Prior to considering any specific metal finishing method, you should think about your main goal. Which technique will help you to achieve that aim? What kind of environment will the finished item be subjected to? Will it be exposed to extreme heat, wet, force, wear and tear or electrical charges?
How long will the particular technique take to apply? Some techniques are a skill in their own right and might involve applying other materials, such as nickel composites.
Here are a few of the available finishing options available that you might want to consider.
E-coating involves applying a dry powder, which is mixed with various epoxy resins and then sprayed onto the metal. This is considered to be a wet process, even though it is using a dry powder.
This refers to the manufacturing process of being able to finish a large number of items at once, and the finishing techniques for these include tumble and vibratory finishing.
This involves changing the composition of the object by hitting the surface with a ‘shot’, which can be metallic, glass or ceramic. The force should be great enough to change the composition of the object being hit.
This is more commonly known as sandblasting and involves projecting a number of rough materials at a smooth surface under pressure to create a rough surface, often used to shape or clean a surface.
Anodising involves passing electrodes over the object to increase its thickness.
This is used to make a stainless steel object more resistant to rusting and usually includes the use of either nitric or citric acid to clear iron from the outer layer.
Plating in itself is a manufacturing process that applies a thin metal substrate, such as a nickel composite, to an object. There are many forms of plating and the one you choose really depends on the object’s final use. Some of the more common composites used in this process include nickel composites, zinc composites, chrome and silver composites.
Health and Safety
All techniques should be applied in accordance with the government statutory guidance outlined at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/textile-and-fabric-coating-and-finishing-process-guidance-note-608.
Before you select your finish, think about the whole life cycle and then make your choice using this as the foundation.