Choosing the proper tumbling media (vibratory tumbling or barrel tumbling) for any deburring, deflashing or polishing application requires balancing the aggressiveness of the operation with the surface finish specifications. As long as a rough, tumbled appearance is acceptable a more aggressive media can be used to remove burrs and ‘smooth’ a surface resulting in a shorter cycle time . If the surface finish is important (i.e., for anodizing or thin-coat plating), a less aggressive media and longer cycle time is necessary. Often a multi-step process is used with progressively less aggressive media to achieve a deburred and smooth part or even polished part.
Generally, Ceramic Media are used on harder metals like steel or titanium. Plastic or Synthetic Media are better for softer metals like aluminum, brass and copper. Within each type of media, a variety of formulations (or bonds) are available from ultra aggressive to general purpose to polishing.