Conard's Photo Etching Blog

What can you do with photo etching in 2021?

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

Overall, the manufacturing sector is in pretty good shape. The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) "Report on Business", which publishes the "Purchasing Managers' Index" (PMI) has recorded six months of business expansion in manufacturing, with underlying factors, including customer inventories, new orders, and backlogs, showing slow and steady improvement since the Covid lockdown in the spring.

The immense mobilizations of hundreds of companies (including ours) to the production of supplies, equipment and medications needed in the battle against the coronavirus proved, yet again, that America can and will get the job done, regardless.

We can't thank them enough...

The Conard 2020 Bookmark featured a salute to the pandemic heroes: all of the first responders, medical personnel, and the millions of essential workers who kept the country going. We have a limited number of bookmarks available. If you would like one, please send me your mailing address.

And, it is with these thoughts that I look forward to a new year with enthusiasm.

But, back to photo etching

I've been at this for 15 years now, working to educate designers and engineers about the capabilities of this metal fabricating process that is completely overlooked both in engineering curricula, as well as by 3D design platforms. Yet, every time we have an opportunity to help an engineer or designer overcome a metal fabricating problem that conventional methods (stamping, laser, etc) can't solve, it's a head-scratching epiphany for them, "How did I not know about this?"

And, the thing is, once you know about it, it's hard to ignore. The design rules for chemical etching are pretty simple (and there are only 5 of them.) So, it's not like you have to spend weeks or months learning some complicated system.

We do get a lot of questions. Here are some of the most popular (along with the answers!):

What does photo chemical etching look like?

I get inquiries fairly regularly from people who "want to buy an etching machine," as if it were like a photocopier that makes metal parts. Sorry, buddy--it doesn't work that way.

Photo etching is a process that involves multiple steps. People familiar with printed circuit board manufacturing will recognize the similarities. People used to thinking about metal fabricating as stamping presses or laser cutters, and such, have no frame of reference for etching. So, we made one: a three minute video animation of the process--complete with a plummy, British-accented narration.

Then there's Max, our intrepid continuous improvement engineer and resident Millennial, who-- by the way, was never taught anything about etching in engineering school, either. Max convinced us that his "peeps" preferred consuming information by video. You can meet Max and his videos here.

2021 could be your year to get on board with etching...

And, we'll be here to work with you. Need an NDA signed? Send it to me.

Need to get a drawing quoted? Easy. Send it to me.

Got some questions? Call me.

Here's to brighter days ahead. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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