Aluminium Fabrication: Choosing the Right Mechanical Finishing Method

Posted on: 4 January 2018

Mechanical finishes are beneficial in the enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your aluminium fabrications. In general, when aluminium products are manufactured, they have numerous blemishes and surface imperfections due to the machining processes. When a secondary finishing technique is employed, these problems are eliminated, creating a more refined look. You should also note that some of the flaws in aluminium fabrications can limit product functionality. In this case, the finishing work will ensure optimal performance of the final custom item. Here are the most advantageous mechanical finishing techniques to consider for your aluminium fabrication project.

Metal Grinding

Grinding is a mechanical finishing process designed to create a flat surface on metal fabrications. If your aluminium products have significant bumps, valleys and weld beads, this technique will ensure that the blemishes are removed. For instance, aluminium extrusions often have imperfections which can interfere with appeal and function. This method is ideal for preventing these detriments. In general, the grinding process is performed using a grinder with an abrasive rotating wheel. The machine will use attrition, friction and compression to improve the surface to the desired level. You should note that aluminium is a soft metal which melts fast. So, you should ask for specialty aluminium grinding services if you are interested in this finish.

Polishing and Buffing

Grinding does not create smooth or glossy surfaces after completion. If you are interested in having a flawless and shiny profile on your fabrications, you should think about buffing and polishing techniques for your projects. Like grinding, polishing uses a rotating wheel machine for the process. However, the wheel in polishing equipment is made of a soft cloth with some abrasive grains. The method will eliminate scratches and other minor flaws from the aluminium, ensuring that the surface becomes clean and smooth. Buffing is a process similar to polishing, but the cloth wheel used has minimal abrasive particles for perfect lustre, smoothness and reflectivity.

Abrasive Blasting

Abrasive blasting is a versatile mechanical finishing process for your custom aluminium fabrications. This technique can be used to remove surface imperfections and clean contaminants from a manufactured metal product. It can also be utilised in roughening a smooth aluminium surface. For instance, if you would like to paint your surfaces, abrasive blasting will texture the product, ensuring adherence of the coating. If you choose this finishing method, you should discuss the most suitable abrasive medium with your aluminium manufacturer. The chosen material will determine the final appearance of your custom metal products.