Waterjet Cutting vs. Chemical Etching

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Waterjet Cutting vs. Chemical Etching

Waterjet Cutting vs. Chemical Etching

| Cutting Process | 3 MIN Read

Chemical Etching, also known as photo etching or photo chemical etching, is a chemical process that can create through features and surface features in various materials. It uses a chemical material to create permanently etched details on specific surfaces. This process is particularly precise when used on thin materials. We are going to cover details and compare the chemical Etching process to the Microwaterjet® one.

Advantages of Chemical Etching 

Creating Multiple Features at Once

Since chemical etching does not use tooling, the material is submerged in a chemical bath, where all features are “etched” at the same time. This allows consistent results for the finished parts.

Accurate Location Tolerances (on Close-Knit Features)

Small parts and tightly nested features are a good fit for Chemical Etching. The initial mask created results in a resistant coating that is precise and consistent for these small features.

Small Web Width

Since this process does not use tooling, there are no outside forces upon the workpiece. This allows for extremely thin walls to remain after the etching process is complete.

Controlled Depths

The amount of material that is removed by etching is controlled by time. With a limited amount of time, the process can be stopped before features continue through the workpiece.  

Disadvantages of Chemical Etching

Only Compatible With Metallic Materials 

This process is only compatible with metallic materials such as stainless steel, titanium and copper.

Thickness of Material Can’t Be More Than Feature Size

Since thicker materials require more time to be etched with through features, an aspect ratio greater than one cannot be achieved.  

Difficulty Creating Straight Walls in Etched Areas

Especially with thicker materials, the chemical will etch in all directions over time. Therefore, through features can end up with concavity through the thickness of material.

Difficulty Achieving Consistency in Long Project Runs

The chemical solution must be kept optimized for consistent results over long durations. As the solution etches material, it becomes contaminated and must be closely maintained.  

How the Microwaterjet® Excels Over Chemical Etching 

The Microwaterjet® process offers some key advantages for your products over Chemical Etching: 

High Aspect Ratio

Our Microwaterjet® process is capable of cutting up to a 300:1 aspect ratio.

Capable of Cutting Nearly Any Material

Metallic, plastic, glass, ceramic and sintered materials can be cut using the  Microwaterjet® process. 

Thickness of Material Has a Wider Range

Depending on the required tolerance, Microwaterjet® is capable of cutting materials as thick as 0.25” with a negligible kerf angle.

Which Cutting Solution Is Right For You?

Want to learn more about why waterjet cutting with the Microwaterjet® may be the right solution? Get in touch with Meyer Tool Huntersville today and find a cutting solution that can fulfill your product’s cutting needs.