Introduction to Photo Chemical Etching
You probably see it all too often, a precision sheet metal part that requires a quick turn around. Either the metal is too thin or too hard, or the design is too complex. The part can not be burred, or distorted physically. Fabrication by traditional means would be impractical, if not impossible.
The solution: Photo Chemical Etching.
Photo Chemical Etching is:
- Precise - holding tolerances as small as .0002" and using metal thicknesses from .0001"-.080".
- Flexible - from a single prototype to a million parts, we can fill your needs.
- Fast - 2 weeks standard lead time. Or from a sketch on a napkin to full production in a few days.
- Easy - because the chemical etching process doesn't create burrs, you don't need to waste time or money removing them.
A Short Explanation of the Photo Chemical Etching Process
- You send your print to us and your drawing is electronically manipulated and sent to a photo plotter, creating the photo tool (film) for your part.
- Metal is cut into sheets, scrubbed, coated with light sensitive polymer (resist) and your film exposed on it.
- The sheet is developed, removing resist around your parts.
- The sheet is run through a conveyerized etching machine which dissolves the metal not covered with resist.
- Your parts, now etched to your specifications are put in an alkaline stipping bath to remove remaining resist.
- Parts are dried and sent to QC for inspection, further work (plating, forming, etc.) and packaging.
As an example of its diversity, here is a sampling of the scope of Photo Chemical Etching:
Industries Serviced Materials Available Aerospace
The flexibility of etching is an enormous asset in prototyping as well as production. However, it must be remembered that the process does have certain limitations, such as the holes and lines in your part can't be smaller than the metal thickness. But there are ways to get around many of these limitations.
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