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BRM's Flexible Honing, Surface Finishing, and Deburring Blog

BRM's Flexible Honing, Surface Finishing, and Deburring Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about how to solve difficult finishing problems. For over 50 years, Brush Research Manufacturing (BRM) has helped customers use brushing technology to clean, rebuild, and resurface components ranging from engine cylinders to brake rotors to flywheels to firearms. BRM's Blog on CR4 provides real-world examples of how flex hones and wire brushes work. It also evaluates related technologies and invites questions from the community.

How Manufacturers Use Flexible Honing Tools

Posted September 15, 2014 2:07 PM by Brush Research

Manufacturers are using flexible honing tools to automate surface finishing and deburring operations. By removing burrs and improving surface finish at the same time, they're improving part quality and consistency while increasing efficiency and boosting productivity.

ID Surface Finishing and Deburring

BRM Flex-Hone tools are the industry standard for inner diameter (ID) surface finishing and deburring. Known also as ball hones, these flexible cylinder hones feature abrasive globules that are permanently laminated to flexible nylon filaments. Self-centering, self-aligning to the bore, and self-compensating for wear, these deburring tools remove cut, torn, and folded metal while imparting a plateau finish with oil-retaining grooves for optimum lubrication.

Flex-Hone tools are also built with a stiff, double-wire metal stem for easy mounting. Manufacturers can use these surface finishing and deburring tools during machine tool applications (on-line), or during secondary operations (off-line). Regardless of how they're used, flexible cylinder hones always require the use of a lubricant. Choose a high-quality honing oil (such as Flex-Hone oil), or other good-quality lubrication (such as machine oils). Lubricate the ball hone generously, and never use solvents.

On-Line and Off-Line Operations

For on-line operations, flexible honing tools mount in most machine spindles. Examples include drill presses, lathes, and milling machines as well as robotic cells, transfer lines, and CNC equipment. With CNC machinery, a Jacobs-style chuck or CAT 40 collet is recommended. The Flex-Hone In-Machine Setup video shows how BRM's cylinder honing tools are mounted and used. For off-line use, flexible hones can be used with a handheld power tool such as an electric drill.

As the Flex-Hone Resource Guide explains, BRM's surface finish improvement and burr removal tools come in 10 different abrasive types, 11 grit sizes, and in standard diameters ranging from 4-mm to 36". The base material determines which abrasive to select. The amount of work to perform and the degree of surface improvement to achieve govern the grit selection. Available grit sizes vary by abrasive type, and some options are available by special order.

Diamond Hones

Diamond Flex-Hone tools feature diamond abrasive for finishing carbide wear parts, ceramic cylinders, chromed and plated bores, electrical discharge machining (EDM) layers, and guide and drill bushings. Precision-engineered for rapid cut rates, BRM diamond hones also offer excellent heat dissipation. The self-sharpening, resin-bonded crystals in each diamond honing tool are ideal for hard materials such as heat-treated steel, titanium, stainless steel, and space age alloys.

Industries and Applications

Flex-Hone tools that use other abrasives (such as AO and SC) are used to deburr and improve the surface finish of manufactured parts such as engine cylinders and pneumatic cylinders. In fluid power applications, flexible cylinder hones are ideal for hydraulic cylinders, ram cylinders, valve bodies, and valve guides. Flex-Hone tools are used with the valve housings and pump housings on industrial enclosures, too. General industry applications include surface preparation and decontamination.

BRM Flex-Hone tools are also used in industries and applications such as aerospace, automotive, earth moving equipment, marine, oil and gas, aluminum extrusion, brass instruments, firearms, fluid power, hydraulics, and military/defense. For more information, visit the applications page on the BRM website. The Brush Research Manufacturing YouTube channel is also a great source of information, and includes a Flex-Hone Tools Application video that describes the BRM ball hone's versatility and benefits.

Author's Note: This CR4 blog entry originally appeared in BRM's Flex-Hone Blog.

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Find NamPower Technology at IMTS 2014 (Booth N-7163)

Posted September 02, 2014 2:25 PM by Brush Research

IMTS is America's largest manufacturing technology event and one of the world's largest industrial tradeshows. With over 1 million sq. ft. of exhibit space and more than 1900 exhibitors, IMTS 2014 will inform, educate, and entertain 100,000 visitors. From September 8 to 13, 2014, Chicago's McCormick Place will host the 30th International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), where attendees can learn about the latest in automation and even watch the production of a 3D-printed electric car.

