Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Cutting a design in Metal


Hi Maja,

It sounds like you might be referring to chemical etching, also
called photochemical etching, or chemical milling. It is a process
almost like developing film, where glass masks are made from your
artwork, then a metal coated with a photosensitive material gets
exposed to light, and the exposed area hardens. The hardened area
resists being eaten with acid when the rest of the material is
submerged in a tank of acid. The technique is usually used on thin
materials, and is sometimes done on both sides of the material to
speed up cycle time. Depending on the etching time, a pattern can be
eaten into the surface to look similar to beadblasting, or it can eat
all the way through. Extremely detailed pieces are possible without
the slight burrs caused by a laser or the force and wider kerf of a
waterjet. The parts don’t need any further deburring or treatment
other than coloring or texturing if you will be doing that. I had
some tiny earrings made in very large batces in the shape of bicycle
sprockets made out of titanium this way by a company named NewCut. It
works well on all the normal precious metals. Because of the setup
needed, there’s usually a one time fee to make the masking plates,
then another charge to make batches of products. It makes good sense
in making large batches of similar products like earrings.

Bruce Boone
Boone Titanium Rings