Cleaning, polishing, smoothing and deburring of parts are all referred to as finishing. The primary types of machines used in the finishing process are the tumbling barrel machines and the vibratory machines. Finishing media are materials that are used with the parts to aid in the process of finishing. Finishing compounds also assist in the finishing process. One or all of the finishing media, water and finishing compounds are thrown together with the parts to be finished into a finishing system. The machines cause a sliding or tumbling action to take place between the parts or between the parts and the finishing media which in turn leads to cleaning, polishing and smoothing of the part surfaces.
Finishing compounds could be wet or dry. Wet compounds are used in the form of paste or with water in wet finishing processes while dry compounds are used in the form of powder in a dry finishing process. These compounds are formulated with specific properties for use in tumbling barrels or vibratory systems. The compounds that are specifically made for vibratory machines are called vibratory compound. A vibratory machine is typically used for thorough cleaning and deburring of delicate parts or parts with hard to reach recesses like bores. They are also used on large surfaces. Vibratory compounds along with selected finishing media are added on to the vibratory machine in which parts have been placed for mass finishing. The rubbing action causes abrasive results on the parts effectively cleaning them. The vibratory compounds have suspension properties that ensure the abrasive action happens continuously by keeping the debris that arises, from depositing back on the parts.
Plastic deburring media are synthetic contraptions that are made into pre formed shapes; they are referred to as tumbling stones sometimes. The various shapes include cones, cylinders, pins, triangles, pyramids, wedges etc. Each of these shapes comes in handy depending on the deburring requirement on hand. For instance, cylindrical plastic deburring media might be recommended for cleaning long tube parts. Cones are valuable on parts containing holes while triangles are good on flat surfaces and corners. A combination of shapes can be used too, for complex requirements. Compared to ceramic media, plastic media are less aggressive though they are able to produce better finish on surfaces. As they are lighter than ceramics, they are ideal for use on parts that are apt to break with ceramic media.
Plastic deburring media is very effective for metal removal, polishing, cutting of parts from runners and pre-painted finishing. They are used for aluminum and brass that are soft metals and are helpful in preventing the broken burrs from lodging in holes in the parts. They can be safely used on parts with threads as the threads are left untouched by them. Parts to be anodized can be finished with plastic deburring media to ensure an efficient anodizing. They are useful to provide a smooth but dull finish.