Metal Etching & Metal Etching Companies

Metal etching, or metal engraving, is a method of creating impressed designs, grooves or fine lines on metal parts and sheets. The metals most commonly etched are aluminum, copper, stainless steel, nickel and brass. Engraving machines may also service surfaces like metal, glass and plastic. The process of metal etching was traditionally completed by hand, using a fine tipped tool, like a burin. Hand etching always creates unique patterns, however, due to its time consuming nature and inconsistency, it was eventually largely replaced with other techniques.

Today, metal etchings are most commonly done using chemical or mechanical machining or acid etching. Other techniques include photo etching, also called photofabrication, stamping, water-jet cutting, laser engraving, electro discharge machining (EDM) and mechanical milling. Laser etching, or engraving, is favored for its ability to create very fine, clean lines on surfaces with little need touchups. EDM achieves exceptionally close tolerances by exposing the metal part to streams of corrosive electromagnetic discharge. After etching, manufacturers can smooth or polish away any imperfections, burrs or marks.

Some Leading Manufacturers

Great Lakes Engineering, Inc.

Maple Grove, MN | 763-425-4755

For more than 29 years, Great Lakes Engineering has supplied photochemical machining services for high quality manufacturing applications. Since our beginning we have truly been a service oriented company, always ready to assist our customers in whatever way we can. That is why we have continued to improve our processes and expand our capabilities. With both laser and photochemical machining at our disposal, we can create a solution for your applications! Get in touch for more information!

Tech-Etch, Inc.

Plymouth, MA | 508-747-0300

Tech-Etch is the single source for precision part manufacturing. We provide precision photoetching, stamping, forming, heat treating, laser cutting, plating, finishing, and many other quality services. Whatever your etching or fabrication needs, we have the solution to even your most challenging specifications. We are ISO 9001:2008 and AS9100:2009 Rev C certified, so count on Tech-Etch for quality and service! Connect with us for your metal etching needs!

United Western Enterprises, Inc.

Camarillo, CA | 800-964-6461

United Western Enterprises is your chemical etching specialist. We are an AS 9100C and ISO 9001:2008 certified company with more than 50 years of experience in photochemical etching. We manufacture all kinds of thin metal parts like shielding, apertures, fine screens, and many other custom parts. We work with many different materials: aluminum, copper, nickel, and stainless steel. Check out our website or call us to discover our full offering of products and services.

VACCO Industries, Inc.

South El Monte, CA | 624-443-7121

At VACCO Industries, we specialize in producing photo etched parts for all kinds of applications and industries. We offer a broad range of etching services, and we work with many different materials, including stainless steel, copper, aluminum, nickel, and titanium. We’ve been serving industrial markets with high quality etched components since 1954, so you can count on us for the very best. Contact us today with your metal etching requirements!

American Nameplate

Chicago, IL | 800-878-6186

At American Nameplate, we provide responsive, high-quality etching, engraving, and embossing services. With our diverse offering of metal etching services, we can handle orders of practically any size, and we can etch all kinds of materials. Our team of dedicated artisans specialize in etching, engraving, and embossing nameplates for industrial use. View our complete offering of etching services and capabilities online or connect with us for more information!


Mechanical milling uses either a lathe or CNC machine with fine tips that can process a range of materials and dimensions, including straight or curved surfaces. The associated computer controls the cutter’s direction, pressure and speed, which produces a precise, repeatable image or design with clean, fine lines. Milling and grinding machines can also achieve certain finishes on large metal sheets used for decorative or furniture applications. Though they consistently produces high quality work, the initial tooling costs of these techniques are high, and maintenance requires trained personnel.

Metal etching is used for a wide variety of decorative and industrial applications. Decorative etching applications include jewelry design, musical instrument decoration, firearm engraving, plaque and trophy decoration and engraving and architectural and furniture embellishments. In decorative metal etching, surfaces are sometimes smoked to make lines appear more visible. Industrial applications for etching include: stenciling, printing and foil-stamping dies. Etching helps manufacturers fill their various precision part requirements, and also comes in handy in the medical field, which uses metal etching and chemical machining in order to get the right finish on devices like stents, cathodes and implants. Finally, this highly versatile process is a suitable for creating intricate parts and devices for the aerospace, electronics and defense industries; metal etching helps make printed circuit boards, engraved missile skin panels and jet frames.

VACCO Industries, Inc.

Photo Etched Stainless Steel Panel ScreenPhoto Etched Stainless Steel Panel Screen – VACCO Industries, Inc.