Feel the Heat with Micro Deburring


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One of the many challenges of machining tiny parts is the deburring process, called micro deburring. Micro deburring doesn’t always call for hand manicuring parts with a scalpel under 10× to 20× magnification. Although this process is still used, there are other micro deburring options, including mass finishing and thermal deburring.

Hand deburring is not usually the most efficient way to micro deburr. The minute size of the parts makes part handling difficult. Damage to parts, excessive material removal, losing or mixing parts, and missing burrs (the most common) are some of the potential pitfalls to consider. Therefore, proper training for handling these specialized parts is required, which is an added expense for a shop.

If light, external burrs need to be removed, mass finishing techniques are an option, where various types of media and methods of excitation of the parts relative to the media can be used. However, separating micro parts from the media is an obstacle with this process. But because of the low cost, this might be worth a try.

The traditional method of thermal deburring uses heat energy to remove burrs. Basically, the parts are sealed in a chamber with a mixture of methane and oxygen, then ignited to cause an explosion. The explosion creates an intense heat approaching several thousand degrees Fahrenheit within a fraction of a second. This heat energy attacks anything in the chamber with a high surface area-to-mass ratio, such as a burr. However, because of the size of these tiny parts, handling can be a struggle. As parts get smaller, tweezers or similar tools are used for the loading and unloading process.  

To help you further understand micro machining and its options, especially thermal deburring, read “Micro Deburring Gets Hot.”

Thermal deburring is also explained in “The Heat is On,” which contains a link to a white paper by Vectron on this topic.