Simply put, the tumbling process is used to create a smooth and polished surface on manufactured parts, removing unwanted and unsightly defects and rough surfaces. Tumble polishing, also known as “mass tumbling,” is a highly effective process that can be performed on large quantities of metal and plastic pieces through the use of both automatic and semi-automatic machines within a relatively short period of time. Professional finishing companies value tumble finishing, because of the many advantages of mechanical surface preparation.

About the Tumbling Process:

Precision Finishes. Depending on the size and type of pieces worked on, the tumble finishing process can be completed in a short amount of time, ranging from a few minutes to a few hours. Much faster than more traditional technologies, the tumble process provides a consistent and repeatable production finish.

Simple Deburring. The machines used in the tumble deburring process can be a precise method to deburr parts, eliminate sharp edges, clean up drill holes, or improve the overall surface roughness.

Cost Efficient Finishing. Historically, machines that would perform the smoothing and polishing of metal and plastic items were complex, and therefore costly to use. Today, tumble finishing is an affordable and efficient process.

Mass Finishing Capabilities. Many of the machines that perform the tumbling process are capable of servicing large quantities of pieces at a time, as well as quantities of very small items. This ultimately saves a great deal of time and money.

Because of the unique characteristics of each part to be finished, different methods of tumble finishing are used to provide the highest quality end result. The most common types of tumble finishing are: High Energy Tumbling and Vibratory Tumbling.

Vibratory Tumbling

Vibratory tumbling is effective for creating smooth and polished surfaces on metal and plastic parts. For decades, this form of tumble finishing has been trusted by finishing companies to provide incredibly smooth surfaces on even the most fragile metal and plastic parts.

Vibratory tumbling works by combining the energy from abrasive medias and water in a machine called a vibratory tumbler. This machine creates fast vibrations to promote powerful collisions between the parts, water, and abrasive tumbling medias. Vibratory tumbling is a preferred method of finishing, with vibratory tumblers available in both small and large sizes.

High Energy Tumbling

Similar to the process used in vibratory tumbling, centrifugal barrel finishing, or high energy tumbling, utilizes the combination of water and abrasive medias to create extremely smooth surfaces. Faster than vibratory tumbling, high energy tumbling is typically preferred when time is limited. The process of high energy tumbling requires sealed barrels to be filled with the parts to be finished, water, and an abrasive tumbling media. These barrels are then placed on a carousel that creates centrifugal force by spinning in one direction while pushing the barrels in the opposite direction. Also like the vibratory tumbler, high energy tumbling machines come in both small and large sizes. The range of sizes ensures batches of larger quantities can be serviced efficiently.

Comparing Vibratory and High Energy Tumbling

Determining which method to use between vibratory tumbling and high energy tumbling comes down to a few factors. First and foremost, time is a major factor. In general, high energy tumbling requires a longer period of time to complete the job. This is because the vibratory tumbler design is most compatible with automation. Automated processes, as opposed to those that require human participation, tend to be more efficient and cost-effective. Another factor to keep in mind is complexity. The machines required for the vibratory tumble deburring process tend to be more complicated, thus these machines can be more expensive in some cases.

Ultimately, both vibratory tumbling and high energy tumbling are highly effective in creating smooth, durable, and polished finishes that will successfully extend the lifespan of metal and plastic parts.

ISO Finishing Tumble Finishing Services for Precision Manufacturing

ISO Finishing specializes in vibratory tumbling, high energy tumbling, and micro-precision surface improvement. Through our innovative finishing solutions and industry-leading delivery times, ISO Finishing has become the go-to finishing resource for Fortune 500 manufacturers to small business owners alike. Serving industry leaders in additive manufacturing, aerospace/aviation, defense/military, dental, firearm, injection molding, medical, OEM, and performance motorsport markets. ISO Finishing is known for quality metal finishing expertise on titanium, aluminum, stainless steel, carbon steel, brass, and copper. We also have the proven ability to offer customized finishes on plastic, rubber, silicone, and ceramic parts. ISO Finishing is committed to providing unsurpassed customer satisfaction by maintaining the highest quality finishing solutions.

ISO Finishing works on products made of all types of materials. Contact us today at 1-844-623-7998 for creating surface perfection of your mechanical finishing services.

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