the etching is not as fast as it looking.. milling, or say routing out that's a lot more predictable..

etching only an option...

corian for papers, dryembossing.. printing might also works.. I just made a couple of test raising text area on businesses cards.. it was free.. not counting on my time..

the spindle, if you count on you can cut 3-4-5 times faster, then its a good investment..

otherwise you can buy machines, designed for this purpose..
hermes and vision engravers made for this..
the depth you have to reach, 0.75 or 1 mm you can mill out easily..

also with these machines you can use the 6 in tools that loaded from the top.. means, you perfectly zero your tools on a very simple way..
while an engraving machine almost same than a router, their table flat, not flat as router... but perfectly.. so anything you lay on you can be sure there wont be vawyness..

it all pending on how much you plan to invest..

I don't want to comment on digital printing.. in my meaning a cheap solution only..

milling the plate instead etching, you wont have ""difficult"" task.. all job will becomes simple