Non-traditional machining processes come in handy when the manufacturing process demands high precision. Chemical milling is one of the leading non-traditional machining processes used in industries that rely on high precision parts such as aerospace, automotive, architectural and electronic. Chemical milling is popular for its high precision, accuracy, simplicity, and cost-effectiveness. Learn more about chemical milling and what it entails.

What is chemical milling?

Chemical milling is molding or removing metal by exposing it to strong chemical elements. It comes in handy to machine large parts of metal that cannot be easily machined through conventional machining methods. That includes metal parts that require precision engineering, like those containing deep internal cavities and miniaturized microcomponents. While it has many uses in different industries, aerospace chemical milling is inevitable.

The process of chemical milling

The entire process of chemical milling is not complicated. It involves first cleaning the parts that require miking then masking them with a preventative coat such as vinyl plastic. The metal is then exposed to an etching solution. The type of etchant and its chemical concentration determines the level of etching the part will be exposed to.

The operator utilizes an ultrasonic to examine the workpiece until it reaches the precise thickness the blueprint recommends. After that, the etched metal is cleaned and inspected for quality control. Many industries prefer this etching method because it is possible to machine numerous parts concurrently.

Benefits of chemical milling

It has a wide range of applications.

The first benefit of chemical milling is that it is applicable in many industries, including aerospace, automotive, and many other applications that require utmost precision. It provides good surface quality hence easy weight reduction and low scrap rates, and it can be used in any material not adaptable to traditional milling methods.

It doesn’t induce stress.

One of the reasons why some workpiece metals are not suitable for traditional milling methods is because of deformation due to exposure to heating and cooling during manufacturing. The best thing about chemical milling is that it doesn’t stress the workpiece, and it doesn’t create any thermal effect eliminating any chances of deformation when making workpieces.

It doesn’t interfere with the properties of the material.

Chemical milling doesn’t affect the properties of the material or workpiece that undergoes the process. Metal properties such as hardness, adhesion, thermal conductivity, etc., are not impacted in any way. Again you don’t have to deal with deburring when it comes to chemical milling. During machining, the material on the edges of the workpiece might become raised, causing burrs. Deburring is the process of removing those burrs using a deburring tool.

It is cost-effective

Chemical milling is cost-effective and produces effective results, which is why it is in demand. It enables manufacturers to machine workpieces that are difficult to mold, whether complex or have delicate configurations.

To conclude

It is easy to see why many parts in aircraft, turbines, launch vehicles, and missiles are produced using chemical milling. It makes it possible to machine the smallest of parts with utmost precision.