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ME 152 – Engineering Design Communication II Surface Finish Specification

Surface Finish:
In addition to plus/minus and geometric tolerancing requirements, it is often necessary to specify information regarding surface finish. The proportions of the basic surface finish symbol are shown below.

Surface Finish:
Sometimes bearing surfaces or vacuum devices require specifications beyond just the surface roughness height. This could include roughness width, roughness width cutoff, waviness height, waviness width, and machining mark lay direction. The illustration below indicates where each of these specifications would be placed on the surface finish symbol.

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ME 152 – Engineering Design Communication II Surface Finish Specification
Surface Finish:
The symbols shown below are used to indicate a specific direction or pattern for the machining marks, this is called the machining mark lay direction. Be sure the symbol is placed in the proper position on the surface finish symbol as shown on the previous slide.

Surface Finish:
The surface roughness value may be specified in microinches or micrometers. The chart below shows what the average surface roughness (both micrometer and microinch) common machining processes typically produce. The chart also shows extremes for the machining process on both ends of the average range.

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ME 152 – Engineering Design Communication II Surface Finish Specification
Surface Finish:
 Parts do not go from flame cutting to lapping in one step. The smooth finishes require multiple processes, each process takes time and increases part cost. The increase in cost is not linear!  Be careful about going below normal machine finishes (32 µ in. / 0.8 µ m).  Finishing metal is similar to finishing wood, or the fancy paint job on a car. The paint job looks like Lake Tahoe because someone has spent a great deal of time working out the scratches. Working down to finer and finer grades of sandpaper, and then into polishing and buffing compounds. It is not the paint or the clear coat, it is the time spent sanding, rubbing, and polishing between the coats. It is the same with metal, extra time taking light cuts at high speeds, then grinding, then polishing, lapping, and honing.

Surface Finish:
This sheet from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory shows the dramatic increase in cost as the surface finish departs from what is produced by standard fabrication equipment. Keep in mind that the surfaces on the example shown are all planar, more complex surfaces would provide even a more dramatic increase in price.

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