Photochemical Machining

Photochemical Machining

What is Photochemical Machining?

Photochemical machining, also known as chemical milling or photochemical etching, is a cost-effective manufacturing process used to produce metal parts with complex geometries with high precision. This process involves using a photoresist and etchants to selectively remove material from a metal sheet:

  1. Preparation of Metal Sheet: A thin sheet of metal (usually stainless steel, brass, or copper) is thoroughly cleaned and coated with a light-sensitive photoresist material.
  2. Exposure to Light: The coated metal sheet is then exposed to light through a photo tool or mask. The areas not exposed to light remain covered with the photoresist.
  3. Developing: After exposure, the metal sheet is developed, removing the unexposed photoresist. This leaves the metal surface exposed in the desired pattern.
  4. Etching: The metal sheet is then sprayed with an etchant, which chemically reacts with the exposed metal areas, selectively dissolving or etching them away. The remaining photoresist protects the areas that need to stay intact.
  5. Stripping: After etching, the remaining photoresist is stripped away, leaving the final, precisely etched metal part.
Metal sheet coated with a light-sensitive photoresist material

Benefits of Photochemical Machining

Photochemical machining is advantageous for producing complex and detailed parts with high accuracy, making it suitable for applications like medical devices, electronical components, and precision parts for the aerospace and automotive industries. It is a cost-effective and flexible method for creating intricate metal components in large or small production runs.

Key Advantages of Photochemical Machining

Overall, the combination of precision, versatility, and cost-effectiveness makes photochemical machining a valuable technique for producing high-quality, intricate metal components in various industries.

Types of Metals Commonly Used

While a variety of metals can be photochemically machined, some common metals include:

  • Stainless Steel: Photochemical machining is often used for precision machining of stainless steel components such as medical device components.
  • Copper: Copper is another metal commonly machined using this process. It is widely used in electronics and electrical applications.
  • Brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, is also suitable for photochemical machining.

These metals are chosen based on their compatibility with the photoresist and etching chemicals used in the process. The specific requirements may vary depending on the application and the desired characteristics of the etched components.

Contact us to learn more and find out how photochemical machining can help with your component needs.

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