It’s often thought that laser cutting or waterjet cutting represents the entire manufacturing process for metal components and parts that we design. However, in most cases, these parts require additional handling to complete, typically through a process known as machine finishing.
Through this process, we can prepare parts with a variety of different requirements and ensure they are perfectly finished and ready for use when they reach you. But what option is best? That depends on your needs, so let’s take a closer look at some of the most common machine finishing options.
Nearly all parts that we produce go through a deburring process first after emerging from the manufacturing cut. This process is necessary to clean the edges of a cut component, and removes the small irregularities in metal that may arise during the formation process. The small metal burrs on parts are a problem as they can cut hands or lead to an imperfect fit in a tight space, but can also be more of an issue if they come loose in a manufacturing or industrial setting, introducing unwanted debris that could damage components or taint manufactured goods. Deburring removes these imperfections and delivers a perfectly smooth and clean part to you.
Finishing is also used to give a decorative or refined look to parts or components. Directional finishing – also known as a brushed finish – leaves parts with a clean, consistent surface finish. This sanding-style finish creates a look that features consistent grit lines all oriented the same way – hence, the directional name. This is a common finish and can be done in differing levels of detail, from a rough finish that gives a part a more clean look or for commercially produced parts that will be used by consumers, such as handles, bathroom plumbing fixtures and other readily seen items.
Another common finishing option can prepare a produced component for eventual painting or treatment with another coating material. Metal surfaces are often not easy to paint, and without this process, uneven coating or poor bonding of paint to a surface is common. By using abrasive belts and/or brush heads to lightly wear the surface, this process can leave the part ready for painting or dipping. This intermediary process can also prepare a component for further microinch finishing work.
Edging and Edge Rounding
The edge rounding finishing process is used most commonly with components that have a circular shape, with this process helping to create a consistent and smooth radius around an edge. However, rounding can also be used to break the straight lines along the edge of a part, smoothing the corners of the edges far more than is done during the deburring process. This also makes it easier for parts to receive a consistent coating or paint application. Without a sharp edge, there is a reduced risk of uneven application of paint or other materials, which, in turn, helps protect the part from corrosion in the long term.
From Start to Finish, Turn to Custom Laser
Custom Laser’s team can handle all your metal manufacturing and fabrication needs, from initial design and cut through machine finishing. We offer a full range of laser cutting and metal forming services for our customers here in Western New York, as well as Ohio and Pennsylvania. Plus, with laser etching and marking services available in addition to metal finishing, our staff can finalize all components you need to your exact specifications. Find out how we can help with your next parts manufacturing job. Call us today at 716.434.8600.