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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.

Flexible Honing for Engine Cylinders

Posted July 20, 2015 3:57 PM by Brush Research

Flexible honing for engine cylinders imparts a plateau finish that optimizes lubrication and reduces friction and wear. Flexible cylinder honing also removes cut, torn, and folded metal that can interfere with the operation of mechanical components such as piston rings. By removing burrs, imparting a series of oil-retaining grooves, and reducing raised areas to a uniform height, BRM Flex-Hone® tools impart the ideal surface finish. Two automotive application guides explain the benefits of flexible cylinder honing for the automotive aftermarket.

Flexible Honing for Engine Preparation

Kart racers drive small, four-wheeled vehicles that can achieve speeds in excess of 150 mph. Two-cycle kart engines are available, but many racers prefer four-cycle powerplants like the Briggs & Stratton L Head and OHV Animal. When Jimmy Glenn, a championship engine builder and technical inspector for National Karting Events, prepares a Briggs & Stratton engine for kart racing, he uses Flex-Hone® tools for cylinder honing. As Glenn explains in the 4-Cycle Kart Engines application guide, flexible honing is "integral" to kart engine preparation. "Always use the premiere BRM hones," he adds.

With both the Briggs & Stratton L Head engine and the OHV Animal, Glenn uses a 320-grit aluminum oxide Flex-Hone® to impart a final finish to the aluminum bores. "For rebuilds on either engine," he explains, "a quick honing with the appropriate grit will bring the cylinder back into optimum condition for a new piston/ring set." The BRM application guide describes Jimmy's Glenn's tips and techniques, and also explains how the author of "Building a Race Ready 5HP Briggs" uses ball hones with carburetor bores, valve guides, and other engine parts.

Flexible Honing for Engine Remanufacturing

Remanufactured engines aren't just re-machined. They're restored to precise mechanical tolerances and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) specifications. For engine remanufacturers like RMP Powertrain Solutions, a division of the Holman Automotive Group, imparting the ideal surface finish is essential. Cylinder walls with cut, torn and folded metal can prevent proper piston ring and sealing - and even cause engine failure. Flexible honing removes surface imperfections, and imparts a plateau finish for optimum lubrication.

RMP uses a rigid honing machine after engine cylinders are bored, but trusts BRM Flex-Hone® technology to impart the final surface finish. As the Automotive Engine Rebuilder application guide explains, the New Jersey-based engine remanufacturer "has been able to maintain high quality standards at minimal cost". By stroking each cylinder just a few times, operators reportedly finish as many as 60 engines per Flex-Hone® tool. For RMP's customers, the benefits include faster break-in times and reduced blow-by.

Learn More about Flexible Honing for Automotive Engines

Would you like to learn more about flexible honing for engine rebuilds? From case studies and brochures to how-to-videos and technical books, BRM provides the information you need in a variety of formats. Visit our website to find these and other resources. As a full-line supplier of surface finishing and deburring solutions, we have the tools, technology, and application experience that you need to make your next engine rebuild a success.

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Which Wire Wheel Brush Do You Need?

Posted July 13, 2015 12:43 PM by Brush Research

Wire wheel brushes are wheel-shaped brushing tools with sturdy hubs and metal wire filaments. They are used for cutting, cleaning, deburring, edge blending, polishing, and surface finishing. A type of power brush, wire wheels are motor-driven and may feature an arbor hole or keyway that supports their use with grinding equipment or CNC machinery. Different types of wire wheel brushes are available, but tool selection begins with an understanding of the basic wire wheel types: crimped and knotted. Manufacturers also need to consider brush tool specifications and their own application requirements.

Crimped Wire Wheels for Uniform Brushing

Crimped wire wheel brushes feature carbon steel, stainless steel, or brass filaments that look wavy, bent, or pinched. Crimping separates these metal filaments from each other and helps to reduce the wire fatigue and wire breakage that's caused by flexing, bending, and vibrations. Crimped wheels that are made with oil-tempered wire may cost more, but they typically last longer. During normal wheel brush use, small pieces of wire break off and leave fresh cutting edges exposed. Crimps help to create cleaner breaks. They also support consistent, uniform brushing since the tool's cutting action is at the filament tips.

Most crimped wire wheels feature a 2" arbor hole that supports their use with shafts ranging from 1/2" to 1". These wire wheel brushes are available in a range of sizes, but 6 and 8 inches are the most common diameters. The base material of the part or workpiece determines which filament type to select, and filament or wire size is a function of finishing requirements. Face width is also important to consider, and manufacturers can choose narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide. Narrower brush faces are ideal for corners, crevices, and irregular surfaces. Wider brush faces provide consistent brushing over larger areas.

