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When Should You Utilize the Photo-Chemical Machining Process?

Photo Chemical Machining, also known as Photo Etching, is a chemical milling process used to produce highly complex, thin metal parts with intricate details that cannot be obtained via other machining methods. The photo etching process utilizes etchants to dissolve away unwanted portions of metal, so the process does not affect the temper of the raw material. When performed by an experienced photo etching company, chemical etching is able to custom machine flat sheets of metal quickly, accurately and cost-effectively. You can preview our custom machining process on our homepage here: https://www.nwetch.com 

Benefits of Photo Chemical Machining

Photo Chemical Etching allows mechanical design engineers and other business owners to obtain high precision, flat metal parts in a short period of time and minimal cost, without the capital tooling investment (and subsequent approvals) required by other machining methods. 

Advantages of Photo-Chemical Machining

  • Precise, Perfectly Symmetrical & Thin Metal Parts: features can be successfully etched through metal thickness between .0005" to .060" and between .005″ to .250″ for depth etching features on metal.
  • Dependable: We routinely machine intricate components for clients that run 24/7/365 for 15+ years
  • Advantageous: Because our process does not affect the original metal certification, Photo chemically machined parts lead to improved production runs.
  • Proven & Tested Tough: 38+ years of award winning service & unmatched clarity of detail have allowed NW Etch to retain leading aerospace, auto, electronics, defense, and medical device industry companies as clients.
  • Cost Effective: Complexity of design does not affect our production time or tooling costs. Other machining methods add incremental charges for each individual design feature.
  • More Efficient: Incorporating bend lines / bend reliefs / and score reliefs within design features enhance your teams productivity.
  • Ideal for Prototypes to Production Runs: Design revisions incur minimal time loss / expense.
  • Responsive Tooling: Charges are under $300. Changes implemented within days, not months.

About Northwest Etch

Since 1978, NW Etch has provided custom photo etching services in Tacoma, WA., working with a wide variety of metals, including copper, beryllium copper, brass and aluminum, nickel alloys, bronze and of course, stainless steel. NW Etch creates custom precision metal parts for numerous industries, including the aerospace, automotive, electronics, medical device, telecommunications, solar and satellite industries. Let us help with your next project, contact us online, via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 800-343-2401 today. 

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