Etching stainless steel requires specific knowledge of etchants; it’s essential that the correct etchant is used. With the correct process, stainless steel can be cut to exact measurements and shapes to a higher degree of accuracy than traditional tooling or laser cutting. It also reduces the production period- thanks to digital tooling which allows for this time to be reduced from weeks and months (like in the case of laser or machine tooling) to days.
Stainless steel etching is a precise process that employs certain chemicals (etchants) that corrode and dissolve unwanted materials. In order to achieve the desired pattern or design, a photo-resist is used as an outline so that the chemicals don’t dissolve away the entire material. This is an extremely accurate process which is why chemical etching is used in many cases instead of traditional machining as the results contain no burrs, rough edges or misshapen parts.
Complicated, multi-level, multi-feature, high-precision parts can be produced without the need for expensive tooling or machinery.
considerations when etching stainless steel
Bearing in mind the biggest design challenges often involve the smallest and most precise part of your product, it’s important to understand the precision of a manufacturing method. With the stainless steel etching process we employ, you can go as small as 25 μm, making it one of the most high-precision methods – especially suitable when round holes, sharp edges and straight or profiled edges are desired.
With stainless steel etching, you can create ultra-smooth burr- and stress-free parts with a high-standard finish. It is especially suitable when round holes, sharp edges and straight or profiled edges are desired.
If you need prototypes produced quickly, stainless steel etching is the obvious choice. With this subtractive manufacturing method, prototypes can be produced from drawings in a matter of days. Moreover, stainless steel etching allows you to move quickly from prototyping to industrial-scale production.
If tight tolerances are a strict requirement, stainless steel etching is an ideal option compared to traditional processes. Tolerance typically seen on etched features is only around +/- 10% of the parts’ thickness. We deal with thicknesses of 25 µm to 2mm. Generally, 10% of material thickness with a minimum tolerance of 12μm is possible. Feature size and tolerance are subject to:
- Metal type
- Sheet size
- Metal thickness
- Nature of pattern to be etched