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Photochemical machining (PCM), also known as photochemical milling or photo etching, is a chemical milling process used to fabricate sheet metal components using a photoresist and etchants to corrosively machine away selected areas. This process emerged in the 1960s as an offshoot of the printed circuit board industry. Photo etching can produce highly complex parts with very fine detail accurately and economically.
Etching is the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of ametal surface to create a design in intaglio in the metal (the original process—in modern manufacturing other chemicals may be used on other types of material). As
an intagliomethod of printmaking, it is, along with engraving, the most important technique
for old master prints, and remains in wide use today.