Understanding the Costs of Chemical Etching

There are many variables that will impact the overall cost of chemical etching. Just like with other metalworking processes, there are multiple factors that determine how much the process will cost, ranging from the metals used to duration the machines are used for. This means the cost of etched components can vary significantly! 

Therefore, it helps to understand what influences the cost of chemical etching, as you can then use the information to estimate the costs and where possible savings can be made. Let’s take a closer look at some of the main factors that determine the cost of manufacturing precision etched components:


The cost of sheet metal is varied, so whatever one is required for the component will influence the overall processing costs. For example, alloys tend to have a much higher cost than standard metals such as stainless steel or brass, while certain metals (such as silver) also cost more than most others.

However, the type of metal is not the only thing to consider, as the quantity of said metal will also impact the cost. Some manufacturers can get you a good deal when buying bulk quantities, while others that have paid a higher premium themselves may charge more. 

It’s a good choice to choose a metal machining specialist, as they will have their own carefully negotiated supply networks that allow them to provide large volumes at more economical prices.  

Also, thicker metal takes longer to etch, therefore increasing the runtime of machinary and the manufacturing costs. That said, most chemical etching services limit maximum thickness to 1.5mm to avoid excessive costs. 

Labour Costs 

As with any type of manufacturing, labour costs will have a direct impact on the cost of chemical etching. It’s a long process that have several stages of labour-intensive work, including sizing and tooling sheet metal, applying photo resist, printing on the metal, etching etc. 

Thankfully, the effort is mostly the same across each stage of the manufacturing process and the size of the sheet metal doesn’t impact the labour requirements too much either. In fact, 

In fact, the prices of etched components are usually given per sheet and the more components you can fit onto a single sheet the lower the cost will be, as the labour requirements are the same regardless of how much of the sheet is used. 

Make the most of this by maximising component yields per sheet – companies that offer large sheet metal for etching can potentially save you a lot of money.

John Peterson

Amanda Peterson: Amanda is an economist turned blogger who provides readers with an in-depth look at macroeconomic trends and their impact on businesses.