In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some basics on the metal superfinishing process. One of two common processes for metal and steel finishing involving aesthetic surface needs and limitation of heat and friction, along with another known as tumble finishing, superfinishing is common in many industries where public view of the metal in question is common.
At Wasatch Steel, we’re happy to discuss common finishing processes and numerous other characteristics of any of our steel products – in fact, we offer several steel services of our own to help you obtain the precise parts you require. What are some of the potential downsides of metal superfinishing, and why is tumble finishing often used for steel products in particular? Here’s a primer to help you choose between the two if needed.
The most prominent downside of superfinishing is how long it takes to carry out. The process itself doesn’t necessarily take forever, but this adds another step to the finishing process that’s already fairly significant to many metals. This addition can come with major costs due to both the time and equipment needed for this job.
In addition, superfinishing does not create a mirror-like like other forms of polishing do. Rather, it creates a cross-hatching aesthetic that, while pleasing in many circumstances, isn’t ideal for all applications.
For many forms of steel, including stainless steel, the tumble finishing process is more commonly used than superfinishing. Also called mass tumbling, this is a process that allows for the polishing of multiple small metal parts simultaneously.
Tumble finishing uses multiple machines at once, with a couple different types (more on this below). It’s often ideal for those who want that mirror-like smoothness in their part, particularly for public-facing steel applications.
There are two primary types of tumble finishing generally used for metals:
For more on superfinishing and tumble finishing for your steel or other metals, or to learn about any of our steel products, speak to the staff at Wasatch Steel today.