Not all metal parts are well-suited for conventional tumbling, vibratory finishing techniques or manual metal polishing. They may be too small, too complex or too delicate for those methods to be effectively utilized. The question that some may have, though, is when are parts too small for electropolishing and is there a method in which parts are processed in a bulk fashion?
Electropolishing Small Parts
Small parts can be electropolished, as long as you have a means of racking and making electrical contact. In some cases, parts are so small that they are placed on the rack with tweezers prior to submerging in the bath. When racking a part is not cost effective, Able has a bulk process that was developed for electropolishing high volume fasteners and small wire forms.
Electropolishing is used for many parts that are thin, soft or delicate and are not good candidates for conventional metal polishing methods. The electropolishing will not bend or distort the shape as with other mechanical processes.
Electropolishing Complex Parts
Complex parts like gears or splines have teeth, crevices, and holes that make manual metal polishing extremely difficult and time-consuming, if not, impossible. Electropolishing enables you to achieve a uniform polish on parts like this, ensuring that the entire surface area is subjected to the same amount of controlled material removal.
These are just a few of the ways that electropolishing your smaller metal parts can give you improved results over conventional metal polishing methods. While your own experiences depend on the part and your needs, this service is increasingly replacing other metal finishing methods for parts both large and small.