Conard's Photo Etching Blog

Planning Ahead- Now More than Ever

Posted by Kathleen Stillman on Sep 8, 2021 12:00:20 PM

How long can it take?

I have had to deliver some displeasing news to a number of customers of late.  Metal lead times have gone crazy: phos bronze-40 weeks; 321 stainless 22 weeks; a variety of copper alloys are running 10-20 weeks.  We used to be able to get custom rolled strip in 6-8 weeks; but now the re-rollers can't get the feed stock.  I have been begging and pleading with customers to get on the ball and get stuff ordered so we can--at least-- get in the queue for metal. And, don't think that a "rated" order is going to help you.  The mills have all of the "rated" orders already.  Yours is just another in a long line.

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Topics: economic recovery

The recovery is in our hands

Posted by Kathleen Stillman on Apr 15, 2021 7:47:20 AM

It was just a decade or so ago that...

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Topics: metal etching, COVID-19, economic recovery

DFM: What Matters in Photo Etching

Posted by Kathleen Stillman on Feb 10, 2021 2:31:51 PM

Once Upon a Time....

Designers and engineers would talk to the tool-and-die guys and the machinists about whether something they wanted to make could be manufactured in a reasonable way. Since the advent and evolution of 3D design environments, it seems that little of that practical knowledge was embedded in the coding rules.  Thus, the modern-day mouse jockeys have the power to design almost anything, with little to no regard for the pesky realities of actually making stuff.

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Topics: Photo chemical etching, metal etching, Design for manufacturing, DFM

What are common issues in fabricating precision aluminum components?

Posted by Kathleen Stillman on Jan 20, 2021 9:30:52 AM

What are the most well known processes for fabricating metal parts?

For parts designed to be fabricated from aluminum sheet, strip or foil, the most well-known options are:

  • Milling
  • Laser Cutting
  • Plasma Cutting
  • Metal Stamping
  • Water Jet Cutting

Although each of these processes have “sweet spots” in terms of being best-suited to a particular type of application, each of them also has unique challenges when fabricating aluminum.

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Topics: Photo chemical etching, Photo etching aluminum, Aluminum Photo Etching, metal etching

What can you do with photo etching in 2021?

Posted by Kathleen Stillman on Dec 30, 2020 11:30:40 AM

So long, 2020. We won't miss you.

How much more can be said about how brutal this year has been, in so many ways, for so many people. And, I'm over it as of now. It's time to look forward and to plan for better things.

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Topics: metal etching, Cost of Photo Etching, COVID-19

Our Best Selves

Posted by Kathleen Stillman on Jul 9, 2020 1:37:47 PM

In the midst of the COVID crisis, thousands of companies and tens of thousands of people stepped up to join in a herculean industrial effort to ramp up production of desperately needed medical equipment and supplies.

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Topics: Manufacturing Industry News, COVID-19

Aluminum: Why Etchers (except us) hate it

Posted by Kathleen Stillman on Dec 13, 2019 10:30:48 AM

Aluminum is a light and versatile metal. However, it has a couple of characteristics that give etching houses fits. It is highly reactive and will etch in both acids and bases. Common photoresist film is designed to repel acid, but to remove it you need to use a fairly high Ph caustic solution. And, oh darn, that etches aluminum, too. So, say bye-bye to dimensional tolerances. For many etchers, the headache isn't worth it. (And, shhh, don't tell anybody... but sometimes they come to us for aluminum.)

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Topics: Photo etching aluminum, Aluminum Photo Etching

Photo Chemical Etching Subject Matter Expertise Available

Posted by Kathleen Stillman on Nov 18, 2019 11:45:00 AM

In my experience, professionals involved in designing, engineering, and sourcing precision metal components have a pretty good grasp of a variety of fabrication processes. Except for photo chemical machining (metal etching), to which the response is usually a blank look, shrugged shoulders and a negative head nod. You don't have to be one of those people any more.

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Topics: Photo chemical etching

Why Designers Should Consider Photo Etching

Posted by Kathleen Stillman on Nov 11, 2019 10:08:40 AM
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Topics: Photo chemical etching, Aluminum Photo Etching, metal etching

What's Hot in Photo Etching

Posted by Kathleen Stillman on Oct 21, 2019 2:15:15 PM

When the heat is on, many look to photo etching to move it around or make something useful of it--like electricity.

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Topics: Photo chemical etching, Photo etching aluminum