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Which Tumbling Media Is Best for Removing Rust?

Posted by Bill Wright on

Which Tumbling Media Is Best for Removing Rust?

Vibratory tumblers have many uses, from polishing parts to perfection to removing rust from unfinished and finished metal surfaces. If you have a rust problem on your metal surfaces, you can remove it and clean the piece in a vibratory tumbler. As you prepare your tumbler, you should choose the best tumbling media for removing rust. The following three options are all decent choices depending on your needs.

Plastic Media Removes Rust, But Can Degrade

Plastic is a versatile tumbling media that you can use to remove rust. Abrasive cone- or pyramid-shaped plastic media can efficiently remove rust from many metal objects. It’s even safe to use on threaded metal parts since the plastic won’t damage the threads. However, since metal is often tougher than plastic, the plastic media can degrade during this process. You may even discover plastic powder left over after the cleaning process. While you can use it, the quick degradation and extra cleanup of the plastic powder make it a backup option, not a first choice.

Steel Media Aggressively Removes Rust on Unfinished Metal

It sounds ironic to clean rusted metal with more metal. However, steel media is one of the more aggressive tumbling media options, which means it can efficiently remove tough rust. You can choose between steel grit or steel shot. Steel grit is the more aggressive of the two because it’s more angular, so it’s ideal for removing rust. However, the aggressive nature of this media could damage finished metal products or make them require a polishing process. Try to use steel media on unfinished metal to avoid this problem or extra step.

Ceramic Media Carefully Removes Rust

The best tumbling media for removing rust is ceramic media. The weight and shape of ceramic media make it the ideal choice for rust removal. You can choose between aggressive or medium ceramic media. Aggressive ceramic media has a more angular cut and works best on unfinished metal. Medium ceramic media has a cylindrical cut that can safely remove rust from finished metal.

While you can use plastic or steel media to remove rust, ceramic is best. If you need ceramic media or are looking for a deburring machine for sale, AccuBrass can help. We provide deburring machines as well as media options so that you can start de-rusting and performing any other deburring procedures your metal parts need.

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