Flat Springs

Flat springs are thin and flat metal components that are designed to store and release energy when deflected. They can be used as stand-alone components or as part of an assembly in a wide variety of applications. Flat springs can be manufactured using various methods such as stamping, laser cutting, waterjet cutting, and chemical etching. In this paper, we will focus on the etching process for manufacturing flat springs. Etching is a highly precise and efficient process that involves removing selected areas of a metal sheet to create a specific shape or pattern. The process starts by applying a photoresist to the metal sheet, which is then exposed to a UV light through a patterned mask. The exposed areas of the photoresist become insoluble, and the unexposed areas are removed during the developing process. The metal sheet is then etched in an acid solution to remove the unprotected areas, leaving the desired shape or pattern.

Difference between traditional sheet metal precision processing VS Chemical etched sheet metal processing

VECO’s video to learn what metal etching is.
Comments related to etching technology:
From @chadr2604: There is another way it involves stacking many layers of very thin material with an There is another way it involves stacking many layers of very thin material with an adhesive, pressing the stack, then either stamping or punching the blank then heating it to release the adhesive. The parts will not be as accurate the tolerance is limited to about .002″ but if its good enough its much faster.
From @chadr2604: If you try to cut that stack with a laser you will just start a fire we had an aluminum fire trying that.
Modern precision sheet metal fabrication includes a common technique known as etching, which differs from traditional sheet metal fabrication in several ways. Here are some key differences between etching and traditional precision sheet metal fabrication:
    • Principle: Traditional sheet metal fabrication typically involves mechanical processes such as cutting, bending, and punching to shape and form metal sheets. Metal etching by Metal Etching Machine , on the other hand, is a chemical process that uses specialized etchants to selectively corrode the metal surface, achieving precise etched patterns and features.
    • Accuracy and Complexity: Etching offers advantages in terms of precision and complexity. By controlling the composition, concentration, temperature, and etching time of the etchant, extremely fine etching can be achieved with accuracy down to sub-micron levels. Additionally, etching allows for the creation of intricate geometries, microstructures, and patterns that may be difficult to achieve using traditional mechanical methods.
    • Processing Speed and Cost: Etching generally offers faster processing speeds, particularly in large-scale production. In comparison, traditional mechanical fabrication methods may require more time and cost to achieve the same level of precision and complexity.
    • Materials Compatibility: Etching techniques are applicable to a range of metal materials, such as copper, aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium. Traditional sheet metal fabrication methods may have limitations when it comes to certain materials or thicker metal sheets.
    • Design Flexibility: Etching provides greater design flexibility. By incorporating techniques like photolithography or screen printing during the etching process, complex patterns and structural designs can be achieved. This makes etching suitable for applications in microelectronics, optical devices, microfluidic devices, and more.
Flat springs produced using etching technology have several advantages over those produced using traditional methods. Some of these advantages include:
  • Precision: Etching can produce highly precise and complex shapes with tight tolerances, which is difficult to achieve with stamping or laser cutting.
  • Consistency: Etching produces consistent parts with uniform thickness, shape, and quality.
  • No burrs: Etching eliminates the need for secondary operations such as deburring or machining, as there are no burrs or rough edges.
  • Design flexibility: Etching allows for easy design modifications and customization, making it an ideal process for producing prototypes and low to medium volume production runs.
Flat springs are used in various industries such as aerospace, automotive, medical, and electronics. In the aerospace industry, flat springs are used in various components of aircraft such as landing gears, flaps, and brakes. In the automotive industry, they are used in suspension systems, brakes, and clutches. In the medical industry, flat springs are used in surgical instruments, implants, and diagnostic tools. In the electronics industry, they are used in switches, relays, and connectors. The choice of metal for flat springs depends on the specific application and its requirements. The most commonly used metals for flat springs are stainless steel, brass, and phosphor bronze. Stainless steel is preferred for its corrosion resistance, while brass and phosphor bronze are preferred for their electrical conductivity. The etching machine used for manufacturing flat springs has a high level of accuracy and repeatability, which ensures that the final product meets the desired specifications. The tolerance values of the etching machine for flat springs depend on the thickness and complexity of the design. In conclusion, etching technology offers several advantages over traditional methods for producing flat springs. With precision, consistency, and design flexibility, etching can produce complex shapes with tight tolerances, uniform thickness, and no burrs. Flat springs are used in various industries such as aerospace, automotive, medical, and electronics, and the choice of metal depends on the specific application requirements. If you have any questions about etching for Flat Springs or need assistance with your project, please do not hesitate to contact us.