Deburring, Polishing and Finishing

Deburring, Polishing and Finishing

Deburring, Radiusing or Polishing?

Deburring isn’t the only finishing used to smooth plated materials. Deburring abrasives act like hundreds of tiny files, breaking down sharp burrs. Radiusing, a related finishing technique, grinds sharp edges down to create smooth, round contours. Surface smoothing is used when the burrs form sharp peaks.

Polishing removes metal with an abrasive belt or grinding material, and it is the technique of choice when removing large pieces of metal. Buffing, which gives a surface its final finish, may also be used to remove small burrs. For functional parts which don’t require a decorative finish, deburring often provides the final finish.

Polishing and Deburring Methods

Deburring methods include polishing, brushing and tumbling, flexible polishing, and satin finishing, which produces a smooth directional finish.

Polishing or processing wheels use different coverings depending on the delicacy of the item being deburred. Muslin, canvas, felt and even leather are all used, but cotton fabric wheels are the most common. Cotton fabric wheels provide consistent results, are used to remove a range of burr sizes, and are also the most economically viable.

The surface requiring deburring determines the rigidity of the polishing wheel. Rigid canvas wheels are used for flat surfaces with little contouring and for rapid deburring of large amounts of metal. More delicate parts with restricted areas require a less rigid processing wheel and softer materials such as muslin.

Items with irregular contours and small burrs need a sewn or loose cotton buff to avoid damaging the finished item. For intricate parts requiring a wheel with great flexibility, special processing wheels called string wheels and Tampico wheels are used.

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