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Advanced Full-Scale
Chemical Etching Manufacturer

We’re the most capable photo chemical etching firm in North America, providing blanking and forming from prototype through high production.

See Newcut Capabilities and Resources
Phone: 315-331-7680    401 W. Shore Blvd., Newark, NY 14513

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Who is Fathom Digital Manufacturing? One of the largest on-demand digital manufacturing platforms in North America.

Photochemical Machining/Etching Experts

Photochemical etching supports product development from prototype through to production.

Lead Times You’ll Love

Newcut is dedicated to getting precision parts to you when you need them, not after. We’ll get you most parts with a 8-10 day lead time.

Quality You Can Count On

Newcut has 50 years of experience in the photochemical etching business. That means we have the experience and knowledge to get your part right. Every time.

Materials That Matter

Newcut prides itself on its ability to etch special metals like INCONEL® 625 and other superalloys with revolutionary applications.


What is Photochemical Etching?

Photochemical machining, also known as photochemical milling or photo etching, is a chemical milling process used to fabricate thin sheet metal components. This process emerged in the 1960s as an offshoot of the printed circuit board industry.

It works by “printing” a part design onto photoresist which is transferred onto a thin sheet of metal. The areas of photoresist which have not been printed are corrosively removed using etchants, leaving precisely shaped, burr-free metal parts.

Advantages of Photochemical Etching

Designers, manufacturing engineers, and purchasing groups are recognizing the advantages photo chemical etching has to offer.

It enables you to create complex parts that are beyond hard tool capability and to fabricate the part in dead soft or full hard material without burrs or metal distortion.

When time means money, photochemical etching can save your firm dollars through a turnaround time that’s faster than other manufacturing methods.

Films for photochemical etched parts can be produced directly from your CAD drawings. No hard tools or work-holding fixtures are required.

Photochemical etching is an ideal manufacturing method for experimenting with prototype part designs. The same process used to create prototype parts is used to make your production parts.

Once in production, your part designs can be changed and applied to the next set of parts exceptionally fast.

Limitations of Laser Cutting

  • The heat produced by the laser can alter the characteristics of some metals.
  • Laser cutting can be prohibitively expensive for complex parts because its cost is based on the perimeter that the laser must trace to cut the part.
  • It’s hard to cut very small shapes with a laser, such as filter grids, without blowing out the holes.
  • Laser cutting can’t cut multiple holes or openings simultaneously.
  • Laser cutting can’t be used to create bend lines on parts.
  • Laser cutting can’t be used to create narrow-strand features.

Why Use Chemical Etching

Chemical etching is also known as photochemical machining (PCM), photochemical milling, photo chemical etching or just photo etching.

Designers, manufacturing engineers, and purchasing groups are recognizing the advantages photo chemical etching has to offer.

Some of the benefits of this unique manufacturing process are the ability to make a complex part that is beyond hard tool capability and to fabricate the part in dead soft or full hard material without burrs or metal distortion.

Another significant benefit is response time. An order may be filled in days, which allows the design to be proven without incurring the cost of a hard tool.

Photo etching is a growing industry, gaining experience and recognition as a viable method of working metal.

Designing for Photochemical Etching

Engineers need to consider several rules of thumb when designing parts for photo chemical etching. This helpful guide summarizes the best practices you need to keep in mind. Download Now >


  • Standard is +/- 10% of material thickness—other needs can be discussed
  • Smallest diameter hole needs to be greater than material thickness
  • Space between holes must be greater than metal thickness
  • Inner radius must be at least 100% of material thickness, outer radius must be at least 75%
  • Edge condition is burr free, however, there is a bevel on the edge equal to about 20% of material thickness

Partial Etching

  • Half-etches or partial-etches (etching partway through the metal) can be used to create bend lines for manual forming, part marking, or other features. Guidelines include:
    • At least 0.002” metal remaining at the bottom of the partial etch preferred
    • The width of the partial etch should be at least 1.5x the depth

Sheet Sizes

  • Standard size 12″ x 24″
  • Maximum size with in-house tooling 18″ x 24″
  • Maximum size 36″ x 59″ (tooling cost higher)
  • Smaller sheet sizes also possible

Optimal Material Thickness

  • Optimal: 0.002″ to 0.030″
  • 030″ to 0.062″ possible, but higher cost
  • <0.002″ possible

Photochemical Machining Process

Step 1: Tooling

A photo plotter is used to create a photo tool which is a negative image of the part. The part is nested to maximize the number of parts per sheet. Two laminates are printed, one each for the top and bottom of the metal sheets.

Because each photo-tool is a made of film, tooling can be finished in just hours and at a far lower cost than required by other machining methods. Additionally, these qualities ensure that part designs can be changed and applied to production exceptionally fast.

Parts on computer screen Parts on computer screen

Step 2: Cleaning

Proper metal preparation, degreasing, and the removal of surface contaminants is essential for proper adhesion between the raw material and the photoresist during the coating process.

Modern PCM companies have invested in “clean lines” for improved material cleanliness. These conveyorized machines are typically multi-chambered and material is put through a series of cleanings and rinses to ensure proper surface condition.

The quality and quantity of the finished parts depends greatly on the care taken during this step.

Conveyorized cleaning Contaminants removal

Step 3: Coating

The material is coated with photoresist directly after cleaning which reduces the chance of surface contamination and oxidation. The coating is photosensitive and resistant to the etchant used to cut the chosen metal. Dry film or liquid resist is applied to both sides of the work piece to allow etching for both sides simultaneously.