From 3D printing to reshoring, industry is abuzz with the latest technologies and trends. IMTS 2014 spans nine pavilions, and there are over 15,000 products and processes to see. For manufacturers who need surface finishing and deburring solutions, however, there's only place to be. Visit Brush Research Manufacturing (BRM) in Booth N-7163 and learn why BRM's flexible honing tools and industrial brushes are the answer to your burr removal and surface improvement challenges.

NamPower Nylon Abrasive Brushes

For outer diameter (OD) applications, the NamPower family of nylon abrasive brushes combines high-performance with consistent, dependable results. BRM NamPower technology includes abrasive disc brushes, composite hub wheel brushes, abrasive hex-drive tools, and accessories such as lightweight tool holders that dampen vibrations and support flow-through cooling. All NamPower brushes feature flexible, abrasive nylon filaments and a well-balanced construction for use with automated machinery.

BRM supplies two types of NamPower abrasive disc brushes: dot for light deburring and general-purpose use, and turbine for medium and heavy-duty deburring. Both styles of disc brush now come in smaller diameters, too. NamPower composite hub wheel brushes feature silicon carbide or diamond abrasive filaments. Silicon carbide is used to deburr and edge radius most industrial metals. Diamond filaments are ideal for harder materials such as carbide, ceramic, glass, and hardened tool steels.

NamPower abrasive hex-drive tools can be easily turned and manipulated for full 360° surface finishing. Their special Hex-Drive System allows these abrasive nylon brushing tools to turn in both directions. For NamPower accessories, BRM supplies several types of brush holders for use with CNC equipment and other machinery. For silicon carbide and diamond wheel brushes, choose composite hub wheel adapters for better brush support, reduced brush vibration, and longer tool life.

NamPower Advantages

NamPower abrasive brushes conform to part contours and remove burrs consistently. Their abrasive nylon filaments wipe and file across part edge and surfaces, and are both moisture and chemical resistant. The linear construction of NamPower brush tools also means that sharp, new abrasive rains constantly come into contact with the work surface, exposing fresh cutting particles. This provides consistent deburring action throughout the length of the brush's bristles.

Each type of NamPower brushing tool also offers special advantages. For example, NamPower composite hub wheel brushes have virtually indestructible cores. NamPower abrasive disc brushes are manufactured with a molded thermoplastic base that provides greater rigidity and stability with less vibration. The result is a better balanced nylon abrasive brush that offers improved performance and longer brush tool life.

Visit BRM at IMTS 2014 (Booth N-7163)

From September 8 to 13, BRM's technical specialists will be on-hand to answer your questions at IMTS Booth N-7163 at Chicago's McCormick Place. Bring us your most complex part, and ask how BRM solves surface finishing and deburring challenges. Let our technical specialists tell you more about all of the NamPower technologies in our latest video, BRM NamPower Technology at IMTS 2014 (Booth N-7163).

Can't wait for IMTS 2014, or unable to attend? Download the NamPower Resource Guide to learn more about BRM's high-performance nylon abrasive brushes. This free, full-color guide describes product specifications and operating parameters in an informative, easy-to-ready format. The How to Automate Deburring and Finishing - NamPower Abrasive Disc Brushes video is also an excellent on-line resource.

Author's Note: This CR4 Blog Entry originally appeared in the BRM Flex-Hone Blog.

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Find Flexible Honing Tools at IMTS 2014 (Booth N-7163)

Posted August 25, 2014 4:02 PM by Brush Research

Brush Research Manufacturing (BRM) will attend the 2014 International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) from September 8 to 13 at Chicago's McCormick Place. With more than 1 million sq. ft. of exhibit space and over 1900 exhibitors, IMTS 2014 will showcase over 15,000 products and processes. Visitors to this biennial event can tour nine tradeshow pavilions, connect with colleagues, and attend conference sessions such as trends in advanced machining, manufacturing, and materials (TRAM).

For part manufacturers who need superior surface finishing solutions, the BRM Booth (#N-7163) in the Abrasive Machining, Sawing, and Finishing pavilion is the place to be. Industrial distributors, machine tool specialists, and members of the metal working industry are also encouraged to visit Booth N-7163 to see high-quality brushing technologies. As a full-line supplier of flexible hones and industrial brushes, BRM will be ready to answer your questions about burr removal and surface improvement.

Industry-Leading Surface Finishing and Deburring

For inner diameter (ID) surface finishing and deburring, the BRM Flex-Hone is the industry leader. A low RPM tool that's suitable for most rotating spindles, this flexible cylinder hone mounts in machinery ranging from drill presses, milling machines, and lathes to CNC equipment and robotic arms. The flexible honing tool's double-wire stem secures easily in chucks, collets, and similar holding devices. With CNC machinery and machine centers, a Jacobs-style chuck or CAT 40 collet is recommended.

