Chemical Etching for Custom Apertures and Optical Applications

Large apertures & optical

When it comes to manufacturing small metal parts for apertures and optical applications, specifications must be completely precise with no room for error. If a piece is off by ⅛ the width of a hair, the camera won’t function properly. An aperture is a precise opening through which light travels the focal length of an optical device; it determines the cone angle of rays that bring an image into focus through a plane. Optical systems like cameras tend to have multiple openings and structures that play into the number of rays that enter, and how they function within the device. Considering how complex this system is, the method in which these small metal parts are manufactured will weigh heavily into the product’s overall quality, and for this reason leading brands invest in companies offering chemical etching for apertures and optical applications to ensure the highest quality.

blue printed circuit board

Why is Chemical Etching Ideal for Apertures and Optical Applications


Chemical etching is a superior method to make apertures or other parts used in optical applications. The process creates precise openings to your exact specifications. Parts are created without burrs, which can affect the size and shape of the opening and flatness of a part.

Photo etching also does not add stress to the metal that can affect the flatness of the part. In addition, when the undesired material is dissolved instead of stamped or machined away, there is no work that can damage the edges of the part, which could affect its performance.


At United Western Enterprises, Inc., we can create chemically etched apertures that are anywhere from .0003” to .064” thick. Very small holes can be made as well. The smallest hole in any material is dependent on how thick the base material is, but our capabilities enable us to etch apertures that meet just about any application.


Chemical etching is also a faster process, and many parts can be produced at once rather than having to machine one at a time. We offer short lead times for applications in the electronics, aerospace, and medical industries, as well as automotive and consumer markets.

We are experienced in selecting optically black finishes your parts may require and will be willing to assist you with these requirements.


Various metals can be used as well. Depending on your requirements, we can produce apertures out of:

  • Aluminum
  • Stainless steel
  • Kovar
  • Phosphor bronze
  • Beryllium copper
  • Copper alloys
    • Copper 101
    • Copper 102
    • Copper 110

Not only is chemical etching a method for creating apertures without even the most miniscule flaws, the process can also cut down on manufacturing costs while enabling your product to get to market at a faster pace where it can be more competitive against competitor goods.


Examples of Applications Using Chemical Etched Apertures and Optical Applications


Aside from consumer cameras, chemical etching is used to create apertures and optical applications for a variety of products spanning several industries. Some of the common examples that United Western Enterprises has vast experience in, includes the following:


  • Electronic equipment: Apertures are used in image sensors, waveform samplers, optics, digital cameras, and some television equipment.
  • Medical equipment: Microscope objectives and a wide range of medical imaging equipment require apertures to meet their design specifications.
  • Military and aerospace: Radar, weapons and defense systems, radio frequency signal collection equipment, telescopes, and various advanced materials use apertures.

As with all chemically etched parts, the tooling costs are typically $265.00 or less and can be completed in two weeks or less. If the design needs to be adjusted, we can accommodate your photo chemical etching requirements quickly and inexpensively. Contact our team at United Western Enterprises by phone, email, or request a quote online today.

copper chemical etched fingerstock gaskets

Contact United Western Enterprises Today for Chemical Etching Services to Create Apertures and Optical Applications


We have already established how chemical etching for creating apertures and optical applications allows manufacturers to create multiple parts at once, shorten lead times, and create the thin metal parts in a manner that virtually removes any room for error. This process is also cost effective, and ultimately saves organizations a great degree of money. Call United Western Enterprises today and learn how we can help you meet and exceed all your production goals.

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