Chemical etching (also known as photo etching, wet etching or chemical milling) 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.
There are 8 steps in the chemical etching process. They are:
To read more details on each step of the process, see our page on the Chemical Etching Process.
What materials can be chemically etched?
There is a wide range of materials that can be chemically etched, from pure metals and hard to machine alloys. Some examples of common metals we etch are:
To see the full list of materials we chemically etch, see our page on our Metals We Etch list.