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Timesaver Sanding and Sheet Metal Finishing


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Burr removal and surface preparation are important considerations when choosing a sheet metal fabricator.

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Basic explanation - burr and deburr:

 Burrs are introduced during the sheet metal fabrication process. Sharp edges are produced wherever a cutting tool has contacted the sheet metal and cut or removed material. This tool contact edge is very sharp and  referred to as a burr. These burrs must be removed before the part is safe to handle. A hand file, belt sander, straight line surface sanding and vibratory tumbling are all viable methods of burr removal.

 The main target of burr removal is the burr itself however processes like vibratory tumbling and straight-line sanding are different they process the whole part during the burr removal and leave behind a surface finish on the entire part while at the same time removing burrs.  

 Timesaver sanding is a burr removal process that works like this. A wide horizontal conveyor belt rotates slowly under a perpendicular positioned, fast moving, wide sanding belt. Sheet metal is placed on the conveyor belt and is carried under the fast moving sanding belt which sands one side of the sheet metal. The sanding action removes burrs and leaves behind a straight line surface finish. This is a very fast efficient process. See the animation above for visual details.

 Vibratory Tumbling is a process of abrasive contact machining. An abrasive ceramic shape called media is placed into the vibratory bowl. The parts with sharp burrs are placed into the vibratory bowl along with the ceramic media. The vibratory is turned on and the media and parts begin to vibrate and tumble in a circular fluid motion. This vibrating abrasive action smooths away sharp edges making the part safe to handle. The vibratory will not change part dimensions or remove large burrs, it only wares away sharp edges. If there are any large protruding burrs they should be targeted for removal before vibratory tumbling begins. This is a slow process the vibratory burr removal action is thorough but gentle.

 The hand file and 1 inch belt sander are efficient at targeted burr removal, specifically on part edges. To deburr with a hand file is slow and cumbersome while the 1 inch belt sander is fast and efficient, each one has its special time and place and should not be overlooked.


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Last Update, December 2011
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