Chemical Film vs. Anodize

It’s been a while since we’ve posted, so we figured we would give you a post relative to what we have seen recently in manufacturing. For some reason, we have been seeing a lot of engineers who are calling out the incorrect finish for their parts, and we want to help set the issue straight! Simply put, chemical film (also known as┬áchromate conversion, yellow iridite, or alodine) and anodize are NOT the same thing. Most people assume that they may have similarities, that they can be used interchangeably, but this is not the case for most instances. So let’s take a close look at what each finish is and when you should use them. But first, I’d like to point out and say that although we are a metal fabricator, we actually have an in-house metal finishing shop as well as a sister metal finishing company, and have knowledge on when and when not to use each of these finishes. Continue reading

Metal Finish vs. Surface Finish

SheetMetalImage1Have you ever had metal parts fabricated and you indicated no finish, and when you received the parts, the surface finish was not what you expected? Maybe you were hoping for a mill finish, but the parts were sanded to a uniform finish? Or maybe you expected a smooth mill finish, but there were scratches and gouges from the fabrication process? In the metal fabrication industry, there can be confusion and a misunderstanding when it comes to metal finishing and surface finish, which are not the same thing. They are actually completely different from each other and one does not indicate the other. To help clarify the distinction between the two, we will identify the differences between the two from a manufacturer’s point of view. Continue reading

Material Grain Direction

One thing some engineers forget about when designing a sheet metal part is the material grain direction. During the fabrication process, most of the time, the sheet of metal will go through a line grain machine prior to forming, hardware, and finish. Line grain can also be known as Satin Finishing, Metal Brush Finishing, and Time Saver Finishing. Line grain is a uniform linear sanded finish that is used to remove and minimize scratches, blemishes, material defects, and mill scale. Continue reading

Anodize Coatings for Aluminum Alloys

purple anodize aluminum partMore recently, we have been seeing manufacturing prints that call-out an incorrect military spec for anodize on aluminum parts. As a result, we wanted to do this blog post to better inform engineers of calling-out the right classifications for anodize. But first, here is a mistake we have recently seen that is a good example:

Incorrect: “Finish: Anodize MIL-A-8625 Type II, Class 1, Blue”

The issue with this incorrect call-out is the class number and color. According to Military Spec MIL-A-8625, Class 1 is designated as “non-dyed.” This contradicts the “blue” color that is called out. All Class 1 specifications need to be clear color. To designate a color (blue, black, etc.), Class 2 needs to be specified. Here is the proper way to call out the specification above (please note the following call-outs are an example pertaining to the incorrect call-out above. Call-outs can vary depending on the desired Type/Class/Color): Continue reading

Does powder coat chip?

Many people have perceptions about powder coat; many of which are incorrect. This blog post will demonstrate how many of the rumors about powder coat are false! Before we jump right into the myths, lets first explain what powder coat is and how it works:

What is powder coat?

Powder coat is a type of finish that is applied to metal parts to create a cosmetic and durable coating. Unlike liquid paint, powder coat is applied as a dry powder using electrostatic which does not require a solvent. The end result creates a finish similar to liquid paint, but can be more durable. Powder coat is commonly used for home appliances, automobiles, bicycles, fences, metal furniture, and more. Continue reading