Photo etching vs. traditional metal machining

Process comparison table

Photo etching Laser cutting Stamping Wire EDM Water jet cutting Electroforming
Sampling Low cost Low cost High cost Low cost Low cost Medium cost
Metals Nearly all metals Nearly all metals Nearly all metals Conductive metals Nearly all metals Nickel and copper
Hardness No restriction No restriction Problems with soft, hard or brittle metals Hardness is a consideration Hardness is a consideration Typically 200-670 HV
Stress No stress Thermal stress on cutting edge Stress at cutting edge Deformation, tempering and structural changes may occur Limited stress on cutting edge Low-stress
Burrs No burring Micro burring Partial burring Micro burring Micro burring No burring
Tooling and design changes Quick, easy and cost effective Quick, easy and cost effective Expensive and time consuming Quick, easy and cost-effective Quick, easy and cost- effective Quick, easy and cost-effective
Typical lead times Seven days Seven days Six weeks - six months Seven days Seven days Seven days
Tolerance as a percentage of metal thickness ±10% ±5% ±10% ±10% ±15% ±5%
Can parts be supplied in sheets for easy counting/handling? Yes Yes Not easily Yes Yes Yes
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