Knotted Wire Wheels for Aggressive Brushing

Knotted wire wheel brushes feature knots or twists of metal wire, typically carbon steel or stainless steel. They support aggressive cutting and absorb bending and vibrations that can cause wire fatigue. Standard or twisted tuft brushes are twisted for about two-thirds of the filament length. The remaining third is flared slightly. With larger wire sizes and applications that require heavier brushing action, the knots may be twisted for their entire length. These knotted wire wheel brushes are known as cable twists, and are often used in oilfields and with oil pipelines.

In addition to knot or twist type, face width is an important specification to consider. Standard or twisted tuft brushes are available in medium and wide faces for uniform, heavy brushing. Stringer bead wire wheel brushes are a type of cable twist brush with a very narrow face. They're used for surface finishing small channels and grooves, and for preparing pipes prior to welding. Like crimped wire wheel brushes with a narrow face, stringer bead brushes have longer trim for finishing irregular surfaces with corners and crevices. These knotted wire wheel brushes can also be used for cleaning cracks in asphalt and concrete.

Get the Industrial Brushes Technical Booklet

Now that you understand the basics about crimped wire and knotted wire wheel brushes, it's time to learn how to use them under power. The Use of Industrial Brushes Guide from Brush Research Manufacturing (BRM) explains what you need to know, and includes safety guidelines. You'll also find valuable information about other types of power brushes for surface finishing and deburring. There's even information about BRM Flex-Hone® tools. Download The Use of Industrial Brushes Guide now.

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How to Find the Right Surface Finishing Solution

Posted July 06, 2015 1:03 PM by Brush Research

Do you need solutions to surface finishing challenges? Are you looking for the right tools and technologies to remove burrs and improve surface quality? If you're ready to find answers to your most challenging surface finishing questions, Brush Research Manufacturing (BRM) is ready to help. As a full-line supplier of flexible cylinder hones and industrial brushes, we do more than supply products. With our 55 years of experience, we provide technical expertise like you'll get with our Tech Lab program.

The BRM Tech Lab Program

Send us your most challenging part and BRM will evaluate your component for free. As part of our analysis, we'll recommend the right Flex-Hone® tool, NamPower nylon abrasive brush, or other industrial brushing tool for your specific surface finishing and deburring application. Test results typically include photographs and surface profilometer data for your part both before and after finishing. In addition to recommending the right tool for the job, BRM's technical team will provide recommendations about operating speeds.

Surface finishing and deburring challenges can be tough, but getting started with the BRM Lab Program is simple. Just download the BRM Tech Lab form and answer a few questions about your company, your part, and your surface finishing requirements. The form displays right in your Web browser and is a PDF document that's quick and easy to complete. If we need any additional information, such as a sketch or drawing of your part, our technical team will let you know.

Identifying Surface Finishing Requirements

The BRM Tech Lab form is only a page long, but asks some important questions. For example, what is your project timeline and how many parts do you need per month or even per year? What is the application for your part, and are there special circumstances surrounding its production or use? BRM supports a wide range of applications and works with partners in many different industries. As we review your part information, we'll determine the best way to put our technical knowledge to work for you.

Understanding your final finishing requirements is critical. So are part specifications such as material and hardness; bore diameter, length and type; and surface conditions. Remember to indicate whether the bore type is through or blind, and if the surface condition is chromed or plated. The BRM Tech Lab form also asks about manufacturing and machining operations prior to finishing. Was the part drilled, reamed, bored, or honed? Your answers will help BRM to recommend the right tools and technologies.

Recommending Surface Finishing Tools and Technologies

Remember, too, that we do more than just analyze your part information. BRM's full-service Tech Lab will also deburr and surface finish your part. Then, when we share the results of our efforts, we'll indicate which surface finishing and deburring tool we chose - and how we used it. Tool selection is important, of course, but making the most of a flexible hone or industrial brush also means identifying the optimum operating parameters. So let us do the work for you!

Which tool will the BRM Technical Team recommend? That depends on your application. For cylinder surface finishing, cross-hole deburring, and other inner diameter (ID) applications, the BRM Flex-Hone® tool is the industry standard. For automated parts deburring and surface finishing with outer diameter (OD) applications, NamPower nylon abrasive brushes combine high-performance with consistent, reliable, cost-effective results. BRM's catalog of industrial brushes also includes many other high-quality tools.

Send In Your Part

Are you ready to get started on the road to surface finishing success? Are you ready to solve your surface finishing and deburring challenges? BRM is ready to help. Download the form for our Tech Lab program, and let BRM do the work for you.

