Finishing of Steels

Of the many different processes used for finishing, some simply clean contaminants from surfaces. Others remove or form the surface material to produce the desired results. The finishing processes can be broadly classified into mechanical, thermal, and electrochemical methods, but some combine several methods. Each of these finishing categories will be briefly described below. The reader should also refer to the article "Classification and Selection of Finishing Processes" for additional information. Table 8 compares various finishing methods used for burr removal.

Table 8 Advantages and limitations of various finishing processes


Advantages and typical applications

Possible limitations

Abrasive flow

Removes hard-to-reach burrs. Polishes surfaces

Blind features not deburred

Abrasive blasting

Good for hard metals

Produces matte finish. Dust control required. Burr must be accessible

Barrel tumbling

Low cost. Suitable for all materials

Edges must be exposed. Slow and not effective for interior surfaces and edges

Brushing and buffing

All accessible burrs and edges. Polishes surfaces

Centrifugal barrel

Fast process. Suitable for all materials. Residual compressive stresses


Removes hard-to-reach burrs

Possible stray etching. Limited to conductive metals


Good for thin burrs. Polishes surfaces

Possible pitting and streaking

Hand deburring

For hard-to-reach areas and small volume requirements.

Usually expensive and inconsistent. Burrs must be accessible

Spindle finishing

Fast process. For uniform shapes

Fixturing needed

Thermal energy

For thin burrs. Deburrs blind features

Covers part with oxide film. Burr area must be free of oil and water


Versatile, economical process. Many deburring and finishing applications

Not usually suitable for removing internal burrs in intersecting holes

Source: Ref 3

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