Removing Tooling Marks on Bent Inconel Tube
A customer recently asked us how they could remove tooling marks & polish a selection of Inconel tubes ranging from 25 to 51mm in diameter with a number of different bend formations. Luckily, our Garboli LPC 300 demo machine was perfect for the job.
How Aggressive a Belt Can We Use?
The coarser the belt the faster the rate of cut but for this application the aerospace end user of these inconel tubes put process restrictions on which abrasives could be used. The belts had to be aluminium oxide and no coarser than 180 grit.
Initial trials were conducted with our Garboli demonstration machine which was fitted with the 180 grit JF4Top Aluminium Oxide belt which also contains coolants & grinding aids – ideal for working on inconel. JF4top is a very flexible belt material but to increase the flexibility further we conducted this trial using belts with a wave-cut edge. The wave-cut edge increases the operators ability to manoeuvre the workpiece easily as the tube is passed through the machine and removes the risk of leaving chatter marks around the tube. Especially useful when working with tubes of different shapes and sizes as we were!
As you can see, the JF4T belt was able to consistently remove the tooling marks and to leave a clean, bright finish without removing too much material from the tube.
Our next stage included switching belts to the Surface Conditioning belt. This allows you to work deep into the bends of the work piece to reduce some of the deeper bending marks and other remaining surface damage.
Below is the difference before the tube had gone through the Garboli machine and after the two belts were used on the workpiece.
Hints and Tips:
- Work out how you will feed the tube through the machine before you do it for real! This is especially useful when you are working with an unusual shaped tube.
- Keep the heat down. Inconel really does not like being worked at high temperature.
- Set the Garboli machine to run at the right speed. Working on the Inconel tubes we set the machine at 22 m/s.