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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.

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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How to Choose Cup Brushes

Posted July 28, 2014 3:09 PM by Brush Research

Cup brushes are surface finishing and deburring tools that feature a cup-like body to which filaments attach. A type of power brush, these rotary brushing tools have metal or nylon abrasive filaments and come in a variety of tool diameters. Cup brushes are designed for use with grinding tools, and have a 5/8"-11 arbor hole or integral shaft for connecting the industrial brush to powered equipment or even machinery.

For industrial buyers, choosing a cup brush requires an understanding of cup brush types and product specifications. Many different types of cup brushes are available, and filament type is an important consideration. Wire cups are best suited for burr removal and surface preparation on large surfaces. Nylon abrasive cups are ideal for light deburring, edge blending, and general surface finishing. Other applications for cup-style power brushes include rust, paint, and weld scale removal.

Wire Cup Brushes

When choosing wire brushes, buyers need to specify wire size, filament material, and wire style or type. Typically, wire sizes are given as decimal measurements. The larger the wire size and thickness, the more aggressive the brush. Stainless steel and carbon steel are common filament materials. Carbon steel is more aggressive than stainless steel, but can leave "after rust" on the workpiece surface. Stainless steel doesn't leave residues that can oxidize, but these wire brushes are less aggressive than carbon steel brushing tools.

In terms of wire style or type, buyers can also choose crimped or knotted wire brushes. Wire size and material are important, but wire style is critical to abrasiveness and aggressiveness. Crimping allows the metal filaments to better support each other than with straight bristles. Crimped brushing tools are more flexible than knot-style cup brushes, but crimped brushes are also less aggressive. For heavy-duty surface finishing and burr removal applications then, knotted wire brushes are recommended.

Single Row, Double Row, and Cable Twist

Knot-type cup brushes are available in single row, double row, and cable twist designs. Single-row, knot-type brush tools are used for the removal of burrs, weld scale, paint and rust, as well as edge blending and surface preparation. Double-row, knot-type cup brushes provide fast cutting and cleaning over wide areas. Both single-row and double-row power brushes feature filament ends that are loosely twisted and tufted for more flexibility.

By contrast, knot-type cup brushes with a cable twist have wide, tightly-twisted ends for more aggressive brushing. Applications for these cup-style industrial brushes include heavy-duty burr removal, surface preparation, and surface finishing. Like other types of wire cups, these surface finishing and deburring tools are available in different diameters and with an arbor hole for attachment to grinding tools and equipment.

Abrasive Nylon Cup Brushes

As a full-line supplier of surface finishing solutions, Brush Research Manufacturing (BRM) also provides cup brushes with abrasive nylon filaments. Cup brush nylon abrasive brushing tools are available with aluminum oxide and silicon carbide abrasives in a variety of grit sizes. Abrasive nylon cups are non-reactive, and provide an alternative to steel wire brushes for applications such as light deburring, edge blending, and general surface finishing.

Abrasive nylon cup brushes can be used in hand operations and with automated equipment, including CNC machinery. Available in different diameters, some of these power brushes feature a 5/8"-11 threaded arbor hole. Others have an integral shaft for use with handheld grinding tools and powered equipment. As with all power brushes, including wire cup brushes, maximum safe free speed (MSFS) in an important specification to consider. For more information about cup brushes, watch this short video.

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

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Flexible Honing for Engines

Posted July 21, 2014 4:54 PM by Brush Research

Do you rebuild gasoline or diesel engines? How about engine components such as valves, connecting rods, or crankshafts? Whether you're a professional engine mechanic or a dedicated do-it-yourselfer, Brush Research Manufacturing (BRM) offers surface finishing solutions that are versatile, reliable, and easy-to-use. BRM Flex-Hone tools can be used with a handheld electric drill, and do not require special training, expensive equipment, or complex setups or clean-ups.

Engine Cylinders

Flexible honing tools improve surface finish and remove burrs at the same time. Designed for inner diameter (ID) applications, BRM's flexible cylinder hones are also known as ball hones because of their distinctive appearance. Made with abrasive globules that are permanently laminated to flexible nylon filaments, ball hones are self-centering, self-aligning to the bore, and self-compensating for wear. Always use these engine hones with a lubricant, preferably BRM's specially formulated Flex-Hone oil.

With its low-temperature, low-pressure abrading process, flexible honing produces a substantially flat surface that's free of jagged peaks and cut, torn, or folded metal. The plateau finish that the Flex-Hone imparts features a cross-hatch pattern of oil-retaining valleys for optimum lubrication. With used engine cylinders, BRM ball hones can be used to break the glaze-like finish that forms on cylinder walls. In this way, cylinder deglazing promotes proper lubrication along with piston ring seating and sealing.

BRM engine hones are ideal for cylinder wall surface finishing, but they're not designed for heavy-duty material removal. Rigid hones can impart an uneven or unidirectional crosshatch, but honing stones are recommended for initial honing, cylinder resizing, and geometry correction. When selecting honing tools for cylinder wall surface finishing then, use the BRM Flex-Hone to deglaze or surface finish the walls of cylinders that are not out-of-round or that require resizing.

Engine Components

As BRM's Flex-Hone Blog attests, professional and DIY mechanics alike are using flexible honing tools to deburr, deglaze, and surface finish engine cylinders. These aren't the only engine-related applications for Flex-Hone® technology, however, as BRM explains on the automotive industry page of its website. In addition to these on-line resources, MSB Tuning has documented its own experiences using flexible cylinder hones on engine components.

In Flex-Hone Applications for Engines, the engine tuner describes the successful surface finishing of main bearing tunnels, conrod big-end tunnels, OHC camshaft tunnels, valve guides, DOHL lifter bores, and in-block hydraulic lifter bores. The engine shop also notes "miscellaneous uses" such as with water pump tubing. "If there is a hole and I need to surface finish it," the author explains, "then I Flex-Hone it".

Available for any type or size cylinder, Flex-Hone tools come in a variety of abrasive types and grit sizes. For example, to surface finish a connecting rod, MSB Tuning used an 800-grit silicon carbide (SC) cylinder hone. To impart a very fine fish, the tuner talked about using aluminum oxide (AO) instead. For complete information about abrasive selection, tool selection, and ball hone use, download the Flex-Hone Resource Guide from the BRM website today.

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

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