An abrasive surface finishing machine, like a Timesaver or Costa is an integral piece of equipment in the metal fabrication shop. Not only can it smooth and grain surfaces but it can also deburr or round sharp edges making parts safer to handle. If your currently hand sanding multiple parts after plasma, oxy fuel, laser or waterjet cutting, then an Abrasive Surface Finishing Machine is for you! Choosing an abrasive finishing machine for metal fabricating involves several factors that you need to consider:
Define the Purpose for your Abrasive Finishing Machine
What are you trying to achieve on an abrasive finishing machine? Is it solely surface finishing sheet metals or do you have a need to pull the scale off of hot rolled steel plate? The end result AND the parts condition you are starting with, will determine many factors in the machine you need to correctly do the job. But these factors are most important:
Type of Finish: Determine the specific type of finishing you want to achieve, such as grinding, polishing, deburring, etc. Also do you need a grained finish or a brushed finish? This will help you choose the right type of machine with the correct number of grinding or brushing heads needed.
Material Type: Choose a machine that can handle the type of material you'll be working with, such as aluminum, stainless steel, hot or cold rolled steel (Note crossing aluminum dust with steel dust particles is unsafe and can lead to an explosion on these types of machines so be sure to discuss the options to safely operate an abrasive surface finishing machine should you need to mix materials.) Also take note when purchasing that their are machines made specifically for wood applications that are not suited for metal finishing operations. This can be especially important when buying a used machine, research the model to ensure you are getting a quality metal finishing machine on not something designed for much lighter applications.
Determine the Size Abrasive Finishing Machine Needed
Whether your parts are larger or not you may opt for a bigger (wider) machine as it can handle more parts at once allowing parts to be staggered across the feed belt. Wider Belts also wear slower as they are not subjected to constant stress over one small area.
Determine Whether You Need A Wet or Dry Type Abrasive Finishing Machine
In general a wet machine is much better although slightly more expensive. The belts last longer and the material stays cooler when undergoing finishing. Also a wet system eliminates the need for a dust collector and includes an integrated filtration system keeping dust out of the shop. If your parts cannot be subjected to moisture then a dry system is the only way to go. In general these machines are only about 10-15% apart in price (adding for the dust collector). Also a wet system is much safer when mixing aluminum in with steel or stainless steel parts.
In conclusion, taking the time to carefully consider these factors will help you choose the right abrasive finishing machine for your metal fabrication needs. At Southern Fabricating Machinery Sales we are abrasive finishing machinery experts and we can help you select the right system for your application and budget.