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What is Acid Etching?
Acid Etching is defined as the process of cutting a hard surface, such as metal, using a specially formulated acid for etching (etchant) in order to create a design on the metal. Find out more about how ACE produces acid etched metal components in our acid etching guide.

In this fast-moving manufacturing age, ACE has a proven track record of developing precision acid etched components. We are constantly developing new, innovative acid etching techniques and improving the formulation of our acid for etching. ACE manufactures millions of components each year, using our unique process to acid etch metal components. Our process can be applied to 2000 different metals in thicknesses of five microns to 2.5mm. Our team of technical experts are ready to advise on standard products for your sector or bespoke components that meet a specific technical application.

How To Acid Etch Metal IN 8 STEPS

We acid etch metal components using specially formulated acid for etching in a multistage process, broken down into a series of eight steps:

acid etching

1. Choosing The Metal

acid etching
Metal selected to meet customer requirements.


acid etching

2. Metal Cleaning

acid for etching
Metal sheets are chemically cleaned.


what is acid etching?

3. Lamination

acid for etching
Dry film photosensitive resist is applied to both sides of the metal.


what is acid etching?

4. Printing

what is acid etching?
The design is transferred from the film to the coated sheet using UV LED exposure.


acid etched metal

5. Developing

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The unexposed areas of resist are developed away to leave exposed metal areas.


acid etched metal

6. Etching

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Etching acid is sprayed both sides and exposed metal is dissolved.


acid etched metal

7. Stripping

acid etched metal
Photo-resist is removed to leave the metal parts


acid etching stainless steel

8. Inspecting & Finishing

acid etching stainless steel
A visual and critical dimension inspection is undertaken. Bespoke products finished to customer specification.


Discover ACE’s acid etching process

Discover the steps ACE uses to acid etch metal components from start to finish. ACE acid etch millions of components every month in a huge range of metals at higher volumes than our competitors. We are are UK's leader in acid etching stainless steel, titanium and specialist metals in thicknesses ranging from 0.005mm to 2.0mm. Follow along as we walk you through the production process for acid etching on metal.

The Acid Etching Process

The acid etching process allows both surface etched detail and cut through areas to be produced at the same time onto metal thicknesses up to 1.5mm.

Etched Raised Areas

Alternatively, surface etched raised areas are produced by applying etching acid to one side only… an example is the manufacture of metal etched paper dies.

Metal Surface Etching

Etching detail can also be etched into the metal surface only… for uses such as etched presentation plaques or etched signage.

To Bear In Mind…

Unfortunately we are not able to put designs onto finished metal components or shaped metal items. Etching metal is performed by applying etching acid to perfectly flat sheets of metal. Please also note we are only able to acid etch metal.

why acid etching produces higher quality components

The ACE acid etching process is more controllable and more consistent than the industry standard, and produces parts that meet higher quality standards each and every time.

Acid Etching Metal - Materials We Work With

ACE is the market leader in acid etching metal, and have pioneered many of the techniques that make acid etching on certain metals possible. These new processes allows ACE to etch even finer line micro channels and rapidly profile acid etched metal for customers involved in producing components for a variety of industries.

  • Acid Etching Stainless Steel

    Stainless Steel remains one of the most popular metals ACE produce acid etched components in, due in part to is outstanding corrosion and oxidisation resistance. Acid etching Stainless Steel can produce multi complex profile shapes with burr-free edges - no finishing required. This material's versatility makes etching Stainless Steel a valuable process for a wide variety of industry sectors.

  • Acid Etching Aluminium

    Aluminium and its alloys are prized in engineering for their lightweight durability that enables energy saving - however acid etching Aluminium has generally been considered a difficult and slow process using conventional chemistry. ACE have pioneered a unique process for etching Aluminium that is safer and more controllable than the industry standard.


  • Acid Etching Titanium

    Titanium is renowned for its strength and high-temperature performance, however, using etching acid on Titanium is difficult due to the oxidised coating that forms when exposed to air. ACE is the first acid etching company to develop a unique, safer etching acid for etching Titanium, and is one of the few acid etching companies that have production capacity for etching Titanium.

  • We can also acid etch metal varieties...

    ACE can etch a number of innovative materials. We have developed our own processes for etching Copper, Nitinol, Elgiloy, Iron and Nickel to name a few. Please contact our team if you have a project that requires a metal type you do not find on our site - we will always do our best to accommodate your specification.

see the metals ACE uses for acid etched components

Acid Etched Metal


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