Although some manufacturers, machinists, and metalworkers use Flex-Hone technology with handheld power tools, automated surface finishing improves part quality, reliability, and consistency. By using existing CNC machinery to automate operations, manufactures can eliminate time-consuming tasks such as manual deburring. BRM Flex-Hone tools are available for any type or size cylinder, and are used in industries such as aerospace, automotive, firearms, fluid power, hydraulics, marine, and oil and gas.

How Flexible Honing Works

As BRM's new Flex-Hone video explains, flexible honing imparts a plateau finish with a uniform series of oil-retaining grooves for optimum lubrication. This low-pressure, low-temperature, abrading process leaves the base metal undisturbed, but removes burrs that can cause part misalignments and limit the overall efficiency of machined components. BRM's flexible cylinder hones are also used to blend edges and deburr cross-drilled holes. Use Diamond Flex-Hone tools with harder materials.

Known also as ball hones, Flex-Hone tools feature abrasive globules that are permanently laminated to flexible nylon filaments. These cylinder honing tools are manufactured in 10 different abrasive types and 11 grits, and are available in standard sizes from 4 mm to 36". Self-centering, self-aligning to the bore and self-compensating for wear, flexible cylinder hones require the use of a lubricant (preferably Flex-Hone oil), but are easy-to-use and do not require complex machine setups or extensive training.

Visit BRM at IMTS 2014 (Booth N-7163)

From September 8 to 13, BRM's technical specialists will be on-hand to answer your questions at IMTS Booth N-7163 at Chicago's McCormick Place. Bring us your most complex part, and ask how BRM solves surface finishing and deburring challenges. Our technical team can also explain how manufacturers are using Flex-Hone® tools to automate operations with CNC equipment, robotic arms, and machine tools.

Can't wait for IMTS 2014, or unable to attend? Download the Flex-Hone Resource Guide to learn more about BRM's flexible cylinder honing tools. This free, full-color guide describes product specifications and operating parameters in an informative, easy-to-ready format. The Flex-Hone In-Machine Setup video is also an excellent resource, especially for automated finishing and deburring.

Take the Ice Bucket Challenge

Finally, be sure to check out BRM's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video. Watch Heather Jones, Director of Marketing, and Don Didier, VP of Operations, as they challenge other members of our industry - and then get wet for a great cause. BRM has also donated to the ALS Association, and hopes that all of our contributions will help find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Author's Note: This CR4 blog entry originally appeared in the BRM Flex-Hone Blog.

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How to Automate Surface Finishing and Deburring

Posted August 19, 2014 7:11 AM by Brush Research

Brush Research Manufacturing (BRM) supplies a complete line of surface finishing solutions for inner diameter (ID) and outer diameter (OD) applications. For ID surface improvement and burr removal, BRM's Flex-Hone® tool is the industry standard. For OD applications, BRM solutions include NamPower technology, a family of high-performance nylon abrasive brushes.

Flex-Hone® Tools for ID Applications

BRM Flex-Hone® tools are flexible, resilient honing tools that remove burrs and improve the surface finish of cylinder walls. They feature abrasive globules laminated to flexible nylon filaments, and are manufactured in 10 different abrasive types and 11 grit options. Self-centering, self-aligning to the bore, and self-compensating for wear, BRM ball hones come in standard sizes from 4 mm to 36".

The Flex-Hone® is a low RPM tool that's suitable for most any rotating spindle. Examples include drill presses, milling machines, lathes, CNC equipment, robotic arms, and machine centers. Built with a double-wire metal stem, ball hones are secured in a chuck, collet, or similar holding device. With CNC equipment and machining centers, use a Jacobs style chuck or CAT 40 collet.

Flexible cylinder honing's low-pressure, low-temperature abrasive process is ideal for a wide variety of finish requirements. Flex-Hone® tools are not designed for heavy-duty or high-precision metal removal, however. Instead, manufacturers use flexible cylinder hones to reduce surface roughness, and improve surface finish down to the single RA level.

Flexible honing imparts a substantially flat or plateau finish with a uniform pattern of oil-retaining grooves for optimum lubrication. Flex-Hone® tools also remove cut, torn, folded, and jagged metal that can affect dimensional tolerances, cause part misalignments, and limit the overall efficiency of machined components. Flexible cylinder honing also blends-in radius ports and deburrs cross-drilled holes.

