Acid etching, otherwise known as chemical milling or chemical etching, is a chemical process used by many industrial metal parts manufacturers to etch, cut or engrave very delicate or precise lines into metal. This process involves very little mechanical work, for it is an almost entirely chemical procedure. Almost every type of metal can be chemically etched, including most types of steel, titanium, brass, nickel, copper and so forth.
KEMAC Technology, Division of Tecomet
KEMAC has more than 15 years of expertise in acid etching. As an ISO 9001:2008 compliant company, we offer quick-turn prototypes to high volumes, we provide metal etching & secondary operations and specialize in etching Ti, Moly, NiTi, exotic metals and more. Our parts are used in medical devices, electronics, telecommunications, aerospace and automotive industries. Call us today!
VACCO Industries, Inc.
South El Monte, CA
As a subsidiary of ESCO Technologies Inc., VACCO Industries is one of the largest photo chemical etching service providers in the western US. Serving industries including aerospace, mechanical & automotive, VACCO is ISO 9001:2000, AS9100 & FDA registered. In addition to a broad range of services provided including laser machining & diffusion bonding, we are your acid etching specialists.
Thin Metal Parts
Colorado Springs, CO
Thin Metal Parts, a division of Photo Stencil, provides chemical milling, laser-cutting, electroforming metal fabrication and prototyping for the automotive, aerospace and textile industries, as well as NASA and the DoD. Our capabilities include CAD services, expert engineering, photo-tooling and more. We are committed to quality and service and are waiting to answer your questions today. Call or visit our website for more detailed information.
Orbel offers chemical milling, photochemical etching, electroplating plus barrel and rack plating. When we started business, the battery, electrical and electronic industries were our primary customers. Today we serve many others as well. We are a QS 9000- and ISO 9002-certified company. Contact us today for more detailed information about the services we offer. We look forward to working with you soon!
In the acid etching industry, NEWCUT, Incorporated is well known for providing the ultimate in quality and affordability for acid etching services. NEWCUT offers metal acid etching for a long list of materials including high permeability alloys, lead and cold rolled steel. Distinctive from other leading acid etching companies, NEWCUT has built a firm reputation for acid etched metal excellence.
Etched metals are usually quite thin, such as sheet metals or foils, although thicker metals such as coins and plaques are often etched as well. Parts made from chemical milling include stencils, plaques, printing plates, printed circuit boards, foil-stamping dies, and embossing dies for electronics, aerospace and automotive industries among others. The acid etching process has six main steps. First, the metal sheet to be etched must be stripped of all oils and chemicals. Cleansers are typically an alkaline cleaner to strip organic materials followed by an acid cleaner to remove chemical residue; neither of these cleansers can be too strong, or the polished surface of the metal will be scratched. Next, a masking is applied to the entire surface. Masking types are often tapes or paints, elastomers (rubber) or plastics. A pattern is cut into the masking in the same shape the metal is to be cut, then the cut masking is removed from the areas to be etched, and the chemical, or "reagent", is applied.
After the acid has achieved its desired etch, both the reagent and the remaining photoresist are stripped. The metal is polished, any irregularities in the cut are burnished, and the etching is finished. Various types of metal require different etchants, or reagents. For example, steel typically takes hydrogen chloride or nitric acid; aluminum uses sodium hydroxide; stainless steel etching and copper use iron chloride or nitric acid, and so on. When the reagent is applied, many factors are considered to determine how fast the etch or cut will be made, how much of a side-cut will be made, etc.; temperature, agitation, and often the concentration of hydrochloric acid all determine what type of cut will be made. Acid etching and engraving has become increasingly popular as chemical technology has improved, since chemical milling is much faster and more economic than mechanical milling. Mechanical milling usually involves large and costly machinery, and each part must be milled individually. Parts can be completed by chemical milling within hours of design. This is likely the reason why larger OEMs and industrial machinists are turning to chemical and photo milling.