Article Rich General How to Properly Finish Metal Work

How to Properly Finish Metal Work

The right finish for metal work depends on the end-use of the product, the customer’s preference, and cosmetic appeal.

Correctly finishing a metal surface will affect its performance, as different finishes are suitable for individual applications. Finishes affect durability. Some finishes can help the metal resist rusting or damage.

Quality metal finishing can make or break your product. If you’d like to know more about metal finishing technologies, keep reading.

1. Brushing Metal

To achieve a brushed metal finish, the piece is held against a belt. Brushing smooths out defects to leave a surface that is pristine and uniform. For custom metal works, there are different brushes to create specific grains on the final product. 

2. Polishing

Polishing produces a shine on the surface of the metal. It can either occur through physical buffing or by using chemicals. A polished metal surface has a mirror-like reflective quality that can apply to both new and used parts.

For polishing metalwork, there are different products available that will result in different metal finishes

Physical buff polishing creates a smooth, non-textured finish. Machine buffing isn’t ideal for fragile pieces, or intricate designs.  

3. Grinding

If you’re looking for perfect smoothness, consider grinding. The process can result in a variety of finishes and surface roughnesses and requires a skilled workman to achieve the desired result. There are three steps involved:

  • Grinding
  • Hand stoning
  • Diamond Polishing

Each step refines the surface finish and makes it smoother.  

4. Electroplating

A metallic coating is created on the surface of the metal by using chemicals and electricity. A layer of zinc, chrome, nickel, or cadmium is placed on the metal. Flaws on the metal surface aren’t smoothed out, but the coatings provide other benefits such as rust resistance and durability.

5. Powder Coating

Powder coatings deposit a layer of melted plastic powder onto the surface of the metal that is durable. Finishes can be glossy, matte, or textured. A textured powdered finish is good for hiding defects. Don’t use this method if you have sharp edges that need smoothing.

6. Sand-Blasting

If you have large, flat surfaces and require a matte finish, sand-blasting is the way to go. Softer metals are suitable for this finish as tiny particles are forces into the metal using blasters. 

7. Hot Blackening

Using heat, hot blackening enhances resistance to abrasion. Best suited to harder metals, this coating is ideal for hand tools, firearm components, and auto parts.

8. Lapping

For a surface with a high degree of flatness and refinement, lapping is done using a mild abrasive slurry and a soft iron tool. Lapping is done on small parts by hand. Lapping can fill in microscopic spots and flatten irregular surfaces. 

Choosing the Right Finishing Method for Your Metal Work

To decide which quality metal finishing technique to use for your metal work, look at the object’s base metal, final use, and the cost involved. Consider how much time you have and then decide on the method best suited to your project.

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