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Deburring isn’t rocket science. However, getting the job done right takes skill and experience.


And it starts with knowing exactly which tumbling media is best for the task at hand.


This article will focus on choosing the right tumbling media and its impact on deburring results, based on the following crucial factors:

  1. Media shape
  2. Media Size
  3. Abrasiveness and composition

The right media, combined with the right machinery, makes all the difference. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for deburring. Contact us to learn more about choosing the right tumbling media and deburring machinery for your specific needs.


Choosing the Best Tumbling Media for Metal Deburring


Media is an abrasive material that helps to remove burrs and break sharp edges from metal parts. It is often, but not always, used in the process of deburring metal. In addition to removing unwanted machining edges, tumbling media can also be used to affect the finish, form radii, polish, clean or degrease metal parts.


Media shape, media size, abrasiveness and composition all play a role in deciding on the best tumbling media to use in deburring.


1. Media shape


Is the part getting deburred, cleaned or a certain finish? How big are the dimensions and features of the part? These questions will assist in determining the shape of the tumbling media.

  • Cones, pyramids and angled tri star media are best for reaching into “hidden” areas. However, by using ones that are not the correct size/composition could lead to breakage and lodging in those areas.
  • Cylindrical media is good for passing through holes, however, an incorrect size can lead again to lodging in the holes or early excessive wear on the media.
  • Round and oval-shaped media are admired for their ability to not lodge, however, they will not reach into tighter areas.

2. Media size


Generally, larger parts require larger media. Larger media provide a rapid cut and a courser surface to larger parts, but can damage smaller, more fragile parts.


However, it’s also important to select a media size that will not get lodged in the part. This mistake could waste valuable time and risk damaging the parts in question.


3. Abrasiveness and Composition



A wide range of materials are used in deburring, including rice and glass beads. However, the main type of media materials used are made of ceramic, plastic, steel, or organic compounds.

  • Ceramic media, due to its high density, can easily grind and polish hard materials, including titanium and steel. Ceramic also has porcelain, which provides a shiny finish. The main flaw of ceramic media is that although it is durable, it will eventually break into smaller pieces. These chips can become problematic if they lodge into small areas or holes on the parts.
  • Plastic media is the preferred choice of media for softer metals, such as aluminum, zinc, and brass. Plastic media is available in low density, high density, and high performance options. Low density is a general media used for deburring, flash removal and burnishing. High density was designed for superior cut and stock removal on both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. High performance media is formulated for use in specific applications of ferrous metals.
  • Steel media is excellent at polishing and burnishing steel parts. Depending on its shape, steel media can also be effective at deburring steel. It has a longer lifespan than the media. However, steel media is also more expensive and takes longer to dry.
  • Organic media includes options such as walnut shells and corn cob granules. Although mostly used to dry parts, organic media is also excellent at providing a high-gloss finish. It is also cheaper than most other tumbling media.

Learn More About Choosing the Right Media to Deburr Metal Parts


All of our metal finishing processes at Latem Industries are proprietary and part specific, and each is managed by our Engineers and Lead Hands. This includes the selection of tumbling media (when needed) and compounds.


We are proud to be an authorized distributor of Washington Mills Media, a US-based manufacturer and worldwide leader in pre-formed ceramic media. We keep a selection of used and new media for sale. We can also place orders for larger quantities and more specific media.


Have a question about metal deburring? We’re here to help. Reach out to our finishing experts now and you’ll get answers within 24 hours.      

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