Tumbling Media Composition Matters

Tumbling Media Composition Matters

tumbling media composition

Tumbling Media Composition Matters

A Media Composition Resource Guide

The composition of tumbling media plays an important role in your finishing process and determines whether the media is for cutting or finishing. Cutting media will contain abrasives within the composition while, finishing media will either contain no abrasive or very fine abrasive. The main materials used for tumbler media include ceramic, steel, plastic, urethane, or corn cobs.

Ceramic Tumbling Media

Ceramic media is typically made up of a combination of abrasive and clay. The curing time and oven temperatures determine the hardness of the ceramic. A softer ceramic will provide better cutting as the media wears away revealing fresh abrasive under the top layer. There are various cutting speed options available to meet specific finishing requirements.

Applications: Deburring, Deflashing, Burnishing, Polishing, Brightening, Radiusing

Available Shapes: angle cut cylinders, stars, cones, triangles, wedges, pyramids, and specialty shapes upon request.

ceramic tumbling media

Stainless Steel Tumbling Media

Steel media provides shape uniformity, short cycle times, and long-lasting durability. Often used in cosmetic finishing, steel tumbling media does not scratch or damage the parts, but provides a clean surface. Steel media does not cause wear to the machine lining, reducing maintenance costs.

Applications: Stress Relieving, Strengthening, Brightening, Preplate

Available Shapes: pins, ball cones, oval cones, diagonal cylinders, and specialty shapes upon request.

stainless steel tumbling media

Plastic Tumbling Media

Plastic media has a lower density than ceramic and is typically softer. The composition is made of abrasive, bonded with various types of plastic or resins. Plastic is commonly used in applications with softer metals or fragile parts. There are various cutting speed options available to meet specific finishing requirements.

Applications: Deburring, Deflashing, Surface Metal Removal, Fine Finishing, Radiusing

Available Shapes: angle cut cylinders, stars, cones, triangles, wedges, pyramids, and specialty shapes upon request.

Plastic tumbling Media

Urethane Dry Finishing Media

Urethane media eliminates the need for compound in the tumbling process. It has a long-life cycle and reduces many typical use costs. It also eliminates the messy residue often associated with plastic media formulations.

Applications: Deburring, Deflashing, Burnishing, Polishing, Brightening

Available Shapes: angle cut cylinders, stars, cones, triangles, wedges, pyramids, and specialty shapes upon request.

urethane tumbling media

Corn Cob Tumbling Media

Corn cob media is typically used to dry metal parts after tumbling or parts washing cycles. The starch helps absorb water, oil and grit. This reduces the chance for watermarks or stains on the parts. It can also be infused with various buffing and polishing compounds for enhanced finishes.

Applications: Deflashing, Burnishing, Polishing, Brightening

Available Shapes: crushed corn cobs, multiple sizes available

Corn Cob blasting Media

Selecting the Right Media Composition

The desired finishing process or final outcome is a large factor in determining the composition as some media types are more suitable for certain applications than others. When selecting your tumbling media composition, as well as shape/size, the part and desired outcome are major factors. The type of metal is a factor when selecting composition as softer metals need a specific blend for ceramic, as an example.

Process Testing

Testing your tumbling process is vital for selecting the right media. Send us your parts and our processing lab will determine the right media shape and type for your finishing application.

Why Tumbling Media Shape Matters

Why Tumbling Media Shape Matters

tumbling media shape

Why Tumbling Media Shape Matters

A Media Shape Resource Guide

Tumbling media comes in many sizes, compositions, and shapes. Each of these factors are a crucial decision within your finishing application. We’re going to breakdown the various shapes of tumbler media in this article. Here is a list of various shapes:

  • Spheres and Balls
  • Triangles
  • Pyramids
  • Pins
  • Arrowheads
  • Wedges
  • Ellipses
  • Nuggets
  • Cylinders
  • Quadrants
  • Cones
  • Ball Cones
  • Ovals
  • Stars
  • Four-pointed stars
  • Diamonds
  • Tetrahedrons
  • Random Shapes

Importance of Tumbler Media Shape

The various shapes of tumbler media all have different advantages for specific tumbling applications. The main items you need to consider when selecting a size are:

  • The ability for the media to cover the full surface area of the part being tumbled.
  • Media will not lodge in any holes or recesses.
  • Speed and smooth flow through the tumbler.
  • Allow for easy separation of media from the parts at the end of the cycle.

There are times when using a combination of media shapes is the best process for an application.

ceramic tumbling media
tumbling media

Triangle Media

Triangular tumbler media is ideal for harder to reach corners and slots on parts. The flat parts of the triangles are effective on straight edges while the edges provide coverage into the smaller areas. Triangular media consists of triangles, arrowheads, and angle-cut triangles, often used in cleaning and deburring applications.

Cone Media

Conical tumbling media is effective for entering holes and passageways on parts without lodging. Typically used in applications that require aggressive action, ball cones are often used for burnishing.

Sphere Media

Spherical tumbling media is ideal for blending and smoothing surfaces. The round shape creates good flow and movement through the tumbler.

Wedge Media

Wedge-cut tumbling media, or often referred to as V-cut cylinders, is a versatile shape that can be effective for many applications.

Cylinder Media

Cylindrical media is ideal for deburring holes and contours. The angled ends are effective at reaching into recesses on parts. Cylinders are also very efficient at removing rust from parts.

Oval Media

Oval tumbling media provides a larger surface-to-surface coverage than spheres, while still providing good flow and motion through the tumbler. Ovals are often used in barrel tumbling applications.

The composition of the media will have an affect on the available media shape options. Stainless steel media can’t be made into all of the same shapes as ceramic and plastic.

stainless steel tumbling media

Process Testing

Testing your tumbling process is vital for selecting the right media. Send us your parts and our processing lab will determine the right media shape and type for your finishing application.