Conard's Photo Etching Blog

Why We Love Photo Etching and You should too!

Posted by Kathleen Stillman on Mar 5, 2014 10:44:00 AM
Kathleen Stillman
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2011Photo etching may not have the glamour and sparkle of laser and plasma cutting or the brute force sturm und drang of stamping or punching, but it does have a certain elegance and finesse. It has a deceptive gentleness...after all, we are simply washing away the unneeded metal with equipment that would remind you more of a commercial dishwasher than a machine tool.

The versatility of photo etching finds applications in a broad swath of industries.  We have discussed its use in producing leadframes, lids and contacts for microelectronics packaging.  There are a host of industrial products that make use of etched components including batteries, bearings, belts, motors, filtration, sensors and gauges...and on and on.

Precision etched components also find their way into an impressive array of medical, scientific, environmental and industrial instrumentation and control systems.  Aerospace and defense technologies make use of  etched metal parts in a wide variety of ways, as well.

That's part of what we love about photo etching....there are so many ways it can be used. And yes, of course, it is very popular for jewelry, ornaments, model making and an extensive assortment of premium giftware. 

Chemical machining (just another name for it) is especially well suited to working with very thin metals, down to .0005" thick (really, though we don't recommend it...very expensive).  The sweet spot for the process is .032" and under.  We will etch copper alloys up to .065" thick and aluminum up to .080" thick.

And, that's another thing to remember. We love to etch aluminum.  Most etchers don't.  That's because we have a process for aluminum that was developed by a metallurgist and is the best in the industry. So, don't be afraid of etching aluminum... we're not.

Making holes is another thing to love about chemical machining.  One hole, a million's all the same to us.  Big holes, little holes (down to .004"!), any shaped holes.  Photo etching does a fabulous job and cheap, too!

Complex shapes are easy. Tooling is cheap and quick (generally under $300 and 2 days.) Little parts (as small as .020" diameter, big parts (up to 24" x 60") and practically anything in between.  If you can draw it, we can probably make it.

We want to make it easy for you to love the process, too.  There are a few design rules you should know, and some cost factors that you may find helpful.

But, you don't have to do all the work.  We would be happy to provide an Instant Estimate.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have


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Topics: Photo chemical etching