
nature of pattern to be etched


if the metal you require is not listed here, just get in touch. We would be happy to discuss your specification
range of austenitic, ferritic and martensitic stainless steels
mild steel, carbon steel, tool steel, spring steel
aluminium, including aircraft /aerospace grades
brass, phosphor bronze, beryllium copper, nickel silver
nickel alloys: Inconels, mu-metal, alloy 42 (Nilo 42), Invar, Kovar
copper: Including C110 and C101

The chemical etching process

Chemical etching (or acid etching, photo etching or aluminium etching) is a precise process that employs certain chemicals (etchants) that corrode and dissolve unwanted materials. In order to achieve the desired pattern or design, a photo-resist is used as an outline so that the chemicals don’t dissolve away the entire material. This is an extremely accurate process which is why chemical etching is used in many cases instead of traditional machining as the results contain no burrs, rough edges or misshapen parts.

It’s increasing popularity is also due to the fact that it is able to retain incredible precision even on a tiny scale. The chemical etching process can achieve a minimum standard feature size of 0.075 mm which is perfect for a great deal of intricate computer parts for instance.

Chemical etching in the UK produces a multitude of parts that you’ve probably never seen before as they are packed into washing machines, cars, mobile phones and many more technical products. At Tecan we pride ourselves on offering exceptional quality products which is why we use chemical etching as a process in the first place – it offers unparalleled precision for use in products that require exact assembly. If you’re looking for chemical etching in the UK, look no further than Tecan.




view the chemical etching video
watch here