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Surface Finishing Tips for Steel Wire Wheel Brushes

Posted May 19, 2015 4:59 PM by Brush Research

Metal fabricators use steel wire wheel brushes for surface preparation, surface finishing, burr removal, weld cleaning, and rust and oxide removal. Wheel brushes with steel filaments aren't just versatile, however. They're also dependable. For example, steel wire tips remove contaminants, coatings, and surface imperfections without changing part dimensions. Steel wire brushes are also non-loading, which means that they won't become clogged with debris.

Steel Wire Wheels for Surface Finishing

Are steel wire wheel brushes what you need? Are you using them at your shop now, or have you tried this type of power brush before? Whether you're an experienced parts fabricator or new to metalworking, it's important to select the right type of steel wire wheel and then follow some best practices. For example, did you know that tempered steel wire costs more but lasts longer? Did you know that brushes are set-up to run at a prescribed surface feet per minute (SFM), and that larger-diameter brushes can achieve this SFM while running at lower revolutions per minute (RPM) than small-diameter brushes? Let's look at some brush tool tips.

Fill Materials and Twist Types

Steel wire wheel brushes use either carbon steel or stainless steel as the fill material. Carbon steel has good wear characteristics, cutting action, and fatigue resistance. Stainless steel resists wear, corrosion, high temperatures, and some chemicals. Fill material matters, but you'll need to consider the twist type, too. Crimped wire or standard twists are used with regular surfaces. Knotted or tufted cable twists are more aggressive. Stinger bead twists have a narrow face and are used mainly for weld cleaning.

Filament Length and Fill Density

Filament length and fill density can vary, so make sure to choose and use the right type of steel wire wheel for the job. Brush tools with longer filaments or trim conform closely to contoured surfaces. Brushing tools with shorter trim are better-suited for more demanding applications. Fill density, the number of steel wire tips per unit of measure, also affects performance. Steel wire wheels with lower densities are more flexible, and are a good choice for surface cleaning. Higher-density wheels can run faster and last longer.

Brush Speed and Direction

Like other power brushes, steel wire wheels work best when the brush speed and pressure are right for your specific application. As a rule, use the highest possible speed and the lightest possible pressure. Never exceed the maximum safe free speed (MSFS) or revolutions per minute (RPM), however, and avoid applying so much pressure that the filaments get too hot or bend too much. If you need to apply greater pressure, try a more aggressive brush. For longer brush life, periodically reverse the direction of rotation.

Stainless Steel Brushes - Special Considerations

Steel wire wheels are non-loading, but that doesn't mean a condition called "after rust" can't affect your workpiece. To avoid this problem, don't use a stainless steel brush on carbon steel parts and then on stainless steel parts. Keep your stainless steel brushes away from areas where they might contact carbon steel particles, too. For critical tasks, degrease stainless steel wire wheels before starting operations. When you're done, degrease these wheel brushes again and wrap them in plastic.

Learn More About Industrial Brushes from BRM

As a full-line manufacturer of surface finishing solutions, Brush Research Manufacturing (BRM) supplies metal fabricators with a large and growing family of industrial brushing tools. For more information about our steel wire wheels and other surface finishing and deburring tools, download "The Use of Industrial Brushes" now and read it right in your web browser.

Author's Note: This CR4 blog entry originally appeared on The BRM Blog.

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Cross-Hole Deburring Tips and Techniques

Posted April 06, 2015 12:41 PM by Brush Research

Cross-hole deburring removes the burrs that are created when manufacturers and machinists cross-drill intersecting holes on metal parts. Removing these ragged edges, raised areas, particles, protrusions, and shavings improves part function and quality. Because metal burrs can cause part misalignments, cross-hole deburrring supports the smooth operation of machinery and mechanical systems. Burr removal also promotes plant safety and production efficiency. Operators who handle machined parts or blanks with burrs risk injury, and poor surface finish quality on machine components can impede production.

What's the best way to remove burrs from cross-drilled holes then? First, you'll need to select the right tool for the job. Next, you'll need to follow suggested operating parameters and best practices.

Choose the Right Cross-Hole Deburring Tool for the Job

The Flex-Hone tool from Brush Research Manufacturing (BRM) is a flexible, resilient honing tool that removes burrs from cross-drilled holes and improves surface finish at the same time. Known also as a ball hone, the BRM Flex-Hone features abrasive globules that are permanently laminated to flexible nylon filaments. These abrasive globules or balls provide a soft cutting action that removes burrs from cylinder walls while leaving the base metal undisturbed.

BRM supplies Flex-Hone tools in 8 different abrasive types and 11 different options in diameters from 4-mm to 36" for use with a wide variety of base materials and surface finish requirements. The Flex-Hone Resource Guide explains how to select the right cross-hole deburring tool for your application, and also provides suggested operating parameters. Flexible honing does not require specialized training, but it's important to follow best practices for optimal results.

