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Photo Etching: A Job Half Done? Think Again!

In a world gone wild with the all or nothing mentality, the concept of being halfway there is often viewed with utter disdain or overlooked altogether. Why would you accept half a job or half a delivery, or anything half done? We’d much rather storm full speed ahead.

Yet, when it comes to manufacturing components – particularly when profiles are complex, and 100% precision is a necessity – a little patience and the ability to stop halfway is absolutely priceless.

We have our fair share of straightforward photo etching projects, where standard washers or outline metal components are all that is required. Set the profile with outlines only, pop it through the relevant processes before running it through the etchant, and job done!

But for those who want a truly remarkable project, with flexibility in design and varying degrees of etching to help parts fit together, or even for purely decorative (but very impressive) purposes, half-etched parts are the answer.

Can half etched parts help me?

Photo etching is a superb option for all kinds of manufacturing solutions because there is such scope in what can be achieved, from large volumes of multifaceted parts to intricately designed pieces with decorative or branded etching – see more about what photo etching is good for,  here.

What about half-etching? This is the process where, instead of etching right through the metal sheet, you half etch lines and features, making the marks without creating a hole or cut-out.

So if you wanted to create fold lines for components that will be hand formed, you could half etch those lines in, offering a guide without compromising the piece or requiring assembly of multiple pieces.

You can also use half etching to add identification marks to parts, create relief for tool access, or remove excess metal for weight reduction.

Another common benefit of half etching is that it allows the best of both worlds in one neat process. The double process – which involves expertly aligning two photo designs at the same time – allows you to produce parts that are both etched-through in places and feature half-etched marks for forming, decorative or identification purposes.

Half etching capability also allows you to make the most of both sides of the sheet metal because what you do on the front doesn’t have to interfere with the back. By placing the design on only one side of the photo tool, the etchant will only work on the one side. This means you can have a full etch to cut out a metal business card outline; a half etch with your business logo on the front, and a totally separate half etch on the back with your contact details.

Speak to us for more information on half etching and what it could mean to you and your project. You can  get in touch here  or call us for a chat on 01354 658787.