Etching Chemistry Definition

Etching and etching go under the printmaking class of intaglio; the print results from ink being constrained out of the chiseled lines and not from the outside of the plate. Etching was initially used to adorn metal. These embellishments would frequently be loaded up with shade which with the correct constrain was found to move to paper or fabric creating a print. Etching contrasts from etching in that corrosive replaces the physical exertion of chiseling the plate taking into account an a lot lighter and more liberated scope of imprints and surfaces. The profundity of the line can likewise be all the more effectively controlled and used to make more extravagant and increasingly differed tones. The most well-known metals utilized for etching plates are zinc and copper; Zinc is frequently utilized by students while copper is commonly considered to create better line and increasingly nitty gritty tones.

  1. In etching, the plate is made by a progress, or “oppose” which shields the plate from the corrosive and is then brought into with a needle.. Ground normally comes as a wax ball which is liquefied onto a warmed plate and afterward spread uniformly and daintily with a roller. The Ground can either be hard – for fine, precise lines or delicate – the wax doesn’t set; any finished item squeezed into it will pull the wax off when evacuated; uncovering the plate. Putting paper over delicate ground and drawing on it will make marks like a hard pencil.
  2. Hard ground isn’t a lot darker in shading than the metal. so it is very regular to obscure the plate via cautiously holding it topsy turvy and permitting the carbon from consuming wax decreases to be retained into the ground. This is called smoking the plate. The plate would now be able to be drawn on with a needle – hard enough just to scratch off the ground without scratching into the metal. Thusly missteps can be painted out with a fluid ground. Additionally recollect that anything drawn will print as an identical representation!
  3. The plate is then placed into corrosive and the uncovered zones are nibbled. I for the most part utilize Dutch Mordant, a moderate gnawing, simple to control blend of Hydrochloric corrosive, potassium chloride and water that turns a brilliant blue/green with use.
  4. The ground is expelled and the drawn picture will have been “etched” into the plate. This is secured with ink, surface ink is cleaned away leaving just the lines filled.
  5. A sheet of hosed paper is put over the inked plate and both are moved through a press under high tension. The subsequent print will have fresh, somewhat raised lines and a trademark “plate mark”

What are the differences between etching engraving

In the world of printmaking, different methods are used to come up different images from a flat surface, a hard surface and even a metal plate. Laser engraving and laser etching are unique applications of laser technology with their distinct profile requirements, benefits and characteristics. They refer to a different process when it comes to creating images, markings or designs on a selected material with a laser.

Here is a list of our main differences that distinguish between these laser methods.


While etching is the art of creating an image using acid that removes metal, engraving is a printing method in which an artist uses a pointed and sharp tool to cut lines on a metal surface.

Effect on materials

The laser engraving creates a conical depression on the material surface. Laser etching creates a high-contrast marking on the surface of the material by evaporating only the surface layer of the material.

Object size

The etching is suitable for small projects and thin materials. On the other hand, the engraving can be used for large materials.


Laser engraving is an ideal method for marking parts and objects where high wear is to be expected. If you engrave a jewelry design with a laser, it will fade quickly if the piece is touched frequently, as the depth is only 0.001 inches. The deepest cuts in laser engraving are ideal for creating permanent markings on a variety of materials. Laser engraving is not appropriate for safety-critical parts since the etching process can structurally damage or damage the engraved part. A Laser-etched markings are less durable and are suitable for surfaces with little wear.


Laser engraving and engraving are versatile and can be used with many different materials. Laser engraving is suitable for almost any material of your choice, including metals, wood, plastics, leather, glass, acrylic and also soft materials like paper. Laser etching influences the surface of the materials changes the reflectivity and improves the contraction. The best materials for laser etching are anodized aluminum, stainless steel, coated metals, ceramics and polymers. Laser marking is widely used in the industry to come up with permanent markings without causing any damage on the materials.

Although these processes are used for the same purpose, the etching and engraving process is different, each with a special process. The method to be chosen mainly depends on the type of metal to be used, the availability of expertise, the preferred result and the possibility of using a physical or chemical process.


What is Metal Etching?

Metal etching is the process of using acid or chemicals to cut into the uncovered parts of a metal surface. This is for the purpose of creating a design on that particular surface. You may also call it a design that is “incised” into the metal. Some of the known acids used in this type of etching are muriatic hydrochloric acid, Nitric acid, Sulfuric acid, and or copper sulfate. Here at Qualitetch, we use Ferric chloride which is the known professional choice for etching. It is good for creating very precise and intricate metal components.

Metal etching is a good alternative to stamping, laser cutting, water jet, or punching. It is also a fast alternate solution especially for fine complex metal components with measurements ranging from 0.0127mm to 1.60mm in thickness.

How does it work?

1.First, the metal is cut then it is cleaned. Next, a lamination of UV photo-sensitive resist is then applied. After that, It is printed using your CAD artwork design.

2.After the design is printed on the metal, it is then developed. During this process, it washes away unexposed photo-resist. What would be left is the metal profile track line that is to be etched through the metal.

3.When the etching of the profile is done, we remove the blue UV-photo-sensitive resist and allow the raw metal parts as either loose or tabbed into the large sheet.

Metal etching can be used on the following materials and alloys:

•Mild Steel

•Stainless Steel

•Spring Steels



•Copper Alloys


•Nickel and Nickel alloys

What Makes Metal Etching an Excellent Choice?

•Fast Processing time of within a few days.

•Photo etching does not create burr and is a stress-free process with no heat or mechanical force applied to the metal.

•Our etching process does not discriminate however complex of your design is. Components with many holes like mesh can be made at no additional cost just as it would in making a simple shape.

•The Artwork is done in CAD format and placed on an acetate photo tool. In case of any design change, it can be adjusted quickly and in a cost-effective manner. When you send a DXF of your requirement, we offer you FREE photo-tool artwork here at QUALITETCH. Others may have to charge you an additional £100.

•Tolerance starts at +-0.025mm depending on the kind of material and its thickness.


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