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What is the method for chemical etching


Dear Sir

I want to chemical etch a polished SS304 square piece (1.5mm thickness). I would like the finish to be satin on the areas chemically etched and shiny in areas of design / product logo. How is this process done? Is there a chemical screen printed onto the stainless steel? What is the chemical? How is the reaction started and how is it finished. Can we get different surface appearance using different chemicals or amount of time of reaction?

The reason I want to know is that we are a producer of stainless steel auto accessories located in Thailand. Currently we use sandblasting to emboss the surfaces but we would like to move into "chemical etching" to give us more flexibility in design options.

Kirk Riddell
- Banpong, Ratchaburi, Thailand


This is an opinion and many opinions are not applicable to all operations. I think that you will end up spending more time and money on masking, etching and demasking than you will in a properly organized shield and blast system. The blast can be automated and permanent masks (shields) can speed up the operation. Chemical etch normally would involve a mixture of ferric chloride [on eBay or Amazon] and hydrochloric acid. It does not last forever, so you have a disposal cost. Also it does not rinse off rapidly. The demask would normally involve using a solvent which is definitely short lived and expensive to dispose of.
I would take a very close look at your current setup to see where you can make labor and quality improvements.
Again, an opinion.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

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