Mechanical Finishes for Aluminum Extrusions: What are the Options?

These days, more and more designers are incorporating aluminum extrusions into their designs as a replacement for steel. Extrusions are used in cars, architectural projects, solar panels, and more. And there are many different finishing options available for extrusions. Among them are mechanical finishes.

So, let’s talk about the different types of mechanical finishes for aluminum extrusions.

What Types of Mechanical Finishes are Available for Aluminum Extrusions?

Mechanical finishes are used to improve the appearance of aluminum. And it is common for aluminum profiles to be anodized after mechanical finishes are applied.

Abrasive Blasting

Abrasive blasting can be used to smoothen a rough surface or roughen a smooth surface. And it can also be used to shape the surface or remove surface contaminants.

To do this, the manufacturer uses pressurized fluid to propel a specific type of media at it. There are different types of media that can be used, including sand, metal shot, baking soda, and glass beads.

Grinding

Surface grinding creates a flat surface on your aluminum extrusions. A rotating abrasive wheel removes material from the extrusion until the desired tolerance is reached.

It is less common to grind aluminum than it is to grind steel. Aluminum tends to clog the cutting wheel because it melts more easily. But, special techniques are used to prevent this.

Polishing

Polishing aluminum gives profiles a smooth and shiny surface. After going through the profile polishing machine, they come out with a significant specular reflection.

A soft cloth charged with abrasive grains is run over the extrusions to create this effect.

Buffing

The process of buffing helps to smoothen the surface of the aluminum. It is similar to polishing. But, it uses less abrasive grains.

Mass Finishing

Mass finishing processes can be used to smooth and polish a rough surface. Tumbling is a process where parts are placed into a rotating barrel.

Media inside the barrel shifts around with the aluminum extrusions for a period of time, and this is how the finish is created.

Learn About Other Finish Types

For more information about non-mechanical finishes, take a look at these 6 types of aluminum finishes.

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