Selective etching (also known as step etching or depth etching) is an option that chemically etches approximately half of the thickness of the original metal sheet.
During the design process of the phototool, a line or feature of your part is placed on one side of the tool but omitted from the other side.
This allows you to include certain features into your part without etching all the way through the sheet.
Fotofab products are made in the USA and distributed worldwide.
Uses for Selective Etching
Selective etching is used for a variety of features and applications. One common option is to chemically etch your part’s identification number or your company logo on the metal surface. It is also good for creating a recessed area in the metal to place and protect a self-adhesive label.
Another selective etching option allows you to integrate bend (score) lines into your design to make them more malleable, creating precise right angle, acute, and obtuse angles between the folded metal faces.
Applications that benefit from bend lines for easy manual folding include complex screen enclosures and RF shields for surface mount boards. Compared to other 3D manufacturing forming processes, selective etching is an efficient alternative that reduces both tooling costs and lead times.
In addition to bend channels, half etching can also be used for heat exchanger and fuel cell plates. As the demand for electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles continues to rise, selective etching is used to create the fluidic channels required for efficient flow distribution within the fuel cell.
If your part’s weight needs to be reduced, selective etching is a great option to remove excess metal without adding additional stress to the part that metal cutting, or sanding can cause.