Which Metal Finish Works Best for Your Fabricated Parts?

Is your product going to be able to withstand the environment you're putting it in?

Designing the parts for your equipment is a time-consuming process. You know what you want the finished product to look like, but there are so many fine details that go into making it happen. 

You don't want your efforts to be wasted because you chose the wrong finish and your part couldn't survive the conditions it was used in. 

Learn how to select the right finish for your metal parts and avoid rust and damage while keeping your assemblies visually appealing.

Which Metal Finish Works Best?

The type of material and finish you choose when designing your products and parts could be detrimental to the overall quality of your finished project. Durability could be sacrificed, and you may be wasting your hard-earned cash on lesser quality materials.

What Finish Should You Choose

Deciding on the right finish for your projects can rely on several different factors. You need to consider the needs and requirements of the finished project so you can select the perfect materials and finish. 

Available Finishes

Explore some of the different finishes you have to choose from below.

Anodizing and Sealing: A chemical reaction is used to harden the surface. This protects against oxidation from solvents and water.

Brushed MetalCreates a uniform, parallel grain surface texture. An abrasive belt or wire brush is used. This finish helps smooth out a product’s exterior and remove imperfections.

Buff Polishing: Creates a smooth, non-textured finish with a high, glossy sheen. This is achieved via a machine that uses a cloth wheel to buff the metal. This process is often used for decorative products.

Hot Blackening: A thin layer of black oxide is spread across the surface. This provides a matte black finish. Resistance to abrasion is increased. Most commonly used for automotive parts, tools, and firearms.

Metal Grinding: Grinding machines are used to smooth the surface of copper, gold, platinum, and silver, or metal rods.

Metal Plating: A chemical bath is used to coat or alter the surface with another metal. This can improve the product’s durability, corrosion resistance, surface friction, and appearance. Not suited for smoothing out defects.

Metal Vibratory Finishing: Machines are used for deburring products and removing the sharp edges. The material is placed inside a barrel with abrasive pellets and substrates. Tumbling vibration creates a uniform random texture.

Painting: There is a wide variety of matte or glossy options, and it is a low-cost choice. This is an excellent finish for several projects.

Powder Coating: This process applies a finish that is similar to paint, but more durable. A dry plastic powder is melted onto the metal. It can produce a textured, matte, or glossy coating. It’s useful in removing surface defects.

Sand BlastingSand, steel shots, metal pellets, or other abrasive materials are forced into the substrate at a high speed. This process results in a smooth, clean texture that is great for soft metals.

Why You Should Add a Finish to Your Product or Part

Applying a finish to your metal products and parts can increase its overall quality, durability, decorative appeal, and more. Choosing the perfect finish is an important decision. 

Reasons to Add a Finish

  • Increased resistance to electricity.
  • Increased resistance to chemicals.
  • Increased resistance to tarnishing.
  • Better durability.
  • Greater visual appeal.

Characteristics of Different Metals

Several types of metals are available for fabrication. Each one has it’s pros or cons and which one you choose could make or break the quality of your finished product. You should think about what the requirements of your product before you decide on a material to use. Consider consulting an experienced manufacturer to help you make this crucial decision.

Basic Metals Used for Fabrication

Below are some characteristics of the basic types of metals.

Aluminum: Low cost, light-weight, durable, conducts heat and electricity, safer on the environment. (Related Reading: 8 Reasons to Choose Aluminum Fabrication)

Iron: Soft metal and is a good conductor of heat and electricity.

Steel: High tensile strength and load-carrying capacity.

Stainless Steel: Corrosion-resistant, non-porous, and has a high strength-to-weight ratio.

Gold: Soft metal and is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity.

Silver: Soft, malleable, and has the highest thermal and electrical conductivity of all metals.

Copper: Highly malleable and conducts electricity.

Magnesium: Low density, durable metal that tarnishes in air to form a thin oxide coating.

Consult Our Experts

Producing a high-quality product starts with selecting the perfect material for the job. Our experienced staff can help you determine the right material for your projects and answer any questions you might have. We can help you design your project, handle your fabrication needs, and ship the products to one of our hand-picked partners for finishing.

Contact us today and schedule a meeting to discuss your project needs.