What Is Photo Etching?
Photo etching (also chemical or acid etching) is so useful because it is all done digitally which means that it can be produced and altered if necessary, very quickly and efficiently with no defects on the metal parts. This means that photo etching is often the best value-for-money production service for many different industries. This is in great part due to its reliance, the photo etching process ensures that exact measurements and patterns are created to the exact specification every single time. If you need to create specific parts that will not have any defects nor be prone to fracture as a result of their tooling process, photo etching is for you.
Photo etching maintains the metals’ properties throughout so that you don’t need to worry about any degradation from the start of the production process to the end. This is especially important for creating complex parts that are used within safety-critical industries such as medical or aerospace.
What does the photo etching process look like?
It begins with material choice and cleaning. Depending on your requirement, the material choice will change but it always needs an intensive chemical cleaning before any photo-resist can be applied.
After the materials have undergone a thorough cleaning, the photo-resist can then be applied. This will be the pattern or shape that you want the final result to be as the parts without the photo-resist will be dissolved away.
The etchant is then applied to the sheet metal which then goes to work removing the unwanted material while the areas with photo-resist on remain intact. (Think of it like how a stencil and paint spray create whatever image you cut the stencil to be, it’s also a similar principle for the photo etching process).
The remaining parts are then cleaned of the photo-resist, inspected and then finished to meet the client’s requirements.