What Is Metal Finishing?

What Is Metal Finishing?

Metal finishing is the process of changing the surface of an object while also improving its durability and appearance. There are many different types of metal finishing that exist and include techniques such as, electroplating, electroless plating, anodizing, HVOF, vapor deposition, nitriding, and more! Metal finishing applications can also be categorized in terms of residential use, industrial use, commercial use, and military use. Metal finishing is used to coat any metal such as steel, aluminum, non-metallic surfaces, and titanium.

One of the main reasons other than for appearance purposes, that metal finishing is used is to help increase the strength and durability of an object while also improving overall wear & tear, and offering corrosion resistance. Depending on the field it is used in metal finishing can be utilized to coat engine parts, machinery in manufacturing plants, and even faucets and fixtures throughout your home.

In our last article, we discussed one of the most common forms of metal finishing, electroplating. Another common metal finishing technique utilized by many is electroless plating. Although it is very similar to that of electroplating it differs in the fact that it involves liquid baths & ions. It also offers a much slower deposition rate than that of electroplating. Electroless plating as a type of metal finishing is often used on such metals as copper and nickel. 

The 5 Most Common Types of Metal Finishing

Now that we have discussed different processes and just what exactly metal finishing entails it is important to also acknowledge the 5 most common types of metal finishing. While the type of finish you choose greatly depends on the metal you are using, the most common finishes are:

Brushed: Creates a matte-like finish that looks as though it has been applied by a brush, leaving brush strokes. 

Satin: Similar to a brushed finish, but generally promotes a smooth even finish with no brush strokes 

Polished: This offers a reflective mirror-like finish  

Antiqued: Made to look aged and weathered, this finish creates a surface roughness by darkening and adding tarnish

Hammered: Adds surface texture to the piece at hand by incorporating an abundance of small indents into the surface of the object.