Mastercut specialise in the precision cutting of thin materials, especially stainless steel. Photo Chemical Machining is an effective, relatively low cost method of producing intricate parts and shapes surface burrs. Because we also cut material using the laser cutting process we are in a good position to advise on the most appropriate method for your part.

The process

Photo Chemical Machining (PCM), also known as Chemical Milling, Cutting or Etching, is a highly accurate manufacturing method which uses chemicals to remove layers of metal from sections of a sheet to leave text/graphics either proud of the surface or etched into the surface. A photographic process is used to define exactly where acid will be able to dissolve the metal and which parts will remain intact. The metal sheets can be half-etched or full-etched through, adding depth and dimension where required.

Once you send us the dimensions of your parts, we’ll help you select a material that is compatible with your application. After etching, forming achieves any final three-dimensional configuration you may need.

Small parts are often supplied still “tabbed” into the parent sheet to allow for “twisting” out by the customer. This reduces the risk of damage and is usually more convenient.



Intricate, high tolerance precision parts can be manufactured with shapes and detail unmatched by conventional methods, therefore PCM offers endless opportunities to designers and engineers. Prototype parts can be obtained in a short period of time, and tooling costs are significantly reduced. Even the most complex designs are possible with chemical etching without any affect to metal hardness, grain structure or ductility and materials remain free of surface burrs resulting in a superior finish and highly precise parts.

Size limitations

For stainless steel, copper and brass the sheet size is usually 300x300, 300x400 or 300x450. Larger sizes are also possible; please contact us to discuss your requirements.

What applications is it best for

We specialise in chemically etching precision parts, nameplates jewellery and more for these industries:

What can be cut?

Some common materials that can etched in thickness from 0.05 mm to 1.2mm include
Stainless Steel
Alloy 42
Beryllium Copper
Carbon Steel
Magnetic Alloys
Nickel Silver
Phosphor Bronze
Spring Steel


Mastercut also offer - Laser Cutting - PCM Etching - Plating & Forming
Download Mastercut's Brochure from the resources page for an overview of all products and services