Photochemical Machining

More than 40 years of experience

We have over four decades of experience in manufacturing photochemically etched components for the military and aerospace markets. Optical encoders, lead frame prototypes, and R/F shielding components are some of the common photochemically machined products that we manufacture. Elcon specializes in processing diverse base materials, including molybdenum, tungsten, copper, stainless steel, and titanium, with thicknesses ranging from 0.0005" to 0.100".

Technical designs for your projects are created by our CAD/CAM department. Using Optibeam printers, photographic artwork designed from custom specifications are plotted on to photoresists that preserve surface metal during photo etching. After the imaging phase, we use Chemcut etchers to remove undesired areas from metal surfaces. Our photochemical etching process offers several advantages, including low cost tooling, design flexibility, fast turnaround, and dimensional repeatability.

Flat as well as 3D curved surfaces can be precisely etched to tight tolerances of up to 0.00025". Through chemical milling, we accurately etch holes and slots on a wide range of materials. The minimum hole diameter and spacing between holes can be 1.2 times the material thickness. Our average lead time is 3 weeks ARM for planar and 8 weeks ARM for 3D Grids. Expediting services are also available.

Photochemical Machining: "Is a process of using photoresist to preserve the surface of metal, while using an etchant to dissolve away selected areas."

Wide range of Exotic Materials Available
Ability to Etch More Precise Geometry
Cost Effective Prototypes

Proprietary Chemistry
Dry Film and Liquid Resist
Inexpensive Tooling
Capability to Produce Fine Geometries


Minimum Material Thickness

Minimum Material Thickness

0.0005 inches (in)
0.0012 centimeters (cm)
0.0127 millimeters (mm)

Maximum Material Thickness
Minimum Hole Diameter
Minimum Space between features
Minimum 3D Photo Etching on a curve surface
Maximum 3D Photo Etching on a curve surface
Maximum Sheet Length
Maximum Sheet Width
Typical Sheet Sizes
Tolerance 24 x 20 flat sheet
Tolerance 6 x 6 flat sheet
Tolerance for a curve surface ( @ .07" Diameter )
Tolerance for a curve surface (@ 18" Diameter )

Design Guide for Photochemical Machining

Photochemical Machining Design Guidelines

Some limitations on Design of Chemical Etching, Dimension & Tolerances are Required.

Inside Radius = Metal Thickness
Outside Radius = 75% of Metal Thickness
Hole Diameter & Slot = 100% Metal Thickness
Space Between Holes = Metal Thickness
Bevel (B) = 5% to 10% of Metal Thickness
Half Etch = 50% to 75% of Metal Thickness
Partial Etch = 25% to 35% of Metal Thickness

Typical Tolerance From +/- .0005" to .010" Depend of Metal Thickness.

There are some process that removes parts from sheet (Shear, Outboard Tab, and Recess Tab). Special for shear, the length tolerances are required minimum.

Single Shear Metal Thickness
.005" to .015"
.016" to .031"
Minimum Tolerance
+/- .003"
+/- .005"
Double Shear .005" to .015"
.016" to .031"
+/- .002"
+/- .003"

Part after process

Side Etch and Over Etch
Before and After Etch
Photochemical Machining

Elcon has been known for its advanced photochemical machining process since 1967. We are able to produce even extremely difficult requirements by tightly controlling every aspect of the process.  


Other Services

Metallization of Ceramics

Elcon uses proprietary technology to provide industry leading metallized ceramics and sapphires.

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Brazed Assembly

Elcon has been producing some of the most challenging brazed assemblies for over 30 years.

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Precision Machining

Elcon offers CNC machining and turning services held to that same quality standard with the expertise to meet your machining needs.

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Elcon Precision LLC | Photochemical Machining | Metallization | Brazing
With more than 40 years of experience, Elcon Precision LLC is a trusted service provider of Metallized and Resistive Coated Ceramics, Vacuum and Atmosphere Brazed Assemblies, and Photochemically Machined Parts.


1009 Timothy Drive, San Jose, CA 95133


ISO Certified
ITAR Compliant