Photofabrication, Not for Face Blankets

Before learning about photofabrication, if I had to guess what it was, I would go with printing photos onto fabrics. In other words, making pictures on blankets, pillows or quilts, items like that. Pictures seem to be put on everything recently; they even make face cakes now! But this is not what photofabrication is. Photofabrication is a much more interesting technique used to cut or engrave metal parts for different industries. While the process can be used, and often is used, by artists to put designs or pictures onto the metal, it can be further applied to such industries as medical and aerospace.

This etching process can be used on virtually any metal. Stainless steel, carbon, copper, nickel, brass, silver, zinc, manganese and aluminum are often used. In addition to metals, glass can also be used. One of the reasons this process is gaining popularity is because it does not subject the metal or glass materials to elements and forces that could cause distortion, stress or burrs. These results can be found in many other forms of metal cutting and can lead the product to need refinishing, or even to be completely redone in many cases. With photofabrication, tough, thin metals with high tolerances can be formed with precision.

Photofabrication is an amazing method that can be applied to a wide variety of products and industries. From jewelry to medical parts, this is a clean and efficient method for metal detailing. While it is slightly difficult, computer technology and other developments are helping it become a little easier. That being said, those using the procedure should still be skilled in chemistry. The metals require different acids for reaction, and the wrong combination could be hazardous. Perhaps the most common photochemical used is ferric chloride dissolved in hydrochloric acid. The entire photofabrication process can be accomplished in a couple hours, and after words can be polished and burnished for the desired finish.