Should You Use Photo Etching Services?

Are photo etching services right for your needs? Photo etching puts an image onto photoresist covered metal. This corrosively removes the undesired material, leaving the desired part. Photo etching has several advantages over other methods. These include precision, economical production, versatility, and parts that retain structural integrity.


Precision can be difficult to achieve on very thin parts. Photo etching services can be used on metals .0005″ to .060″ and between .060″ to .250″ for depth etching on metals. It can be used on metals up to 1.5mm thick as well.

Economical Production

Many production methods require expensive tooling. This is not only expensive, but time-consuming as well. You have to wait for the tooling to be produced before you can move on to creating the part. Photo etching services also allow more freedom in the design phase. The design can be easily modified without requiring retooling. Most methods are more expensive the more complex the design is, but this is also minimized with photo etching because complex tooling isn’t needed.


Some production methods are limited to certain types of metals.

Photo etching is suitable for nearly any metal, including:

  • Steel and stainless steels
  • Nickel
  • Copper
  • Aluminum
  • Titanium
  • Specialist metals (molybdenum and polyimide metallized film)

Metal hardness isn’t a concern with photo etching. Its versatility allows it to be used with nearly any type of metal, including those that are considered difficult to work with.

Structural Integrity

Some applications require parts to maintain very high-quality standards. The metals must retain its strength and properties after production. Most processes can cause structural changes or stress on the edges. Some can cause thermal deformation as well.

Smooth Edges

Most processes leave a burr edge. If complete smoothness is required, then a deburring process will have to be completed. Photo etching leaves behind perfectly smooth edges, which can save you the step of deburring.

Photo Etching Services Best Applications

Some types of parts benefit the most from photo etching vs other methods. Very thin, complex, or intricate parts are more economically manufactured by photo etching.  Parts that must maintain complete structural integrity, have low tolerances, or are required to be completely smooth are also a great fit for photo etching services.

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