Photo Etching

A low-cost alternative to traditional machining methods that is ideal for simple or complex designs

Photochemical Machining - Photo Etched Parts

A photofabrication process that manufactures precision thin metal parts with simple to complex designs and low tolerances.

Photochemical machining is also is known as metal etching, photo chemical etching, chemical etching, chemical milling, photo etching and chemical machining.

Photo chemical etching is a combination of photolithography and the etching process. A photo tool with the part's exact dimensions is exposed and then hardened on a photoresist coated sheet of metal by a UV light. The areas of the tooling unmasked by the light source are washed away with a developing solution. The exposed bare metal of the part will dissolve during the etching process when sprayed with a chemical etchant. The result is a precision photo etched part retaining the lowest dimensional tolerances.

THE Alternative to Laser and Stamping

Here are some of the advantages photo etching has over other methods for many applications:
Learn More About Advantages >

Low-Cost Tooling

Tooling is easy to modify and can be produced within hours.

Low Tolerances

AME can photo etch many types of metals while maintaining tolerances

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Quick Prototyping

Quick turnaround on short runs. Compound tooling combines more than one prototype with the same material.

Stress and Burr-Free

Eliminate costly deburring methods. There is no tooling wear and no metal stress in the finished photo etched part.

Intact Metal Properties

Hardness, grain structure, and ductility remain unaltered

Complex Designs

Manufactured quickly and cost-efficiently with large volume production runs.

Get Started With Advanced Metal Etching

Our Process:

AME has been manufacturing precision photo-etched parts ranging in thickness from .002” to .060″ for over 25 years.

Our photo etching services focus on meeting part requirements, manufacturing to the highest quality and providing on-time delivery. 

Our cross-trained employees are familiar with each customer's needs and strive to make AME a trusted manufacturing partner.

  • Advanced Metal Etching technical assistance consulting

    Phototool Design

    We produce an AutoCAD photo tool on mylar film with your part's exact specifications and dimensions.

  • Photochemical etching process: Metal Prep

    Metal Preparation

    We thoroughly clean the metal you have chosen for your part and its intended application of any residual oils and oxides.

  • Photo-chemical etching process: Exposure


    We apply a photoresist coating to make the metal surface sensitive to light during exposure. The laminated metal is placed between two identical copies of the photo tool. The surface is exposed to a UV light source that will harden the photoresist on the metal part design that is to remain throughout the etching process.

  • photo chemical etching process: developing


    The sheets move through a developing machine where an alkaline solution washes away the top and bottom film on each sheet of metal.

  • Photo-chemical etching process: Etching


    We process the metal surface with a chemical etchant that dissolves the bare metal and leaves the desired design and dimensions.

  • metal etched processes: stripping


    The etched sheets or dropout pieces are placed in a tank full of sodium hydroxide-based solution to remove the remaining photoresist film.

  • Photo-chemical etching process: Employee Inspection


    The parts’ surface and dimensions are thoroughly measured using a comprehensive approach consisting of several handheld and electronic machines before carefully packaged and shipped.

Photo Etched Parts

Since 1993, we have manufactured a large variety of photo-etched products using the photochemical machining process for many different industries. Therefore, we are familiar with your design challenges, material selection and how to achieve the closest tolerances with precision.

Our photo chemical etching capabilities accommodate many types of metal alloys necessary for industry-specific functionality. We have a variety of metals in stock including stainless steel, cold rolled steel, alloy 42, beryllium copper, brass, nickel silver, nickel, Kovar, copper, and phosphorous bronze, and more.

Common Photo Etched Parts

  • Actuator Springs
  • Antennas Battery Tabs / Tags / Contacts
  • Board Level Shielding (BLS)
  • Brackets & Washers
  • Circuit Board Stiffeners
  • Contacts
  • Diaphragms
  • Electrical Connectors
  • EMI / RFI Shielding
  • Encoder Disks
  • Filters, Screens & Sieves
  • Flat Springs & Lead Frames
  • Grills, Grids, Sieves & Meshes
  • Shims & Spacers