Photochemical machining/milling (the process of fabricating materials to achieve a desired design on a particular material) is efficient in manufacturing. It competes favorably with other methods that conduct the same task. Photochemical machining is a step by step process that has both advantages and disadvantages. Read on to learn about them.
Advantage of photo etching
Time is money and that is what will be saved by using photo etching. In part deliveries about 1 to 3 weeks are enough for getting the order which may not be achieved by other methods.
Low cost tools
In production, the higher the cost of tools the higher the overall cost and vice versa. For photochemical machining, computer aided software’s such as CAD/CAM have been used to reduce cost of operations.
Complex parts can be produced
Processes such as chemical photo etching can easily produce metal precision parts which are complex to produce by other processes.
With photochemical milling, the part patterns which require high tolerances can be replicated on larger scale and that at lower cost. This does not compromise the speed of the process.
Possible to conduct modifications
The process allows design modifications through the CAD/CAM software. The software and the computers enable alterations at minimal cost. This can be achieved within record time since prototypes can be built.
Elimination of burring
With photochemical machining, burring is eliminated as the process can be done without conducting surface burring.
Ease of fabricating thin metal parts
The process has the ability to easily work on various thin metals as well as their alloys.
Unlike other methods, photo etching does not cause deformation to the rest of the material that has not undergone any engraving since there are no hard tools used.
There are no stresses associated with it
Products that are made from the process are fine and have no sharp edges as in other processes. Photochemical milling does not cause any material stresses.
Through this machining process uniformity of the mass products can be achieved as the prototypes are made to be replicated further.
Difficult-to-machine materials can be used
Materials such as Titanium are hard to machine materials but can be used in photo etching.
Redesigning from scratch
In photochemical milling when finished products need to be updated, re-etching will be done from scratch.
Chemicals in the process may pose harmful effects to the environment if not well disposed.
Alternatives of photo etching
After considering the pros and cons of photochemical machining it is good to know about other alternatives in the market. They are:
This involves imprinting an image through stamping which is then subjected to a stamping press to form the image onto the desired material. Since it is both expensive and labor intensive, it is not cost effective for small parts.
Laser jet cutting
For this process, a combination of light and gas are used to burn their way through materials. The laser beam acts like the tracing of a drawing with a pencil. It is faster than water jet cutting.
Water jet cutting
In place of laser beams, the water jet technique uses either pure or slurry water under very high pressure to cut through materials.