For more information, download the Flex-Hone® Resource Guide and watch the Flex-Hone® In-Machine Setup for Surface Finishing and Deburring video.

NamPower Technology for OD Applications

BRM NamPower technology includes abrasive disc brushes, abrasive hex-drive tools, composite hub wheel brushes, and accessories such as lightweight tool holders that provide vibration damping and flow-through cooling. Like Flex-Hone® tools, NamPower nylon abrasive brushes can be used with automated machinery, CNC machining centers, transfer lines, and robotic cells.

NamPower brushes feature flexible, abrasive nylon filament that enable manufactures to deburr, edge radius, and surface finish the outer diameter (OD) of parts. Additional applications include cleaning and surface preparation. With their balanced construction and high-quality components, NamPower brushes combine a cost-effective design with dependable, high-performance results.

NamPower abrasive disc brushes come in two types: dot for light deburring and general-purpose use, and turbine for medium and heavy-duty deburing. NamPower abrasive hex-drive tools are designed for semi-automatic and fully automatic machinery, including NC, CNC, and robotic machine tools. Their unique Hex-Drive System allows these brushing tools to turn in both directions for 360° finishing.

NamPower composite hub wheel brushes feature indestructible cores and silicon carbide or diamond abrasive filaments. Silicon carbide is ideal for deburring and edge radiusing most metals. Diamond filaments are recommended for harder materials such as ceramic, glass, carbide, and hardened tool steels. NamPower nylon abrasive can be used under wet or dry conditions.

For more information, download the NamPower Resource Guide and watch the How to Automate Deburring and Surface Finishing - NamPower Abrasive Disc Brushes video.

Visit BRM at IMTS 2014 (Booth N-7163)

Do your tradeshow plans include a visit to the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) next month? From September 8 to 13, BRM will be in Booth N-7163 at McCormick Place in Chicago. Meet with our technical specialists at IMTS 2014 and find solutions to your surface finishing challenges. For more information, contact us.

Author's Note: This CR4 blog entry originally appeared in the BRM Flex-Hone Blog.

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Diamond and Silicon Carbide Abrasives for Nylon Abrasive Wheel Brushes

Posted August 11, 2014 2:59 PM by Brush Research

Nylon abrasive brushing technology includes abrasive disc brushes, abrasive hex-drive tools, composite hub wheel brushes, and accessories such as tool holders and adapters. These high-quality, professional-grade products enable manufacturers to deburr, radius, and surface finish the outer diameter (OD) of metal parts. For removing sharp edges and creating a desired radius, manufacturing leaders in a variety of industries prefer NamPower wheel brushes.

As this YouTube video shows, NamPower nylon abrasive composite hub wheels feature indestructible cores, a balanced construction, a choice of face widths and diameters, and a uniform fill pattern. An alternative to wire wheels and non-woven abrasive brushing tools, NamPower wheel brushes are used in the production of turbine blades, steel gears, machine parts, extrusion cut-offs, and shaft finishing. These wheel-shaped abrasive nylon brushes can also produce an edge radius on cutting tool inserts.

Understanding Abrasive Types

Recently, BRM announced the addition of diamond-impregnated composite hub wheel brushes to its NamPower product line. The introduction of these long-lasting, cost-effective diamond wheels extends the capabilities of NamPower technology, and means that industrial buyers need to consider abrasive type during wheel brush selection. Other important specifications to consider include grit size, brush diameter, and face width.

Available with silicon carbide or diamond abrasive, NamPower wheel brushes solve surface finishing challenges. Choose silicon carbide for deburring and edge radiusing most metals. Choose diamond for harder materials such as ceramic, glass, carbide, and hardened tool steels. BRM's diamond abrasive wheel brushes are also ideal for producing edge radii on diamond and cubic boron nitride (CBN) surfaces. Their composite hub construction offers a dense, uniform fill pattern for more cutting points.

Diamond Wheel Brushes

NamPower diamond-filled composite hub wheel brushes are also great for polishing the flute relief on carbide and high speed drills, end mills, and reamers. These BRM brushing tools can produce an edge radius on carbide inserts, too. With end mills and reamers, a polished flute relief greatly enhances chip removal and promotes better finishes and longer tool life. With carbide inserts, an edge radius prevents fracturing and premature insert wear.

