Why You Should Avoid Media Glazing to Improve Finishing

avoid media glazing

Why You Should Avoid Media Glazing to Improve Finishing

July 25, 2022

Media is an essential part of the finishing process, and ceramic, plastic and sand media are all effective options for cleaning, burnishing, polishing and brightening surfaces. Over time, however, glazing can cause your media’s effectiveness to decrease, leaving you with imprecise and inconsistent finishing results. Here, we examine what media glazing is, what causes it and how to prevent it for quality finishes every time.

What Is Media Glazing?

When you use media to finish a product, the media strikes the surface of the workpiece to remove rust, loosen dirt and smooth the surface. Finishing professionals will typically use a tumbling machine or abrasive blasting tips for this process. Media glazing occurs when fine metal particles and other debris from the workpieces begin to coat the media itself.

Because media works through abrasion, glazing removes its surface properties and makes it ineffective. Instead of creating a clean and consistent finish, the glazed media leaves an inconsistent burnishing effect on the workpiece. What’s more, it can pass the dirt and metal particles from its surface to that of the workpiece.

What Causes Glazing?

Although numerous factors lead to glazing, the most common ones involve:

  • Compounds: Using a compound concentration that’s too low can prevent the media from getting fully clean in between workloads. Using the wrong type of compound can also lead to glazing.
  • Water flow: An adequate water flow flushes metal particles and other debris from the tumbling machine. A low water flow prevents contaminants from leaving the system, allowing them to coat the media.
  • Ratios: A high part-to-media ratio can cause media glazing, especially when finishing workpieces with excess grease and oils.
  • Media size: Media that’s too small can clog your machine’s drain and prevent the process water from leaving the system. The dirty water then coats the media.

How to Prevent Glazing

You can prevent glazing by carefully preparing your tumbling machine before each use. Ensure you perform the following:

  • Use the proper compound with the correct media and material.
  • Inject the right concentration of compound into your system before use.
  • Ensure the drains are clear to prevent clogging and process water retention.
  • Maintain an adequate water flow to flush out sediment and ensure correct cycling.
  • Check the size of your media and refresh it as it degrades.

tips for restoring media

Tips for Restoring Media

While media glazing decreases the quality of a finish, it is possible to restore the media and its previous effectiveness. You can start by adding an abrasive cleaning powder to the media and running the tumbling machine for a few hours. Once the cycle finishes, flush the media with water to remove excess sediment and dirt. Replacing your entire mix can be expensive, so using a cleaning powder becomes especially cost-effective when glazing has affected a lot of the media.

Get in Touch With Finishing Systems Today

While media glazing causes inconsistent finishes, there are ways to prevent it and restore damaged media. At Finishing Systems, our team of experts is on hand to provide solutions to all your finishing needs. Contact us online today to learn more about media glazing or ask a question about our products and services.