Choosing Between Photo Chemical Machining and Laser Etching

Gone are the days when you had to wait for weeks to have ‘etching’ done on metal parts. The whole process can now be completed within hours, all thanks to photo chemical machining. In old times, it would be important to create metal plates with reverse image carved into them. These plates had to be run through a press to produce pieces of art. Thankfully, the availability of new etching technologies has made it easier to create photo realistic images in a short time.

Photo etching is done using chemicals or lasers. You can opt for both chemical photo etching and laser photo etching, but you need to consider your requirements to make a choice. Here is a bit more about both options.

  • Laser Photo Etching: The process makes use of a laser beam to burn or create an image into a variety of materials. You can use this process to have images etched on granite, wood, metal, acrylic, glass, marble, or other durable substances. With the use of this technology, it becomes possible to create images that are ‘nearly’ photographic. Laser photo etching does not need any press to produce images. You can also opt for laser photo etching when you want to create things like trophies, memorial plaques, and other personalized items.
  • Chemical Photo Etching: You can also opt for photo chemical machining to achieve desired results. While some people now prefer laser photo etching, others are still in favor of chemical photo etching. The process involves using chemical compounds that corrode away specific areas of a material or plate. The process works great to produce detailed and accurate imagery. Photo chemical etching is a cost effective option, but it may be more labor intensive when compared to laser photo etching.

Both etching processes have their pros and cons, but you need to consider your requirements before making a choice. Laser etching is a good choice in many cases, especially when you do not want etching to be blurred or hazy. Keep in mind that you need to use computer or scanner to handle the laser device. You may have a relatively flat etching in case the image does not have a lot of deep and light tones.

Photo chemical etching is a good choice in case you are looking for a cost effective way to etch on thin gauge metals. However, you should ensure that you opt for an experienced etching company to get good results. Ideally, you should look for a company with unrivalled know-how of etching technology. They should have quality certificates along with a large capacity to handle photo chemical etching. Moreover, it is important to work with a company with good knowledge about different materials – they should be expert in etching hard-to-machine components. And finally, you should read some reviews online and ask a number of companies for quotes to help you make a better choice. So, pay attention to all these points to be able to select a company that handles your etching tasks in a professional way.