3 Surface Finishing Basics you Should Know in 2024

Surface finishing is the process when the metal is cleaned, reshaped, or parts of it are removed to make it look better and to make it more durable. These products are everywhere around us and we use them daily without even noticing it.

This process is created with one goal only – to improve the end product. If surface finishing is not done, then we will end up with metals that are rough, easily breakable, and with too many imperfections. If you want to learn more about the basics of this method, we are here to help you. In this guide, you will read more about why this is done, how and what types of top layer finishing there are.

1. Why is the surface finishing important?

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The main reason why companies use this method is to ensure that the product will last longer and that there won’t be any scratches or dents on it. However, there are also many additional benefits to it.

For example, if the surface is not cleaned and processed, the paint will not stick to it, and it will start to peel off faster. This leads to many unhappy customers and possible returns. When the metal is treated with the right chemical, it will not corrode with use and it will also be resistant to other, different products.

When it comes to products that are used to build heavy-duty machines, the metal needs to be durable and not to wear with use. Experts suggest that with the right type of surface finishing, the friction effects are almost eliminated, so the product will not break for a long time.

Depending on the type of metal you need to work on, there are different tools and machines that can ease the whole process. For example, the centrifugal barrel machine is mostly used for smaller parts of metal as well as some acrylic and rubber parts. If you want to know the industries that benefit from this machine the most, you can click here.

2. Types

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There are two main types of surface finishing, the first one is the process when the base layer of the product is removed so that it can be altered with ease. The second one is to add another layer before the top layer is reshaped.

The methods that are used to remove the existing layer include:

  • Grinding – this is one of the best-known methods and it is widely used to remove any bumps, scratches, and dents on the product. A wheel is used with an abrasive material attached to it and the metal ends up polished, smooth, and with little to no imperfections.
  • Electropolishing – in this process, an electrical current is used in order to remove any dirt or rust from the surface of the metal. The end result is a product that is scratch-free without any dirt, rust, or any irregularities.
  • Lapping – this method is similar to the grinding, but the main difference is that in this method grains are put in a fluid and the metal is treated with that liquid. A lapping tool is used to make the top layer clean, clear, and scratch-free.

The methods that are used to add a new layer on the product before it is reshaped include:

  • Electroplating – the product is submerged in a liquid and electricity runs through it. The main benefits of this method are that the product will be more durable, it will look better and it won’t rust.
  • Pickling – the product is treated with substances that contain acids in order to smoothen the surface and remove any imperfections. The main benefit is that the product will not corrode with time and the surface will be smooth and scratch-free.
  • Powder coating – similar to the electroplating, but the current runs through a powder instead of a liquid. This method is mostly used to treat automobile parts, military gear as well as tools that need to withstand a lot of force without breaking.

3. How to choose the right method?

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Choosing the right method may be a bit tricky if you don’t take everything about the metal into consideration.

If you need to create more products and if you need to deliver them fast, then this is the first thing you need to look into. Start researching how much time you are going to need to process the surface depending on the type, size, and of course, method. Once you have all this information, you can compare it and choose the right method for you.

The second thing you need to think about is the type of metal you are using and its hardness. For example, if the metal is hard then it is better to use something that’s abrasive and that can remove all imperfections with ease. Think if you want to process the top layer before or after you reshape it. If you want to do it after, then you should use electroplating, and in case you want to do it before you change the shape of the product, then you should probably go with grinding.

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Last but not least, you have to consider your budget, and how much you plan on spending on the whole process. If you choose something more complex, then you have to use different types of machines that will ease the whole thing. Shinysmooth.com suggests that the vibratory finishing machines are used in most industries, as they have a wide application. Depending on what you need to achieve, you can choose the right type of machine, gear, or tools for you.

These are the most important things you should know about metal finishing and why you should do that. When you apply the right method, the products you sell on the market will have an aesthetic appeal, they won’t corrode with use and your customers will be happy.

If you are not sure what type of surface finishing you should use, or how to choose the right tools and machines for you, you can always contact the sellers and the professionals and learn more about the different types of metal.