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Selecting The Right Tumbling Media Matters – Know What To Look For

Selecting The Right Tumbling Media Matters

Vibratory finishing equipment such as centrifugal barrel machines, automatic surface finishing machines, and Centrifugal disc finishing machines help to produce flawless surfaces of various items and components. The machines help to achieve the desired surface finish for both metallic and non-metallic surfaces previously machined. However, the quality of the surface finish depends not only on the type of machine but also on the type of Tumbling Media chosen for the purpose.

This article should help understand Tumbling Media’s role in surface finish to achieve the desired results when polishing, cleaning, and deburring metal or non-metallic parts.

The purpose of using Tumbling Media

The Tumbling Media used in any vibratory finishing equipment rubs against the parts to be cleaned, polished, or deburred. The friction generated helps to file off rough edges, clean parts, or polish the part’s surface. Therefore, proper selection of the Tumbling Media is critical for obtaining the desired surface finish. To aid the selection of tumbling media, you must understand the different types of media meant for different purposes, like performing polishing or deburring jobs.

Size and shape

From cylindrical to triangular shapes, tumbling media comes in various shapes and sizes, including balls and cones. The shape of the part meant for finishing influences the shape and size of the tumbling media that would be most appropriate. For example, suppose the part you are polishing has several holes or is perforated. In that case, the shape of the tumbling media should ensure it passes smoothly through the openings without getting stuck. In such cases, the size of the media should be 70% of the size of the holes of the part. The media size is directly proportional to the size of the workpiece, which means larger workpieces would need a bigger media size and vice versa.


Plastic, metal, ceramic, and some natural materials are suitable for Tumbling Media. The selection depends on the work piece’s material type and the desired surface finish.

  • Plastic tumbling media is suitable for polishing and deburring soft metals like aluminium or threaded parts. However, the media does not help to polish the surface or provide a high shine. Instead, it produces a matte finish.
  • Ceramic media is ideal for cutting hard materials like steel and for deep abrasion of plastic materials.
  • Stainless steel media is perfect for achieving high shine and a lot of deburring and burnishing metal parts. The pressure applied by stainless steel on the workpiece deburrs and polishes the surface, imparting hardness to the part. Stainless steel media is also effective for plastic and ceramic parts.
  • Porcelain media is best for giving a final polish to already deburred metal parts.
  • Organic media such as walnut shells, coconut shells, and corncobs are excellent for light deburring jobs.

Adding wet compounds to any Tumbling Media enhances the quality of cleaning or deburring.

Why don’t you check out certified service providers to get quality service? Inovatec Machinery is one such manufacturer of a wide range of mass-finishing machines.

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