Aluminum Chemical Etching

At Microphoto, client satisfaction is our utmost priority. Compliant with ISO, ITAR, and Mil, our robust quality management system ensures every etched-metal part meets applicable industry standards or client specifications.

We have produced high quality precision aluminum chemically-etched parts for a range of clients since 1965, with quality and delivery ratings consistently exceeding 99%.

Industries we serve include:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Decorative
  • Defense
  • Electronic
  • Energy
  • Hardware
  • Medical
  • Robotics

When we source material, it comes from trustworthy mills. Compliance is verified upon arrival. Quality control personnel use precise testing and inspection equipment. All orders are audited for accuracy before shipment.

Etched Aluminum Services

Microphoto is a leading photochemical etching company that has become synonymous with innovative approaches to metals and etchant chemistry since 1965. Aside from ISO 9001:2015 compliance, we are registered with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR, enabling us to perform etched-metal services for manufacturers that support U.S. military and space agencies.

Our team transforms aluminum into precision parts with photochemical etching, which is also referred to as chemical etching or photo etching. In this process, chemical etchants cut into unprotected areas of a metal surface to create a design or image according to your specifications.

Unlike traditional stamping, our process produces aluminum components that are burr-free, stress-free, and without any recast layers that can result from laser cutting or WEDM processing.

Additional benefits of aluminum chemical etching include:

  • Complex design (unlimited complexity is not true)
  • Low-cost tooling as compared with traditional stamping dies
  • Low-cost design iterations
  • Fast turnaround times
  • Precise accuracy

Additionally, part or serial numbers can be etched into each item for increased traceability. This can be beneficial for prototypes, research and development, or critical applications.  Aluminum is found all around us, from automobiles and electronics to window frames and aerospace parts. Lightweight, reflective, non-toxic, durable, and functional, it’s one of the key materials of our time.

Transform raw aluminum into high-quality finished parts with photochemical etching from Microphoto. We’re an ISO 9001:2015-compliant photochemical-etching service provider specializing in the supply of precision etched-metal parts for manufacturers across a range of industries.


Aluminum Advantages

With a soft and silvery-white appearance, aluminum is considered the world’s most abundant metals. It naturally generates a protective thin oxide coating that protects against degradation. This material also has a long life and is completely recyclable, making it environmentally friendly.

Aluminum easily binds with other elements like iron, silicon, copper, magnesium, manganese, and zinc. As a result, alloyed aluminum has a range of characteristics.

  •  Lightweight
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Electrical conductivity
  • Shock absorption
  • Non-magnetic
  • Ductility
  • High strength-to-weight ratio
  • Sound absorption
  • Non-toxic
  • Reflectivity
  • Odorless
  • Non-sparking

Pure and alloyed aluminum is made into components found in everyday and critical applications, from automobile accessories and electrical wiring systems to appliances and aerospace parts. Here are common aluminum alloy grades:


1000 series

This series of aluminum is the purest out of all commercial grades. Material under this grade classification contains a minimum of 99 percent pure aluminum, which creates exceptional resistance properties.

2000 series

The 2000 series is known as the copper grade of aluminum since the primary alloying element is copper. This addition increases strength and hardness, which improves machinability but results in low corrosion resistance. Typical uses include parts that require a high strength-to-weight ratio, such as aircraft structural components.

3000 series

This series of aluminum is alloyed with manganese and exhibits high strength. It also offers moderate resistance to chemical and atmospheric agents. It has better formability than pure aluminum. Common uses include cooking utensils, food-processing equipment, food-handling components, and automotive trim.

5000 series

The 5000 series can’t undergo heat treatment. Alloyed with magnesium and chromium, this material exhibits excellent corrosion resistance. It has high fatigue strength, exceptional workability and is typically used for aircraft components, home appliances, marine industry parts, and food processing equipment.

6000 series

This series of aluminum contains high levels of magnesium and silicon and is corrosion-resistant. It’s a precipitation-hardened aluminum alloy that’s versatile and has good corrosion resistance, workability, machinability, and weldability.

7000 series

Known as the zinc grade, the 7000 series is the hardest and strongest commercial-grade aluminum. It’s used widely in applications that must withstand high stresses, such as motorsports and aerospace parts.


When applications require components manufactured from strong-but-lightweight materials, aluminum and its alloys are often the metals of choice. Turning this high-performance material into precision piece parts can be tough, however. 

Aluminum’s ductility causes galling and pick-up when machined. High heat reflectivity makes it challenging to laser cut. The material also work-hardens when punched. These issues can lead to nonconforming products, which can cause unwanted downtime or, worse, premature failure. 

With Microphoto, however, these issues are of no concern. An innovative photochemical etching process and unmatched dedication to craftsmanship, ingenuity, and quality enable us to transform aluminum into complex parts quickly and effectively.



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