The chemical etching process can be demonstrated in nine steps:
- Material selection
- Material cleaning
- Photoresist lamination
- CAD image printing
- Photoresist stripping
- Visual and dimensional inspection
Precision Micro has advanced these principles, investing in new technologies and developing proprietary methods which have set the standard for accuracy and repeatability.
Scroll through the slides below to see a step-by-step guide, or click here for a more detailed design engineers guide to the process.
Still interested in learning more? We have compiled 10 frequently asked questions, which covers how the process works, suitable metals, how much etching costs, and how long it takes.
Almost all metals can be photo etched. Precision Micro holds more than 2,000 metal types in stock, in thicknesses from 0.010mm – 1.5mm and sheet sizes to 600mm x 1500mm.
The selected material is chemically cleaned and degreased to remove debris, waxes and rolling oils.
Photo-sensitive resist is applied to the sheet in class 10,000 clean conditions using automated cut-sheet-lamination. We developed this process to improve adhesion, essential for highly repeatable, blemish-free components.
Using laser direct imaging (LDI), a technology more accurate than conventional photo-tooling, the component design is transferred to the photo-resist by exposing the sheet to ultraviolet (UV) light.
The unexposed resist is removed to expose raw metal. The remaining photo-resist, which has been hardened by UV light, will protect the component during etching.
Etch-chemistry is sprayed onto the developed sheet. The etch-time is determined by a skilled etch technician using variables including metal type, grade, thickness and size. Precision Micro’s etch technicians have a minimum of five years’ experience, the knowledge required to handle the wide range of metals we supply.
The remaining photo-resist is removed from the sheet to reveal the etched component.
Visual and dimensional inspection
The component is visually and dimensional inspected. Precision Micro guarantees repeatability levels approaching Six Sigma standard, supported by a best-in-class in-house metrology facility.
Precision Micro combines photo etching with in-house forming and finishing, offering single source supply of 3-D, polished, bonded and plated components.