Media Size & Shape Is Key
One key consideration in choosing the size and shape of the media you are going to use in your metal finishing process is whether or not it will lodge in the part you are finishing. Tumbling parts in a vibratory machine can reduce the time it takes to finish. The last thing you want to do with the time you saved is pick media from your part after it comes out of the tumbling machine.
What to Consider
The idea when choosing media is to look carefully at the part you are going to tumble and analyze if there are any places where the media will lodge. The obvious places are holes, cavities & indentations. Measure them and choose a media that is larger and won’t fit into the area or perhaps smaller and will go through or float freely inside the space. Seems fairly straight forward and sometimes it is but there can be added factors to consider.
If you go with a media that is larger than the holes or negative space you must consider that the media is constantly breaking down as it is being used. The media will retain it’s shape but reduce in size. Anticipating this will help you get the maximum use of your media before having to replace it due to lodging issues. Also sometimes fairly large pieces you did not think would lodge find the perfect way to fit into a space.
When going with a smaller media that will flow freely through or inside of the potential areas of lodging you should consider how the pieces fit together. Sometimes multiple pieces will fall together in such a way as to cram themselves and stick into a space you thought it would move freely through.
Not As Hard As It Sounds
So now that we have told you all of the possible problems we want you to know this is really not as bad as it sounds. Most of the time manufacturers have little or no trouble finding media that works well. Usually finding the right media is not too difficult and most people have great success with no issues. If you have a difficult part that is having lodging issues give your supplier a call and see if they can advise.
We would love to hear from you about this subject. What issues and solutions have you encountered. What tips do you have?