You may not realize it, but the custom metal etching process affects a large portion of your life. If you’ve ever flown on a plane, watched a space shuttle launch or used an electronic appliance that contains a circuit board, you’ve been exposed to metal etching. Applications for this process are used world-wide, in commercial, industrial and residential settings, to create intricate metal parts that would be too cost-ineffective to produce using any other method.
Custom Metal Etching Applications
Designers of intricately formed parts and components turn to custom metal etching because of its accuracy, ease-of-manufacture, and affordability. Commercially, this process is used in the manufacture of airframes and components of airliners, the skin panels of missiles, and integrated circuitry for numerous other operations. A wide range of industries, including aerospace, nanotechnology, and home appliance turn to metal etching for the customization of specialized parts and pieces.
Metal Etching Affordability
Designers love the process of metal etching because it’s a much cheaper method of making prototype changes. Using the traditional tooling process, even a minor prototype change involves the creation of a new metal die — a costly endeavor. But because etching is a mostly digital process, prototype changes are simple. For comparison, the cost of creating a new die could range upwards of $1,000, while a change made digitally can cost as little as $180.
Complexity of Design
One of the biggest benefits of metal etching is its ability to create complex and intricate designs. Simple projects like metal washers are a snap, but so are complex pieces that feature multiple cut-outs and serrated edges. Encoder discs, screens, filters and even fuel cell plates are possible using the etching process.
Creating dies for projects such as these are time-consuming, costly projects. But using this digital alternative, even the most innovative and unusual designs become an affordable reality.
Metal etching plays a huge role in how the industrial world functions. It makes affordable air flight possible, home electronics viable, and has even taken us into space. It’s used by the military in the making of weaponry, by the computer industry to make devices lighter, smaller and more portable, and by the automobile industry to make airbags that deploy when needed. Etching is a process that affects every one of us either directly or indirectly, to make our lives more convenient and our world a safer and more interesting place to live.