What is Deburring?

Deburring is defined as a process of removing burrs and smoothing out the edges of the metal. It enhances the quality, boosts aesthetic value, and prevents distortion. Put simply, deburring is used to remove the unwanted marks from any piece of metal, plastic, PCV, or copper pipe.

Metal parts having jagged edges can pose a safety risk. They can not only cut those coming into contact with them, but the larger jagged edges can break off during an operation, leading to an unsafe working environment.

Depending on the application, burrs or rough edges can have unwanted functional consequences (e.g. making a car less aerodynamic).

Hence removing burrs and smoothing out these edges with a good deburring tool can make for a better looking, more efficient and/or safer piece of equipment.


How To Use A Deburring Tool

After you selected the right attachment for the job, attach it to the deburring tool. You should check your user’s manual to find out how to attach the particular piece. Make sure that the attachment is fully locked before you turn it on, and that you’re wearing good safety glasses for work.

Once your object is locked into place, turn on the deburring tool. Hold the tool so its placed right against the edge you’ll want to deburr. For instance, if you’re deburring wood, then you should place the tool right against the edge.

Repeat going over the affected burr area at least 3 times. If you’re using a PVC pipe, then you should rotate the deburring tool about 3 times to ensure that it’s cleaned. For rough edges, move the deburring tool slowly back and forth through the area 2-3 times.

After you’ve completed deburring an item, turn off the tool and remove it. Then, check the edges of the area to see if you’ve removed the larger burrs. If there are some burrs present, you can always remove them.

What is a Burr?

A burr is a deformed piece of metal at the center of the cutting edge. Basically, the burr is a small metal fold that appears on either edge that you’re grinding. A burr lets you know when you can stop sharpening on one part of the bevel and then switch to the other side.

Creating a burr can be problematic, especially if you’re trying to reprofile bevels with coarse stones. If you apply too much pressure when sharpening coarse stones, the burr won’t form at all or is larger than necessary. That’s why you’ll have to deburr it so you can continue working properly!

Metal Deburring Tool

Metals have a high chance of obtaining burrs. When working on metal, the pieces can bend or stretch. This is why metal edges are burred and are sharp in nature.

The edges need to be deburred with a sturdy deburring tool. Metals such as aluminum, cast iron, and copper can become deburred. Harder metals such as sheet metal and stainless steel have to be deburred repeatedly in order to achieve a polished finish.

Copper Pipe Deburring Tool

When you’re installing copper water supply pipes, each of the pipes is cut into length. Whatever process is needed, metal fragments or small burrs are left on the pipe cut’s rim, which has to be removed so it can be ready for soldering.

A handheld rotary tool or a deburring tool with the right accessory can remove these items before cleaning out the pipe surface. While the pipe can be cleaned with emery cloth, having a special copper cleaning brush can be used as well.

Plastic Deburring Tools

Plastic products are usually made by industrial molding machines. The molds can’t press themselves against one another to create a uniformly shaped product. Here, there are some burrs that are placed around the edges.

On a larger scale, plastic is removed by heat, but using a deburring tool is cheaper. It’s very easy to use with plastic because its softer than other materials. But there’s a small chance of scratching your product if you use it improperly.

It’s used by plumbers based on the PVC pipe they use. Once the pipe is cut into pieces, the edges start to get fuzzy. This can get in the way of proper fitting. Using a deburring tool can end this problem in a glimpse.

PVC Deburring Tool

Working with PVC pipes require cutting out various lengths using a hacksaw. This process leaves slag bits of plastic or burrs of plastic material placed around the inside and outside the periphery of the pipe that might be removed before connecting with another joint or pipe.

  1. Select the right size deburring tool that matches the inner and outer dimensions of the PVC pipe.
  2. Grip your PVC pipe that’s near the open end and hold it with one hand. We suggest that you wear safety goggles and gloves while working.
  3. Insert some paper towels at the end of your PVC pipe.
  4. Place the inner reamer in the PVC pipe until it’s seated. Rotate the tool at least 2-3 turns only.
  5. Remove the tool and check the inner periphery wall of the pipe to ensure that all of the burrs are removed.
  6. Place the outer end of your reamer tool to the outside periphery of the PVC pipe and turn it 2-3 times only.
  7. Remove the tool and check the pipe to see if the burrs are removed.
  8. Use medium-grade sandpaper to clean the edges of the PVC pipe. And remove the paper towels once you’re done.

Deburring Tool For Drill

A drill bit that has a retractable deburring cutter can be used for deburring and drilling burrs in a simple process. When doing this process, make sure that the tool removes the burrs. For larger burrs, you might need multiple blades to remove the burrs from the drilling holes.

Types of Deburring

With so many deburring tools and brand around, it’s easy to get confused. We’ll help you get up to speed by explaining the most common deburring tools you’ll need.

Manual Deburring

Manual Deburring is the most common form because it’s the most flexible. This only requires low-cost tools and can be inspected instantly.

You can manually deburr metal with tools such as:

  • Sandpaper
  • Reamers
  • Stones
  • Files
  • Scrapers

Electrochemical Deburring

Electromechanical deburring is when electrochemical machines are used to deburr hard to reach edges, like intersecting holes. It uses glycol solution or salt to help dissolve the burr. On average, the burrs are removed in around 5-10 seconds while the rest of the materials remain unaffected.

Thermal Deburring

Thermal deburring is a process that aims to eliminate burrs on components that are created by a specific process (i.e. die-casting, mechanical, etc.). This process uses thermal heat generated from a ignition of a similar material.

After that, the obtained energy uses oxygen, made from the first mixture, to remove waste, burrs, and unwanted cavities from the material. Any threaded parts, that were on the material won’t be removed because of the geometry of the similar thread.

Cryogenic Deburring

Unlike the traditional deburring process (that uses rough materials such as a sand paper, to smooth metal), cryogenic deburring is used to remove die-cast and plastic materials.

This process works by tumbling the workpieces at a -319.0 −F / -195 −C temperature range. Because of the low temperatures, the burrs and flashes are easily removed via media blasting or tumbling.

Mechanical Deburring

Mechanical deburring is a process that mechanically grinds the burr of the edge of the material. These mechanical burrs can occur from operations such as folding, stamping, or shearing.

With mechanical deburring techniques, workmen will be able to smooth out their metals and receive a high-quality finish and at a fraction of the time.

About Blake Sutton

Blake has worked as an electrician for over 10 years, receiving his Journeyman Electrician license in 1998. Looking to take his professional electrical career further, in 2008 he received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) from the University of Texas in Austin. Blake now works full time as an electrical engineer, specializing in power systems.