Glossary of Finishing Media Terms

This glossary provides general definitions of manufacturing and finishing terms used throughout our website. It is important to understand that results of a finishing process (ex. deburring) are dependent on both the composition of the part being finished and the finishing factors. Such factors include: the size, shape, and composition of vibratory tumbling media, the type of finishing equipment, and the chemical solution used during the finishing process.

Aluminum Oxide: The most common abrasive used in ceramic media.  It is a tough, hard material (Mohs hardness 9) with high strength, excellent wear and corrosion resistance and good thermal conductivity.

Attrition Rate: The amount of media wear in a specified period of time.  It is dependent on the media size, shape, and abrasive content.

Brightening: To increase luster or reflectivity.

Burnishing: Smoothing out a metal surface to increase the brightness or reflectivity.

Burr: A jagged edge or a ridge left on an object, usually caused by machine cutting, stamping or casting during the manufacture of the object.

Compound: A soap or cleaner added to the water in finishing operations providing rust inhibiting, media and part cleanliness, and a mechanism to remove effluents from the equipment.

Cut to Wear Ratio: A standard measurement of metal removal compared to media attrition.

Deburring: Removing or reducing burrs from a part using rotational tumbling caused by the media moving over the part– the action of essentially filing down the rough edges.

Deflashing: Removing flash from a through a tumbling motion – the action of essentially filing down the rough edges.

Die: A customized tool through which ceramic material is extruded into different sizes and shapes depending on the size and shape of the opening.

Driving Loose Abrasives: The process of using large ceramic media to force loose abrasive against a part being deburred.

Efficiency: Maximization of media wear and metal loss for any given application.

Fast Cut: An aggressive media, typically with a high concentration of abrasive.

Fine Finishing: Utilizing a media with low abrasive content for refined surface enhancement.

Flash: A jagged edge or excess material sticking out from a pressed, molded, or cast part.

High Density: Products which have a density of 120 lbs./cu.ft.)

High Energy Finishing Equipment: Equipment using centrifugal force to create rapid deburring action.

Medium Cut: A product featuring less abrasive and longer life than fast cut products.

Mild Cut:  A product capable of minimal metal removal and fine surface finishes.

Non-Abrasive: Media with no metal cutting ability, used for final surface improvement.

Pre-plate Finish: Reducing surface roughness in preparation for various plating processes such as chrome, nickel, and copper.

Polishing: Using a tumbling motion to smooth out a metal surface to increase the brightness or reflectivity.

Radiusing: The act of removing the sharpness on a machined part to engineering specifications.

Resin: The binding agent used in plastic media.

Shapes: angle cut cylinders, angle cut triangles, angle cut stars, balls, ball cones, barrels, cones, cylindrical cones, diagonals, oval balls, pyramids, round top cones, stars, straight cut triangles, taper top cones, ellipses, and wedges.

Silicon Carbide: An abrasive used in media to finish parts that are brazed or welded. Silicon carbide is an extremely hard material (Mohs hardness 9.25), is chemically inert and does not melt.

Strengthening: The act of utilizing tumbling action to produce compressive stress on the surface of the part which strengthens the part and extends the life of the part.

Stress Relieving: Using a tumbling action to remove stress concentrations in primarily in welded products.

Contact Information

Washington Mills Ceramics Corporation
165 King Street
Sun Prairie, WI 53590

Toll Free:
608-837-5155 (direct)