Follow Best Practices for Deburring Cross-Drilled Holes

Flexible hones have a wire stem for use with most any rotating spindle. With CNC equipment, the tool is secured with a Jacobs-style collet that's clamped directly to the stem wire. BRM's cross-hole deburring tools are used also in lathes, mills, drill presses, and electric hand drills. As this YouTube video shows, an operator can easily chuck a Flex-Hone into a standard 3/8" or 1/2" drill motor on cordless drill. As the Flex-Hone Resource Guide explains, power requirements are a function of horsepower. Stroke rate is a function of flexible hone diameter, stroke, and cross-hatch angle specification (if any).

When deburring cross-drilled holes with the Flex-Hone, BRM recommends that you first stroke and rotate the tool in a clockwise direction. Then remove the cylinder hone from the bore, reverse the spindle, and stroke and rotate in a clockwise direction. This promotes a more symmetrical deburring pattern and prevents the burr from folding back into the cross-hole. During cross-hole deburring, and with any Flex-Hone operation (such as cylinder wall deglazing), always use a lubricant or good-quality honing oil. This prevents tool loading, and ensures the exposure of fresh cutting particles.

Learn More About Deburring at PMTS 2015

Are you headed to the Precision Machine Technology Show (PMTS 2015) in Columbus, Ohio later this month? From April 21 to April 23, the BRM Technical team will be in Booth #1223 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. You can also learn about solving deburring challenges at this PTMS Educational Session on Tuesday, April 21 from 8:15 to 9:15 AM. BRM's Jonathan Borden will provide a presentation you won't want to miss, so be sure to add this session to your show planner.

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

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Diamond Abrasive Wheel Brushes for Harder Materials

Posted March 30, 2015 2:10 PM by Brush Research

Wheel brushes are wheel-shaped brushing tools that remove burrs and improve the surface finish of machined parts. These power brushes are also used for outer diameter (OD) applications such as cleaning, polishing, and edge radiusing. As a full-line supplier of surface finishing solutions, Brush Research Manufacturing (BRM) provides many different types of wheel brushes, including NamPower nylon abrasive wheels.

NamPower composite hub nylon abrasive diamond wheel brushes are high-performance brush tools with abrasive-impregnated nylon filaments. These wheel brushes also feature virtually indestructible composite hubs to support their use with equipment and machinery. When selecting a NamPower wheel brush, the type of abrasive is important to consider. Typically, this is a function of the workpiece's base material.

Base Materials and Surface Finishing Applications

NamPower composite hub wheel brushes are available in different abrasive types. NamPower wheels with silicon carbide abrasive are used to deburr and surface finish parts made of industrial metals such as aluminum and steel. NamPower wheel brushes with diamond abrasive filaments are recommended for deburring, surface finishing, and edge radiusing harder materials such as carbide, ceramic, cubic boron nitride (CBN), and glass.

Applications for NamPower diamond wheels include deburring gears made of hardened tool steels, and polishing the flute reliefs on drills, end mills, and reamers made of high-speed steels (HSS) or carbide. With end mills and reamers, a polished flue relief enhances chip removal and promotes better finishes and longer tool life. With carbide inserts, edge radiusing prevents fracturing and premature insert wear. NamPower diamond wheels are also used with plasma-sprayed and nitride-coated surfaces.

Diamond Wheel Brush Specifications

BRM's NamPower nylon abrasive wheel brushes with black diamond filaments are available in three diameters: 100 mm (4 in), 150 mm (6 in), and 200 mm (8 in). The 150 mm and 200 mm diameter wheel brushes have face widths of either 10 mm or 15 mm. The 100 mm diamond wheels come with either a 5 mm or 10 mm face width to accommodate a variety of flue relief sizes. All BRM diamond abrasive wheel brushes come standard in 600 mesh, which provides just the right amount of cutting action.

The relationship between brush diameter and arbor hole size is also important to consider. NamPower composite hub diamond wheels with a diameter of 100 mm have a 20 mm arbor hole. NamPower diamond wheel brushes with diameters of 150 mm or 200 mm have a 3.25-in. arbor hole. BRM produces machined arbor adapters in a variety of sizes, too. These adapters are designed to offer increased brush support, less brush vibration, and longer brush life.

Cost-Effective, High-Performance Diamond Wheels

NamPower diamond abrasive wheel brushes cost significantly less than other diamond wheels on the market, and combine high-performance with greater value for dependable results. These composite hub wheels also feature virtually indestructible cores and have a dense, uniform fill pattern that puts more cutting points at the point of attack. Download the brochure to learn more about NamPower diamond wheels, or contact BRM today.

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

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