Mass Finishing Media Information

Finishing mediaMass finishing media is used to deburr, burnish, color, descale, polish, or clean parts and components during finishing processes. Mass finishing media involves choosing finishing shapes and media for particular tasks.


Finishing shapes include:

  • balls
  • cones
  • ballcones
  • wedges
  • pins
  • tapers
  • cylinders
  • cut wire
  • diagonals
  • angle cuts
  • diamonds
  • cubes
  • oval balls
  • eclipses or balls with flats
  • crushed grit
  • pyramids
  • triangles
  • stars or tristars


Finishing media consists of:

  • metal
  • ceramic
  • plastic
  • natural wood
  • nutshell
  • corncob
  • carbonate
  • mineral
  • synthetic materials


Selection of mass finishing media includes matching media shapes and material to the component material, component geometry, and finishing process. For example, softer materials such as plastic or non-ferrous metals require less aggressive media. If a chemically active, corrosive, or acidic compound is used, then a corrosive-resistant media material should be selected. In situations where complex parts with recesses, corners, or holes need to be finished, pointed media such as cones, triangles, pins, and ballcones should be used. Mass finishing media are used in a variety of barrel finishing systems, from a light-duty miniature tumbler to a large heavy duty multiple-compartment machine designed for wet or dry processes.

Mass finishing media for part deburring and burnishing is typically ceramic preformed shapes. Ceramic shapes are best for hard metals and are able to deburr metals better than plastic shapes. Mass finishing media for descaling, polishing, and cleaning includes components made of a variety of materials: carbon steel is used to produce a bright shine, stainless steel is used for aggressive processes such as removal of iron contamination, and precision ceramic forms are used for fine finishing jobs such as jewelry polishing. Synthetic mass finishing media is used in high-pressure, high-energy processes, such as those used in a centrifugal barrel or disc finisher.

Related Information

CR4 Community—Nylon Abrasive Brushes for Surface Finishing and Deburring

Image credit:

Stephen R Woolverton / CC BY-SA 3.0