Understanding the Importance of the Photo Etching Process.


A metal masked with light-sensitive material is placed in an etching solution. Metal from the exposed area is removed. This process creates metal parts with a high degree of precision. It is used to produce printed circuit boards to mount electronic components. It can also be used to make implants such as artificial hip joints. The photo etching process is cost-effective for metal parts with intricate and small features.

Photo etching process.

This process involves using UV light to fix an image onto a metal sheet, and then using chemicals to etch the shape into the metal. You start by printing an image onto a photoresist-coated metal. During the development, specified portions of the photoresist are washed away. The exposed area of the metal not protected by the photoresist is removed when the metal is submerged in an etchant. Chemical etching has many advantages and the following:

  • It improves precision.
  • It lowers production costs.
  • It does not introduce any source of mechanical stress.
  • It uses chemical reactions to dissolve unwanted metals.
  • It supports greater part complexity.

 You can make designs on flat sheet metals using specially formulated acids like ferric chloride.

  1. Phototool design.

Submit your design as a file or drawing to create a photo tool. The technicians use the photo tool to make the final product. They can easily redesign and adjust the photo tool when you ask.

  1. Metal selection and preparation.

Find the ideal metal you will use for the project. Choose the metal material that you prefer. Cut the metal into sheets and clean it. It is done to remove any grease, oil, or oxidation from the metal sheet to be processed.

  1. Photo resist coating.

Apply a photosensitive material onto the sheet. A specialized coating machine is used to apply a photoresist on the metal. It is resistant to acid and sensitive to light.

  1. UV exposure.

Place the coated sheet between two pieces of film, then put it in an exposure unit. Expose the sheet to UV light.  The resist becomes hard or polymerized when exposed to light. The area that was shaded from the light remains soft.

  1. Development.

Wash the soft resist and leave the hard resist behind. The exposed material left is dissolved away by the heated etchant. The part desired is the area with hardened resistance as it is protected from the etchant.

  1. Chemical etching.

The base materials determine the chemicals used in the etching process. When you match the appropriate chemicals, you ensure a fast and effective metal etching process.

  1. Photoresist stripping.

Yield metal components that the client ordered.

  1. Final inspection.

Inspect the parts to ensure:

  • It is burr-free.
  • It meets proper dimensional specifications.
  • It has no defects.

Photo chemical etching is a process used to create custom thin metals. You can collaborate with the etching company during the design phase to tailor the process to your requirements. This process has many advantages, for instance, it is exceptionally accurate. When inspecting the metal part, ensure it is burr-free, has no defects, and meets proper dimensional specifications.

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