Photo Etching, also known as Chemical Milling or Acid Etching is a chemical milling process used to fabricate sheet metal components using a light sensitive film and chemicals to corrosively machine away selected areas.
This process emerged in the 1960s as an offshoot of the printed circuit board industry. Photo etching can produce highly complex parts with very fine detail accurately and economically.
Etching offers an economical alternative to stamping, punching, laser or water jet cutting for thin gauge precision parts. The tooling is inexpensive and quickly produced.
The ease of toolmaking makes the process useful for prototyping and allows for easy changes in mass production. Dimensional tolerances are maintained and no burrs or sharp edges are created.
Small components can be easily produced with high accuracy for the electronics, mechanical and hobby industries to name a few.
Photo Etching can be used on virtually any commercially available metal or alloy, of any hardness. It is limited to materials with a thickness of 0.01 to 1.2mm.
Metals that can be Photo Etched include brass, copper, stainless steel, mild steel, aluminium.
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