How to Satin Finish Stainless Steel Tubes to 240 Grit

    Apply a 240 grit satin finish to stainless steel tubes in three easy steps

    Satin finishing stainless steel tubes to a 240 grit finish is the most common specification for handrails and balustrades.  Whether for handrails or bollards, a fine 240 grit finish is easily achievable with this process.  Here we will explore how to remove bending and clamping marks.

    Note:  Although we have used the Cibo Finitube machine to demonstrate this process, there are many imported machines which operate using 760mm x 40mm belts.  To assist you in finding the right belts we have written this blog focused on the 760mm belt size.

    Process Overview

    • Step 1Remove the bending and clamp marks with the FF87/80/760×40.
    • Step 2Refine the 80 grit sanding marks and blend the finish with the FF87/180/760×40.
    • Step 3Deburr the 180 grit finish and leave a final 240 grit finish with the VT/RC2/760×40.  Remove grease and fingerprints with InoxiClean stainless steel protector spray, and leave a protective film on the workpiece.

    View the full process here.

    Step 1: Remove Bending Marks and Clamp Marks

    An 80 grit ceramic belt will have enough aggression and cut rate to remove even quite deep bending and clamp marks from the tube.  The FX87 and the FF87  belts are the premium ceramic belts supplied from Cibo.  FX87 80 grit ceramic belt (SKU: FX87/80/760×40) has a stiff backing and low flexibility, giving it high aggression.  However, it also means the belt won’t move freely around bent tube leaving chatter marks, this is why we recommend the FF87 80 grit ceramic belt for this application (SKU: FF87/80/760×40).  FF87 has the same aggression and similar cut rate to other Cibo Ceramic belts, but with increased flexibility.  The extra flexibility allows FF87 belts to maintain consistent contact with the tube through the bend without leaving chatter marks as they remove the bending and clamp marks.

    Video Note: FF87 80 grit ceramic belts (SKU: FF87/80/760×40) offer excellent stock removal and have enough flexibility to maintain a consistent connection to the workpiece through the bend. 

    Step 2: Remove 80 grit sanding marks and refine the finish

    Use 180 grit FF87 ceramic belts (SKU: FF87/180/760×40) to remove the 80 grit sanding marks left in step 1.  This step will refine the finish on the tube & provide an excellent base for the satin finish.

    Video Note: 180 grit FF87 ceramic belts will blend 80 grit sanding marks and refine the surface, leaving the workpiece ready to satin finish.

    Step 3: Apply a 240 grit finish to your stainless steel tube

    The 180 grit FF87 ceramic belt in step two will have removed the 80 grit sanding marks and refined the finish and left a 180 grit finish.  Please note, though that the stainless steel tube will have micro-burrs along the length of the tube.  Medium surface conditioning/scotch-brite/ scm belts (SKU: VT/RC2/760×40) will deburr the tube and leave a fine, soft-touch, 240 grit finish.  Finally, spray the finished stainless steel workpiece with Cibo’s InoxiClean protector spray (SKU: SPIC) to remove grease or fingerprints from the tube and leave behind a protective film.

    Video Note: medium surface conditioning belts (SKU: VT/RC2/760×40) will remove burrs left by the 180 grit ceramic belt, leaving a soft-touch satin finish.  Finally, why not spray InoxiClean stainless steel protector on your tube. This will remove fingerprints and grease, leaving a fine protective film. 

    The full process of applying a 240 grit satin finish to stainless steel tubes

    Want to watch the full process in one video?  In the four minute video, below, we demonstrate this easy three step process and explain the reasoning behind it.

    Note:  We have used the Cibo Finitube machine in preparing this video.  However, the process will work equally well on other tube polishers if the machine is powerful enough to allow the abrasives to work.

    What is the Best Machine for Sanding Stainless Steel Tubes?

    Wrapping belts up to 270 degrees around tubes and moving easily through bends, the Cibo Finitube is the first choice for tube polishing.  Any other tube polisher you may have will work with this process.  However, the belt coverage offered by the Finitube ensures that this process is applied consistently around the tube.  Additionally, keeping abrasive belts engaged with the workpiece – even through a bend – is no longer an issue with the Finitube’s stable belt tracking.  The Finitube runs with 675mm long abrasive belts, but alternative machines may run with belts that are 760mm, 820mm, 610mm or 533mm in length.

    Finitube handrail finishing machine
    Cibo Finitube – wraps around bends with ease