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Pre-Etching Processes: Design in the Digital Age

As fascinating as the chemical etching process is in its own right, the pre-etching stage involves some rather impressive technology too.

It all starts with the initial designs drawn up and sent in by clients; some are very technical and precise whilst others are more artistic and resemble a rough sketch, as opposed to a design blueprint.

Of course, on occasion, our talented team of graphic artists create or transpose designs according to the brief supplied. In such cases, they employ up-to-the-minute technology to enhance their own skills and knowledge, and to digitalise their creations. This instant digitalisation streamlines the post-design manufacturing process, saving time and money for all those involved.

Now, the computer-aided technology used is nothing new, and it is certainly not unique to etching and laser cutting industries. It is, however, a superb way to ensure precise and professional designs and templates for various manufacturing processes.

To give you some insight into the kinds of design software available, as well as the capabilities of computer-aided design and manufacture, we have highlighted two of the most common types, below. So read on for a better understanding of the pre-etching process.

CAID (Computer-Aided Industrial Design)

CAID differs from the more general CAD, in that it focuses specifically on industrial design and prototyping. It is less technical than CAD because the designer can use a stylus to express their ideas freehand, and the computer can then take every curved line and create a 3D rendering, which can be relayed to a rapid prototyping machine (similar to a 3D printer).

This is a great CAD-CAM system for clients who know what they want but don’t know how to draw up the technical, etch-ready drawings, especially as our studio can use their CAID drawings to create CAD drawings ready for the manufacturing process.

CAD (Computer-Aided Design)

A form of industrial art, CAD is the best way to create, modify, analyse or enhance designs for manufacturing.

Quicker and more accurate than pen on paper, CAD allows designers to produce precise diagrams and patterns, which can be saved as electronic files and used to generate anything from printouts and templates to 3D printed products. As far as photo etching and laser cutting is concerned, CAD streamlines the process and provides flawless templates and designs for the manufacturing process overall.

Though capable of producing three-dimensional designs, digitalising the creation of two-dimensional designs makes the whole process more efficient and more accurate. This is important in the etching industry because uniformity is so important.

These two examples of design technology are just a small selection of what’s available in the computer-aided industry. There are many more examples besides, but these two are the ones most beneficial to the metal laser cutting and photo etching processes.

We already know the photo chemical etching process leaves you with flawless results, but if you’re wondering how we can guarantee that everything from the initial design to the final template, and indeed, the finished product will be exactly as you envisioned you have your answer: CAD.

So next time you find yourself in awe of the quality afforded by our precision manufacturing processes, spare a moment to acknowledge the computer aided technology that makes such precision possible.