The Art of Finishing: Surface Treatments for CNC Machined Parts



1. The Importance of Surface Treatments

2. Common Surface Finishing Techniques

3. Factors to Consider When Choosing a Surface Treatment

4. Customizing Surface Treatments to Meet Your Needs

5. Tips for Maintaining Surface Treatment Quality

The Art of Finishing: Surface Treatments for CNC Machined Parts

Finishing treatments are an essential aspect of CNC machining. They not only enhance the visual appeal of a part, but they also improve their functionality and durability. Surface treatments such as anodizing, powder coating, and polishing offer excellent protection against corrosion, wear, and tear. In this article, we will delve into the art of finishing and explore some of the most common surface finishing techniques used in CNC machining.

The Importance of Surface Treatments

CNC machining is a highly precise manufacturing process that produces accurate and intricate parts. However, these parts may not be suitable for their intended use until they undergo post-processing. Finishing treatments help to refine the surface of a part, eliminating any imperfections such as burrs and sharp edges. Additionally, they can add a layer of corrosion-resistant properties that can extend the life of the part. Surface treatments also change the aesthetics of a component, making it more appealing to consumers.

Common Surface Finishing Techniques

There are various types of surface treatments available; the most common include anodizing, powder coating, polishing, and plating. Anodizing involves electrolytic oxidation of aluminium or other metals to produce a protective oxide layer on their surface. The process not only increases the corrosion resistance but also adds color to the surface. Powder coating involves applying a dry powder onto an electrostatically charged surface. It is then cured with heat, creating a durable and attractive finish.

Polishing is a technique that involves grinding and buffing the surface of a part to create a smooth and shiny surface. It can be done manually or mechanically, depending on the complexity of the part. Plating involves coating a metal with a thin layer of another metal to improve its appearance and properties, such as abrasion resistance.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Surface Treatment

Choosing the right surface treatment depends on the intended application, the environmental conditions that the part will be subjected to, and its material composition. For example, an aerospace component that requires high strength and is exposed to harsh weather conditions may require anodizing or powder coating. A medical device may require biocompatible surface treatment to prevent corrosion and contamination. A consumer product may require a decorative finish such as chrome plating.

Customizing Surface Treatments to Meet Your Needs

Manufacturers can customize surface treatments by altering the parameters of the treatment to meet the specific needs of a customer. For example, a black anodized finish may be tweaked to achieve a matte or glossy look. A powder coat finish can be fine-tuned to achieve a particular color or texture. Polishing can be customized to create a mirror finish or a brushed look.

Tips for Maintaining Surface Treatment Quality

The effectiveness of a surface treatment depends on the quality of the treatment and the care taken during handling and installation. Here are a few tips to maintain the quality of your surface treatment:

1. Avoid handling the treated surface with bare hands since it can transfer oil or moisture that can deteriorate the surface finish.

2. Store treated parts in a dry and clean environment to prevent accumulation of dust and moisture.

3. Follow the recommended cleaning and maintenance procedures to prevent the buildup of foreign material on the surface.

4. Avoid harsh chemicals that can corrode or damage the surface treatment.

5. Inspect the treated parts periodically to detect any signs of wear or damage.


In conclusion, surface treatments are an essential aspect of CNC machining, and their importance should not be overlooked. The choice of a surface treatment depends on several factors, and manufacturers can customize them for specific needs. Proper handling and maintenance of the treated parts can ensure the quality of the surface finish. By understanding the art of finishing, manufacturers can produce parts that are both visually appealing and effective in their intended application.


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