“text”: “what is chemical milling?”,
“text”: “Chemical milling (photo etching) is a photo-lithographic process whereby a phototool is used to block UV light from exposing the area of a sheet of metal which has first been cleaned and laminated with photoresist.”,
“Chemical milling (photo etching – wet etching – Photochemical etching – & chemical etching) is a photo-lithographic process whereby a phototool is used to block UV light from exposing the area of a sheet of metal which has first been cleaned and laminated with photoresist. The sheet is developed which washes away the unexposed photoresist leaving a very precise mask of hardened photoresist behind. This patterned sheet is then exposed to concentrated etchants which very precisely dissolve any exposed material.”
The affordable pricing, quick speed, and high precision of our photochemical etching process ensure that it is the quintessential method for both production and prototyping of metal parts.
Chemical Etching Process
Phototooling – The process begins when we receive your engineering drawing or sketch. We then utilize our CAD system & laser plot technology to generate an image of your part on a set of photographic films, called a Phototool. Depending upon the size of your part, the Phototool may contain from one to serval thousand exacting images of your part
Exposing – Using the phototool, UV lamps expose the image of your part onto the photoresist.
Coating – Extremely flat & clean sheets of metal are coated on both sides with a polymer called photoresist that is UV light sensitive & resistant to acids. The coated sheet of metal is vacuum-sealed between the top & bottom layers of the phototool.
Developing – Developing solution washes away the unexposed coating leaving a mask in the shape of your part with only the material that is to be etched away left uncoated.
Etching – The uncoated areas are etched away, leaving the precisely defined features of your part
Stripping – An alkaline solution is used to remove the mask from the metal surface
Forming – If applicable, forming presses are utilized to bend the etched blank into precise three-dimensional shapes
Inspection – Calibrated measuring instruments, including state of the art inspection machines, are used to ensure your part meets your specifications.
Benefits of Chemical Etching Include:
- Works on a variety of metal alloys
- Easily produces complex design
- No stress to the metal
- Produces uniform, burr-free parts
- Fast tooling, production & shipping
Photochemical machining is the most efficient method for etching metal parts, including
- Want to invest in tooling
- Want to make a series of prototypes
- Want to etch thin metal alloys
- Want complex parts with intricate designs
- Medical Devices
- Computer Circuits
- Laser cutting metal
- Metal Stamping
- Water Jet Cutting
- Electrical Discharge Machining