Heat Treated Tool Steel Polishing
Steel is often heat-treated for a variety of reasons. Heat treatment involves heating the metal to a specific temperature and then cooling it at a rate that provides the final properties you need. The process helps to improve strength, hardness, flexibility, corrosion/oxidation resistance, and the ability to deform.
Tool steel is a specific alloy of steel that are particularly well suited to make into tools. Tools often need to have high strength and limited ductility. The heat-treating process provides these properties and leaves the part with a dark color and some scale on the surface (see the part in back of the picture). These parts need to be cleaned and polished for the final desired look.
The heat treats discoloration and scale were removed using a vibratory or barrel tumbling process with Ceramic Media and the Kramco 1010 General Purpose Liquid Compound. This process usually takes an hour or two, depending on how heavy the scale is. This step leaves the part with a matte, tumbled finish.
Once the part is clean, a second polishing step is needed to get to the desired finish. In this case (part in front), a near mirror finish was required. The finish on this part was achieved using the Pegco™ GBW-3.9 Coarse Premium Treated Tumbling Media. This is a pre-treated tumbling media, used dry with no additives or compounds.