White Paper: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Photochemical Machining: Innovative Solutions for Precision Etched Metal Parts

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Complex, precision metal components are found in a variety of applications in aerospace, defense, medical, automotive, electronics, and more. The demand for smaller parts with intricate designs and geometries continues to rise with advancements in technology. However, traditional manufacturing processes such as stamping, computer numerical control (CNC) machining, and laser cutting can negatively affect the metal’s integrity and compromise the performance of critical parts resulting in catastrophic failure.

Photochemical machining (PCM), or chemical etching, is a subtractive metal fabrication alternative for production of critical parts. The technique falls within the rapid prototyping classification and uses baths of temperature-regulated chemicals and a photoresist to define selective material removal.

The process of PCM answers the demand for low-cost, burr-free parts including hardened metals, without inducing stress. It reliably produces intricate, close tolerance-patterns in a variety of flat, metal materials. It eliminates the heat transfer issue of laser cutting and the physical impact force of mechanical techniques, such as stamping.

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