At NEST, we understand that the finish and appearance of a part is important. A great-looking complete part says much about the quality of the part. One reason to use stainless steel as a material is because of its ability to be polished to a high gloss or mirror finish. Buffing and polishing are some of the most common ways to achieve this.
A smooth and uniform surface can be applied to the outer diameter with the use of fine abrasives and buffing compounds. Buffing operations can produce incredibly smooth, polished surface finishes on tubing products and other assemblies. These processes are relatively low cost, but can improve performance of the completed part immensely.
Electropolishing is used not only to polish stainless steel but also to deburr, clean and passivate. It can be used as s way of polishing more complex parts with areas that are typically hard to process using alternative methods.
Electropolishing is completed by submerging the parts in a bath and allowing the fluid to flow inside and outside of most parts to dissolve any imperfections. This helps to create a smooth uniform surface finish over the entire part. This allows for more parts to be processed at the same time, which can lead to shorter turnaround times for both prototype and production quantities.
Parts that have been electropolished generally have a brighter, shinier appearance than parts that have not been processed this way. This process is acceptable for parts requiring cosmetic finishes.
For an improved surface finish only on the outer diameter of the part, buffing can often achieve similar results and can be more cost-effective depending on the application.