Why is Photochemical Etching for Thin Metal Parts Better than Other Machining Options?

The photochemical etching procedure kicked off in the early days of the circuit board enterprise. Ever since it kicked off in 1960, it has continued to grow in popularity as the years go by. This enterprise was developed to deal with materials with thicknesses of 0.0005 to 0.080 inches. Other than the inches, it was also created to handle metals 0.013 to 2.032 millimetres. Moreover, it can be made of aluminium, steel, brass, nickel and silver. Besides photochemical etching for thin metal parts, photo etching can bake things like heat sinks, sensors, springs and jewellery.

What the Photo etching process entails

There are so many types of metals that can be used when it comes to the photo etching process, and because of this, there are so many metals that can be produced for all the available orders.

The initial step involves identifying the type of product your customer wants from you, and after knowing this, you will be able to select the type of metal to use easily. The second step is to come up with the client’s design, and for this, equipment is made by printing the design onto a photographic film. This particular equipment has two sheets which form the top and bottom halves that consist of negative images. There are two specific areas: the black area and the areas of square shapes.  The black spots are typically etched, while the precise figures are the ones that need to be made.

Other processes need to be followed as well, and they include the following;

  • Cutting

Once the raw materials have been gathered, they are cut to fit the process’s requirements.

  • Tidying

Before the materials are used, they are typically cleaned first, and there is also a specific procedure to be followed when cleaning this material. A specific chemical is used to wash all the debris together with the oil and wax.

  • Coating

Regarding the coating process, an ultra-clean environment is needed together with a photo-sensitive resist. The resist maximises the accuracy and the quality of the final merchandise, and for the coating process, an automated procedure is usually used.

  • Printing

Once the materials have been thoroughly coated, the sheets are placed between the two photo tool sheets. Afterwards, a UV light is usually applied to the exposed areas and gets hardened while the area that has not been exposed to the UV light remains soft.

  • Developing

Once the processes above have been completed, the next step is to take the printed sheets and clean off all the soft, unexposed resist. The places where the resist is uncovered remain unscathed, and they will keep the primary material intact during the etching procedure.

  • Etching

The sheets are ready to be processed using chemicals vital to the etching procedure. The acidic solution is heated and pressured, reacting with the unexposed metallic surface.


When you want to come up with a sustainable material, you must follow the above procedures to accomplish the right results.