Introduction

THE TERM finishing as used in this Section of the Handbook refers to a wide variety of processes used to generate surfaces with specific geometries, tolerances, and surface characteristics. The finishing methods described in the articles in this Section focus on material removal in one form or another to generate the desired surfaces. These surface generation methods are used usually to achieve certain functional or decorative characteristics of the surface. Other surface preparation processes such as cleaning, plating, coating, and surface modifications are covered in other sections in this Volume.

Most of the finishing methods described in this Section are carried out as the last operation in a series of industrial processes used to produce or manufacture parts or components. As an example, a cast product may need snagging or cutting off of gates and risers as the finishing operation before it is shipped for use or sent to the next component fabrication department. A forged shaft may be cut, machined, or otherwise finished before it becomes an industrial component for use in an assembly process. After heat treatment, bearing or gear components may be ground to desired tolerances and surface quality before they are assembled into finished bearings or a transmission, respectively. Computer parts such as microchips or magnetic heads may be ground, lapped, or polished before they are sent to assembly operations. Jet engine blades may have coolant holes drilled using electrical discharge machining or laser machining prior to their use in an assembly process to manufacture jet engines. The above are just a few of many applications in which finishing methods are used in a wide range of materials and industries. Thus, finishing methods play a key role in a number of engineering activities. It is beyond the scope of this Section to treat each process in detail, but the articles provide an overview of the various methods, their critical features, and the range of their application or use. This is supplemented by a large number of references that deal with each process in significant detail.

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