The “Dos” and “Don’ts” of Stainless-Steel Polishing and Finishing
Here at Diamond Brite Metals, we see a wide variety of inquiries that touch almost every end use application. From producing highly specialized mirror #8 finishes on large structural beams for architectural purposes to polishing the inside diameter or “ID” of large diameter pipe and tubes for increased flow thru rate for pharmaceutical applications to finishing the inside of heat exchangers for petrochemical plants, polishing and finishing has almost unlimited applications. Nonetheless, our sales and operations team still see the same variety of issues arising whether eighty feet of 11/4 Sch 40 is headed for a local fabricator or twenty thousand feet of 4x4 Square Tube is headed to a major, metropolitan construction site. This blog post will highlight the common issues that arise that in stainless steel architectural and commercial polishing. Our readers should use this blog as a sort of checklist when deciding on placing an order.
DO: Specify the Requested Finish. At Diamond Brite Metals, we preach communication from the initial quotation stage to avoid unnecessary and costly delays later in a project’s lifecycle. Customers should ensure that they understand exactly the surface finish desired by their customer and should clarify any ambiguities.
DON’T: Consider polishing only as the last step of the process. Although subcontracting for polishing may be one of the last processes before fabrication, polishing as an application should be considered even in the design phase. This ensures that the proper material is ordered and the proper design is selected.
DO: Polish prior to fabrication. Polishing is a mechanical process. Surface quality and finish consistency are easier to achieve and to ensure when raw material is mechanically polished. Polishing by hand or hand work is certainly necessary to clean or touch up weld lines and other imperfections caused by the fabrication process but all raw material should be polished mechanically. This will help decrease both costs and lead time while ensuring quality.
DON’T: Believe polishing can solve all surface imperfections. Polishing can remove almost all surface imperfections without changing tolerance however there are times when Diamond Brite Metals receives so-called “bad material,” which cannot be salvaged even through polishing. Pronounced or severely raised weld lines and deep pitting cannot removed without changing the tolerance.
DO: Remember that #8 mirror finishes are not appropriate for all aesthetic applications. The #8 mirror finish is beautiful; however, the finish is difficult to maintain after fabrication especially when the fabricated piece is in a highly trafficked area. Any accidental scratch, bump, or contact will ruin the #8 finish and the high reflectivity surrounding the scratch will only accentuate it.
At Diamond Brite Metals, we not only provide a superior polishing and finish service, but we also pride ourselves on being authoritative resources on all matters polishing. We welcome all architectural and commercial polishing inquiries. To submit an RFQ, please contact Sales@Diamondbritemetals.com and one of our trained sales staff will reach out to discuss your quote or project. For architectural inquiries, please contact Colton Karpus at Ckarpus@diamondbritemetals.com.