Electropolishing vs. Tumbling for Deburring Metal Parts | Able

Electropolishing vs. Tumbling for Deburring Metal Parts

July 10, 2013
Comparing Methods for Deburring Metal

When metal parts are stamped or machined, they may be left with ragged edges and burrs that impede their performance. Burrs on a sharp metal cutting implement, for example, may hinder its ability to cut smoothly. Burrs may also break off during use, posing hazards when metal tools are used in medical or food applications—broken-off flecks of metal could make their way into food or a medical patient.

While mass finishing methods like tumbling are sometimes used for deburring metal parts, more delicate, complex and lightweight materials cannot undergo that process without being compromised. Due to this, electropolishing has emerged as a popular alternative—this electrochemical process effectively eliminates burrs and ragged edges without compromising the overall integrity of a metal part.

Electropolishing Stainless Steel and More

Electropolishing stainless steel and other alloys is an effective way of eliminating burrs from the surface of a metal part. This is because electropolishing uses an electrochemical process to remove a uniform amount of surface material from metal parts—when enough material is removed, the burrs on the surface of the part are removed as well.

Part of what makes this process a popular choice is that it is more precise and predictable than conventional methods like tumbling, and less likely to compromise a delicate part. Thin, lightweight or intricate parts can be distorted, scratched or nicked by mass finishing deburring techniques—by electropolishing them instead, you provide the same deburring operation without causing the same collateral damage.

Deburring for a Variety of Parts

Electropolishing allows you to remove burrs from a range of fragile and elaborately shaped parts. For example, moving parts like drill bit assemblies must undergo deburring to prevent part malfunctions, while sharp instruments like stainless steel blades must have burrs removed to improve their ability to cut through materials.

These are just two examples of parts that require deburring, and are not suitable for tumbling or vibra-finishing. By electropolishing, you remove a uniform amount of surface metal, eliminate the burrs, and avoid bending, scratching or otherwise damaging the part.

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