Sign and Nameplate

Chemical Etchers for Engraved Name Plates and Metal Signs

Engraved Name Plates

What kind of Signs and Name Plates are made in a Chemcut machine?

Any sign or name plate that requires etching metal or glass can be made in our etcher. We have built many different metal etchers that are designed to engrave name plates and metal signs.

Engraved name plates are typically made from metal which makes using a chemical etcher cost-effective. We have built etchers for stainless steel, titanium, brass, aluminum name plates, and other metals. If you want a list of metals we can build a name plate engraving machine for, proceed to our Chemical Milling page.

Etching titanium has become a popular manufacturing process. We specialize in building hydrofluoric acid (HF) etchers which is required when etching titanium.

In 2020 we built the largest titanium etcher in the world which consisted of 11 hydrofluoric acid etch chambers.

What is a name plate?

A name plate is a plate, sign, or plaque that expresses the name of an individual, company, resident, or whoever needs a metal sign to show their name.

Sign and Name plates can be made of plastic, wood, metal, or glass. As stated above, we build name plate engraving machines for metal and glass.

How are name plates made?

The chemical etching process to make a name plate is similar to chemical milling. A piece of metal with an image on it is placed on a conveyorized etcher. The conveyor takes the metal through the metal etching machine for a preset time. The metal is then rinsed and stripped which will provide you with an engraved name plate.

The sign and name plate etching process starts with selecting metal and the proper chemistry for etching the selected metal.

Secondly, a photoresist for that metal needs to be selected so photo etching can be completed. The photoresist will be laminated onto the metal, exposed to UV light, and chemically developed. For an in-depth description of this process please click here.

Now the chemical engraving step. If you are etching stainless steel, ferric chloride will be the chemistry used to etch stainless steel. Name plates typically just etch part way through the metal, which will produce engraved letters or raised letters.

To produce engraved letters the manufacturer will leave the metal exposed where letters are to be engraved. The etchant will react with the surface causing the exposed metal to be etched away leaving letters engraved into the metal.

For producing raised letters, a manufacturer will leave the area around the letters exposed to the etchant. The etchant will react with the surface to etch away the area around the letters leaving raised letters.

The photoresist is then stripped off using chemistry, rinsed with water, and dried. The metal sign now has the design desired and is ready for the next steps in your process.

The above steps are the same for sign etching or sign engraving.

Why chemical etching is a great solution for engraving name plates?

Accurate and Complex

A metal etching machine has the capability to make extremely complex and accurate metal components. Since all the features are being machined at the same time the complexity can be endless.

Burr-Free and Stress-Free

Since the photo etch process is chemical machining instead of mechanical machining the components will be bur free, stress-free, and will maintain all its original metal properties.

Fast Prototyping and Quick Design Changes

Metal etching has a digital tooling process that allows etcher owners to make fast changes to component designs.

Endless Metal Options

A list of metals that Chemcut has built chemical etchers for in the past is at the bottom of this page.

No Expensive Hard Tooling

This is a common expense in stamping and other machining processes.

Tight Tolerances

Acid etching metal on a Chemcut machine can have a tolerance of 10% of the material thickness, even better with artwork compensation prior to resist exposure.

Tolerance of 1 mil and lower is achieved by many of our customers

All Chemcut machines are modularized and can be customized to meet each manufacturer’s specific production needs.

Including flat signs of unlimited configurations, and other jobs requiring area, point, or line etch on metal or glass.

What products are made on our Chemical Etching Machines?

Accessibility Signage

ADA compliant Signs

Architectural Signage

Business Cards

Company Name Plates

Desk Name Plates

Door Name Plates

Metal Plates

Plaque Engraving

Wall Signs

And much more!

Why Choose a Chemcut Machine for Your Engraved Name Plates?

Chemcut’s process engineers have over 100 years of combined metal etching experience.

Whether you are processing rigid or flexible materials, Chemcut will find a way to make your metal engraving process a flying success. We are willing to customize our etchers to your every need.

Contact us today so we can discuss your metal engraving project to determine what etching chemicals will best optimize your etching line.

Once we determine the best chemistry, we will start our lab testing phase. For the testing phase, we will need you to supply us with a panel that is laminated, exposed, and developed.

What if you are just starting a photo etching shop and cannot do this yourself?

No problem.

Chemcut has the ability to clean, laminate, expose, develop, etch, and strip, in-house! All you will need to supply is the artwork, lamination, and the metal that needs to be etched.

Chemcut can test unusual chemistries (organic solvents for example) for material compatibility prior to system build to verify the process will work, and that materials selected for construction are durable and robust.

Chemcut will prove our etchers can attain your goals and we will help you optimize all your wet processing steps.

In the end, the optimization really comes down to you testing your new metal engraving machines and finding what best works for you, but we will be here the whole time to help you through every step.

Ultimately the main reasons our customers love working with us are:

Chemcut has been a leader in the metal etching process since 1957. 

We are here to serve you. Our pre and post-sales support is second to none and prides itself on our customer’s success. Our expert service team will ship parts overnight if needed. Most parts are shipped within 24 hours of purchase. Where our competitors will have you waiting weeks if not months for parts.

Etching Performance. Our etchers provide companies with the most uniform and accurate etched surface on the market today.

Durability. Our wet processing machines are built to last using USA sourced material that is the best in the world. We have hundreds if not thousands of etchers, developers, and strippers that are well over 30 years old still providing high quality etched components.

Vertically Integrated. We make over 90% of our parts so we do not rely on anyone else to make parts for us. This gives us complete control over quality and the ability to make parts in order to support installed systems that are over 30 years old. We never have to worry about a supplier discontinuing a part and if a part is not in stock, we can start building it immediately.

Completely customized wet processing machines. You can buy a standard etcher, or you can customize every single detail.

Research and Developing Lab Testing. Our research and development lab will prove to you that our machines can acid etch the components you want and can help you optimize your chemical process.

Scale Up. Consultation with Chemcut design and process engineers will help you scale up from prototype design to full-scale continuous production.


etching pcb and chemical milling