BRM's black diamond-filled composite wheel brushes are available in three diameters: 100-mm, 150-mm, and 200-mm. The 100-mm diameter brush is manufactured in a 5-mm face width to allow finishing of smaller sizes. The 150-mm and-200 mm brushing tools have either a 10-mm or 15-mm face thickness to accommodate a variety of flute relief requirements. All NamPower diamond wheels come standard in 600-grit, which offers the perfect combination of cutting power and ultra-smooth final finish. Other grit sizes are available by special order.

Silicon Carbide Wheel Brushes

NamPower wheel brushes that use silicon carbide (SC) abrasive are available in four different grit sizes: 80, 120, 180, and 320. Grit selection is highly dependent on the starting surface finish and the amount of material refinement that's required. During product selection, choose the coarsest grit possible that will still yield the required surface finish. The NamPower Resource Guide lists staring Ra values, a measure of roughness, for each available SC grit size.

Coarse grits are recommended for use on heavier burrs, or in applications where a fine surface finish is not required. Fine grit brush tools that are used on a rough starting finish will have less effect on surface condition improvement than the use of a coarse-grit brush followed by a finer-grit tool. In addition to cutting and finishing, grit size also affects radial brush flexibility. Industrial buyers should note, too, that NamPower nylon abrasive wheels with coarser grits have larger-diameter filaments.

Author's Note: This CR4 blog entry originally appeared in the BRM Flex-Hone Blog.

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How to Use Flexible Honing Tools

Posted August 04, 2014 2:05 PM by Brush Research

Flexible honing tools are versatile. Supplied in standard sizes from 4-mm to 36", flexible cylinder hones are available in 8 different abrasive types, 11 different grit sizes, and are suitable for any type or size of cylinder. Brush Research Manufacturing (BRM) also offers custom Flex-Hone tools, as well as surface finishing solutions such as the Flex-Hone for Firearms. For inner diameter (ID) operations such as burr removal, edge blending, cylinder wall deglazing, and plateau finishing, flexible cylinder hones are ideal.

Choosing the right Flex-Hone tool for your application is essential, but it's important to follow proper guidelines for use. A ball hone's abrasive globules are its most distinctive features, but Flex-Hone tools also feature a metal stem for easy mounting and quick tool changes. Some users chuck the Flex-Hone tool in a handheld electric drill. Others mount flexible cylinder hones in production machinery. This versatility, along with the deburring tool's quality and reliability, add to the value of flexible honing.

Off-Line and In-Machine Operations

Flex-Hone tools can be used with a variety of garage, machine shop, and manufacturing equipment for off-line or in-machine operations. Typically, users already own the power tools or machinery that they'll need for cylinder honing. For example, most hobbyists own a hand drill and most manufacturers have machines with spindles. Amateur and professional gunsmiths, firearms and auto parts companies, diesel mechanics, engine tuners, and even light aircraft builders all use Flex-Hone tools.

As this How to Use a Flex-Hone Tool video shows, off-line operations occur away from production machinery, such as on an engine stand or workbench. By using a ball cylinder hone with an electric hand drill, for example, a Flex-Hone® customer can surface finish engine cylinders or the bores on shotguns, rifles, revolvers, pistols, or paintball guns. Rotate the flexible hone prior to entry, and remember that the BRM ball hone is a low RPM tool. The Flex-Hone Resource Guide provides general speed ranges.

Unlike off-line honing, in-machine deburring and surface finishing uses existing production equipment to automate operations. By using the Flex-Hone with existing production machinery, manufacturers can reduce labor costs, optimize machine cycle times, and promote surface finish uniformity. Designed for use with most any rotating spindle, automated surface finishing and deburring maximizes investments in milling machines, lathes, CNC equipment, robotic arms, and machining centers.

Lubrication and Clean-Up

With both off-line and in-machine operations, flexible honing tools always require lubrication. Choose a high-quality honing oil (such as BRM Flex-Hone oil) or other good-quality lubricant, such as machine oil. Never use solvents, as they may degrade the adhesive bonds in the tool. Don't skimp with a few drops of honing oil, but instead lubricate the Flex-Hone tool generously. Proper lubrication helps keep heat to a minimum, prevents the tool from loading, and suspends the abrasive material.

After flexible honing is complete, thoroughly clean the cylinder. For best results, use a soft nylon brush and hot or warm soapy water. Dry the bore and then clean with a lint-free cloth that's coated with a light oil or mineral spirits. Continue to clean the cylinder until the lint-free cloth remains clean. For more information, download the Flex-Hone Resource Guide and watch the Flex-Hone videos available on BRM's YouTube channel.

Author's Note: This CR4 blog entry originally appeared in BRM's Flex-Hone Blog.

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