Advances in resist technology combined with new and improved Computer Assisted Design (CAD) artwork have enabled photoresist coatings to accommodate extremely complex features.

Coating application Coating machine

Step 4: Exposing

During this step in the photo etching process, material with the photosensitive coating is exposed to UV light. This is a straightforward process that transfers the photo tool image onto the coated material.

The metal is put into the double-sided photo tool and is exposed to UV light on both sides, an image is formed in the photoresist. This then becomes a durable image on both sides of the metal.

exposing UV Image transfer to coated material

Step 5: Etching

Virtually all metals can be etched, although some are etched more readily than others. The vast majority of metals can be etched using a relatively innocuous etchant, an aqueous solution of ferric chloride.

First, the metal is rinsed of the remaining photoresist that hasn’t bonded to the metal. Then, etchants are applied to the metal in a conveyor machine. During this process, the non-bonded areas of metal are exposed to the etchants and begin to etch upon contact.

Because etchants are applied to the entire sheet of metal at once, PCE maintains the unique ability to make every cut simultaneously, which can save countless hours for parts with complex geometries or features, and especially for fine meshes and screens.

Etching process Close up of etching

Step 6: Finishing

The next step in the manufacture of chemically etched parts is stripping off the protective coating of photoresist. Many companies use machines that have a strip chamber on the etch machines to increase efficiency.

Now your part is finished! Or is it?

Parts often require secondary processes or treatments post-blanking before they are completely finished and ready to be shipped. Luckily, Newcut can take care of that.

We offer a wide range of services including heat treatment, plating, and precision forming through partnerships with local treatment firms and our sister companies. As part of Fathom Digital Manufacturing, Newcut has access to a robust nationwide network of comprehensive additive and advanced manufacturing capabilities.

Etched finising Stripping the protective coating

Chemical Etched Parts

Chemical Etching Materials

  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Cold Rolled Steel
  • Copper
  • Inconel®
  • Beryllium Copper
  • Nickel Silver
  • Stainless Steel 


  • Connectors
  • Electrical Contacts
  • Encoders
  • EMI or RF Shielding
  • Filters/Screens
  • Flat Springs
  • Signage
  • Washers & Shims

Chemical Etched Parts Secondary Processes

  • Heat Treatment
  • Plating
  • Forming 


  • Aerospace
  • Architectural
  • Automotive
  • Commercial
  • Decorative
  • Electronic
  • Medical
  • Military
  • Optics
  • Energy

About Newcut

Founded in 1970 in New York’s Finger Lakes Region, Newcut is one of the nation’s first photochemical etching processors. For 50 years, Newcut has been the leader in photochemical machining technology with a reputation for exceptional quality, accuracy and service. Newcut provides short lead times, cutting-edge equipment and the ability to etch specialty metals for customers across the country. 

Photochemical etching supports product development from prototype through to production. This high-precision yet cost-effective manufacturing process allows for intricate patterns and complex features without increasing per unit pricing. Photochemical etching produces clean, burr-free parts while maintaining properties like material thickness. Photochemical etching is an excellent choice for a variety of products, such as: 

  • Screens & Filters 
  • RFI/EMI Shielding 
  • Encoders 
  • Contacts 
  • Shims/Washers 
  • Flat Springs 
  • Signage 

Developing the Future

For 50 years we have maintained our position as a leader in photochemical machining technology with a reputation for exceptional quality, accuracy and service.

Today, Newcut by Fathom continues to develop groundbreaking chemical etching services and to etch complex parts with exciting new materials.

The Newcut Difference

It takes more than age to be an industry leader. That’s why we pride ourselves on exceptional customer service, quality and precision. The team at Newcut has etched dozens of materials, so we know what it takes to produce the parts you need. Our R&D specialists help our customers find solutions for their most intricate parts. Newcut’s short lead times, cutting-edge equipment, and ability to etch special metals like Inconel® 625 make Newcut by Fathom the ultimate provider for PCE parts of the highest quality, for every industry.

Continuous Improvement

Newcut is dedicated to staying on the cutting edge, as demonstrated by our continuous improvements and adherence to industry standards. In addition to the certification below, Newcut is also ITAR registered.

2018 – AS9100:2016 with ISO 9001:2015 Certification
2018 – Built a new manufacturing facility with the latest equipment
2019 – Acquired LED exposure machine for superior developing

Fathom Manufacturing’s extensive certifications include ISO 9001:2015, ISO 9001:2015 Design, ISO 13485:2016, AS9100:2016, NIST 800-171 and ITAR.

Newcut by Fathom Linecard / /


Photochemical Machining Process Videos

Location and Services

Newcut is located in Newark, New York but services all the following local areas: Ithaca, New York, Buffalo, Rochester, Utica, Mount Vernon, Syracuse, Binghamton, Elmira, Niagara Falls, Albany, Schenectady, Cornwall, Poughkeepsie, Yonkers and more. Additional areas can receive drop shipped parts or be served by other Fathom facilities that span the entire United States across the areas of additive, CNC machining, injection molding, sheet metal fabrication and over 25 different manufacturing processes.

Contact Us

Newcut by Fathom

401 W. Shore Blvd.
Newark, NY 14513 USA

Phone: 315-331-7680
Email: sales.newark@fathommfg.com 
Fax: 315-331-0313

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