Precision Photo Chemical Machining
The Photo Chemical Machining Experts
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Vaga Industries uses photo chemical machining process to produce precision machined components that match our customers’ exact specifications. Also known as chemical etching, photo etching or chem milling, photo chemical machining enables us to fabricate even the most complex and intricate metal parts with outstanding precision.
Photo chemical machining is an efficient and economical alternative to, and can take the place of many other manufacturing processes, such as stamping, punching, laser or waterjet cutting, and wire EDM production.
What is Photo Chemical Machining?
Photo etching is a subtractive milling process, i.e., one in which unwanted portions of the raw material are removed to create the final part shape. Photo chemical machining uses photoresist tooling (a.k.a. “artwork”) and acidic liquid etchants to chemically machine away selected areas of the metal sheet. Part shapes are imaged onto the metal surface using light-sensitive photo resist. The metal sheets are then “developed,” leaving only the shape of the parts protected from the etchants.
From there, the material is sprayed with an acid solution. This chemical etching solution quickly dissolves the exposed metal, leaving the masked area(s) behind in the form of the desired part. The acid solution is neutralized and rinsed off, the artwork is stripped off, and the parts are cleaned, dried, and inspected using our strict quality control processes. They are then prepared for packaging and shipment.
Advantages of Photo Etching
- Photo chemical machining can be used with virtually any metal material, including aluminum and titanium
- Material temper does not affect machinability
- Fast: Vaga provides full-service photo etching with some of the industry’s shortest lead times
- Low tooling costs
- Chemical etching creates burr-free parts
- Does not work-harden the material
- Nearly any part configuration can be fabricated with perfect precision
- Photo chemical machining provides excellent part nesting opportunities for material and time savings
- Effective method of fabricating one part or 100,000 parts
- Our photo etching processes are ISO 9001 and AS9100 certified
See our photo etching metal requirements for more information.