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Chemical Etching

Chemical etching, otherwise known as acid etching or chemical milling, is a chemical process used by many industrial metal parts manufacturers to etch, cut or engrave very delicate or precise lines into metal through the use of corrosive acids and bases. Requiring knowledge of chemicals and their reactions with certain metals, chemical etching is a specialized procedure that includes almost no mechanical work.

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Since 1954, VACCO has provided its customers high quality chemical etching services. We are ISO 9001:2008 and AS9100 registered. We have also extensively developed our diversified product line in order to better serve our customer base. We have loyal customers all around the world who trust us as their etching experts. Call us or visit our website today to see what we're all about.
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We are committed to providing some of the shortest lead times and turnaround times in the industry in order to keep you coming back to us for all of your chemical milling needs. Our skilled teams of engineers and technicians will work with you in order to come up with a product that will be just as customized as you need it! To learn more get in touch with our customer service representatives today to receive more information!
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Lasermation Inc. does a variety of metal etchings with the help of lasers. We provide photo-chemical etching/milling, selective plating, engraving, routing and woodworking. We also have a variety of finishing services from painting to bar coding. Call us today to see how we can provide you with quality metal etchings.
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Our engineering teams will work closely with you in order to come up with a product that will provide a practical and economical solution for your chemical etching need. Since our inception in 1948 we have been offering custom solutions to our customers around the globe. With our experience and your ideas; together we will come up with the perfect product for you! Get in touch with us today to learn more!
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Chemical etching is what we do best! Our company has the capability to work with blank parts on sheets up to 30" wide and our tolerance ranges from +/- .001" or less to .010." Our products serve many diverse industries including aerospace, automotive, electronics as well as many others. For more information on what we are able to do for you contact our customer service division today!
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Industry Information

Chemical Etching

Almost all metals can be processed using chemical etching, such as steel, brass, nickel, copper and more, as well as most types of glass with similar effects. The different types of metals require different etchants in order to achieve the desired results in terms of depth of etching. Instead of mechanical etching or hand etching which require specialized tools, there are very low tooling costs for chemical milling, and complete parts can be finished in a matter of hours. There are a number of industrial uses for the process of etching, as well as decorative or artistic purposes for the procedure. Objects manufactured using chemical etching include stencils, plaques, printing plates, circuit boards, dies and more. The metals on which etching is most effective are usually thin, such as metal sheets or foils, although thicker parts such as coins and plaques are commonly etched too.

There are numerous steps to the etching, or milling, process. First, the material or part to be etched is thoroughly cleansed of all oils and chemicals which it may have been exposed to during the forging or fabricating. Next, the masking or protective layer is applied in order to prepare the part for the etching design. The types of masking used can be tape, paint, elastomer or plastic. This masking is coated onto the part or metal sheet, sometimes in a number of layers if for a complicated pattern. Using a scribe and peel method, the desired pattern or design can be cut into the masking layer to reveal areas of the metal part which the acid or reagent will come into contact with. If using a photoresist as the masking layer for photo engraving, the part needs to be exposed to targeted light in order to develop the masking layer in the pattern desired. Once the reagent is applied to the metal part, it reacts with the metal and corrodes the surface along the lines of the pattern or design. Once the desired depth of etch is achieved, the chemical and the masking layer can be removed from the part to reveal the completed etching. Chemical etching is a often a more cost-effective and time-effective manufacturing solution than mechanical or hand milling.

chemical etching
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