Photo Etching Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most asked questions about photo etching services:

What is photo chemical etching?

Photo chemical etching is a high-precision, fast-turnaround manufacturing option for thin metal parts.  In the process, a chemical etchant selectively and simultaneously dissolves the unwanted areas of parts without altering the metal's properties.  Part surfaces and edges remain burr-free with low tolerances.  Photo etching is especially cost-effective for small intricate designs. Please view our Photo Etching page to learn more. 

What types of materials can be photo etched?

A very broad range of metals can be chemically etched including many types of alloys and exotic metals such as stainless steel, carbon steel, beryllium copper, copper alloys, brass, nickel, silver, Alloy 42, Kovar, Inconel etc. 

What type of parts can be photo chemically etched?

Any part that is designed to be thin and flat, before forming is suitable for our chemical etching process.  Some typical applications are EMI/RFI shielding, shims, spacers, washers, screens, filters, lead frames, contacts, connectors, etc. Please click on your industry tab for more specialized applications. 

What metal thickness can you etch and what are the lowest tolerances?

Photo etching capabilities include a range of metal thickness generally between .002″ to .060″. Tolerances can be maintained to the relative thickness of the metal. Minimum holes and slots must be at least 110% of the metal thickness.  Minimum dimensional tolerances are +/- .15% of the thickness and a  minimum of +/-.0015" on metals .010" and less. Please see our technical data sheet for details of our capabilities.

Does photo etching alter the properties of the metal?

No. The internal structure of the metal remains unchanged including its hardness, grain structure, and ductility. 

How long does it take to receive a response from a quote request?

You can expect a response within 24-48 hours.

What is the typical turnaround time for parts?

Normally, we can deliver parts within 2 weeks. We offer expedited services if requested. With our AME Parts Now program, we can deliver parts within 24-48 hours if the required material is in stock.

What metals do you keep in stock?

We strive to keep all metal alloys, thickness, and temper in stock. Stainless steel and copper are usually in stock as it is used most often and is more cost-effective than other metals.  All metals our RoHS and DFARs compliant.

What files do you accept?

We accept  STEP, DXF, DWG, SLDPRT, PRT, X_T, PDF, JPG, and JPEG.

Do you offer custom packaging?

Yes, we can vacuum pack loose parts, or use foam board layers when parts are shipped in sheets.

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