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4 Types of Vibratory Finishing Media

Posted by Bill Wright on

vibratory deburring machine

Do you like the touch and feel of a smooth finished metallic product without sharp edges or burrs? Then you need a vibratory finishing machine and an ideal media to smooth sharp edges, grind down burrs, and give your items a polished and shiny finish. You can use the vibratory finishing process in the finishing of small, mass-produced work pieces. This post reviews the different types of media used in the finishing process and why they're preferable.

What's a Tumbling or Finishing Media?

A finishing media is any pellet material that is put into a vibratory tumbler alongside your manufactured products. This media to act as an abrasive, able to smooth out the products' surfaces. As the vibratory finishing machine vibrates, the media rubs against your products and de-scales, deburrs, brightens, and cleans your work pieces in a dry or wet process. There are different types of finishing media, but selecting the ideal media for a given application improves the quality of your finished products.

What are the different types of finishing media?

Plastic Finishing Media

Plastic media often has a polyester base. But some of plastic media pellets can be formaldehyde or urea-based. Pellet media made from plastic is ideal for finishing soft metals such as zinc, brass, and aluminum.

Plastic media is best for metal polishing, metal removal, and pre-plated and pre-painted finish. You can mix these pellets with abrasives before using them in the finishing process. Conventional abrasives used include zirconium, aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, and silica.

Plastic media is also preferred when dealing with parts that need anodizing or those with stringy material. The media prevents the rolling of burr materials into holes on products with fibrous materials. This media is an optimal choice when you need a smooth finish. But it gives little shine to your products.

Ceramic Finishing Media

Ceramic media, which also includes porcelain, is often used in polishing and grinding hard metals, which include titanium and stainless steel. This high-density porcelain and plastic media make up 80% to 90% of the media used in finishing manufactured products. You can use porcelain pellets for fine grinding, which can give your products a glossy finish. Ceramic is often durable and tough.

Steel Finishing Media

Steel vibratory finishing media contains stainless steel and hardened carbon. Steel finishing material works well for ball burnishing, steel deburring, and polishing of stainless steel.

Organic Finishing Media

Organic finishing media consists of corn cobs, coconut shells, and walnut shells. This kind of media is often used to dry finished parts that have passed through abrasive media in the vibratory finishing machine. When combined with polishing paste, this type of media also gives a glossy finish to aluminum, stainless steel, and other metals.

Organic media is light-weight and perfect for making a finishing shine on your products. There are different kinds of grades of natural media, which include course, medium, fine, and blended grades.

What Should You Consider When Selecting Media For Your Vibratory Finishing Machine?

There are many considerations when choosing the ideal kind of media for your vibratory finishing machines. The first kind of concern is the type of metal being utilized. Some forms of media are suitable for soft metals, while others are perfect for hardened metals.

The size of media pellets should also factor into this decision. For instance, media with small pellets gives a finer finish than media with large pellets. But the finishing process takes longer when using fine media in finishing tools. You'll need to weigh your options and choose the best finishing media for your given application.


Manufactured products make up 50% of American exports. The manufacturing industry contributes to a significant part of the gross domestic product (GDP) in America. The manufacturing industry contributed $2.33 trillion to the American GDP in 2018. Based on information derived from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, this contribution to the GDP made up 11.6% of the American economic output.

This broad sector of the economy needs many metallic products. This trend implies that there is a high demand for vibratory deburring machines. If you're in the industry and you have the perfect vibratory finishing machine, then you should go ahead and use these insightful tips to buy your deburring machine the ideal media to get good product finishes.

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