Metal Etching & Metal Etching Companies

Metal etching, also referred to as metal engraving, is the process of creating grooves, fine lines or impressed designs on metal parts or sheets. There are a number of different methods with which to achieve the desired pattern or finish on a metal part; the most common of these methods are mechanical or chemical machining or acid etching.

Traditionally, etching was performed by hand; hand engraving was implemented by using a fine tipped tool such as a burin to etch metal according to a desired pattern. This results in a unique and almost unrepeatable image being created although it is a time-consuming process. Today however, more commonly used techniques include chemical etching, photo etching or photofabrication and other processes such as stamping, laser engraving and water-jet cutting which are faster and more accurate than hand engraving. Laser etching is able to create very fine, clean lines in surfaces with little need for secondary finishing. Electro discharge machining, or EDM, is another method of metal etching which is able to achieve close tolerances. During the process, the metal part is exposed to streams of corrosive electromagnetic discharge. Any resulting imperfections, burrs or marks may be smoothed and polished away after the metal has been etched. It is a very versatile procedure and almost all metals can be processed using chemical milling, photo engraving or mechanical etching including: aluminum, brass, copper, nickel and stainless steel.

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!

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!

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.

Tech Met

Glassport, PA | 412-678-8277

At Tech Met, we have provided responsive, high quality chemical milling and metal etching services for more than 28 years. With our state-of-the-art facility, we can handle components of practically any size, and we etch all kinds of metals, including titanium, copper, magnesium, ferrous alloys, and many others. We specialize in chemical milling, and we also provide surface texturing and surface purification services as well. So let us know how we can serve you!

Mechanical milling, a common method used for metal etching, uses a lathe or CNC machine with fine tips which are able to process a range of materials and dimensions, including straight or curved surfaces. The computer of these machines controls the laser’s or cutter’s direction, pressure and speed resulting in a precise image or design with clean, fine lines. This method achieves precise and consistent results, but the initial tooling costs are high, and maintenance of the machines requires qualified personnel. Milling and grinding machines are also used to achieve certain etching finishes on metals, especially on larger sheeting used for architectural decorative or furniture purposes. A wide range of manufacturing options are available with these methods which are precise, accurate and repeatable. For some smaller processes and more intricate, decorative purposes, hand engraving is still used however it is restricted to a few narrow fields, but is still seen in jewelry, firearms, small decorative pieces and some musical instruments. Engraving or etching by machine and mechanical tools is more common. Widely available engraving machines are fairly simple to use and are able to engrave a number of surfaces such as metal, glass or plastic. Diamonds are typically used as the stylus, especially for machines required to engrave on harder materials and metals. Engraving equipment consists of three parts: a stylus or marking tool, a controller, and a surface

A variety of industries use methods of metal etching or acid etching for different purposes. Decorative uses include jewelry, firearm and musical instrument decoration, plaques, trophies and awards, as well as larger decorative purposes for architecture and furniture especially using stainless steel etching. For decorative etching, the surfaces are sometimes smoked so that the lines will be more visible. Industrial uses include stencils, printing plates, foil-stamping dies and more. Other industries requiring precision parts, such as the medical field, also use metal etching and chemical machining in order to achieve the desired fine finish on parts and components such as stents, cathodes and implants. Metal etching can also be used to help a metal part meet restrictive weight demands by removing a surface layer of a part through chemical or mechanical means. Metal etching services also create longer lasting stencils for the woodworking and art fields, printed circuit boards for the aerospace and electronics industries, and engraved or reduced missile skin panels and jet frames for defense.

VACCO Industries, Inc.

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