Drag Finishers

We offer a wide range of drag finishing machines, from 2 head to 6 head models, as well our AutoHone™ robotic reverse drag/stream finisher. Our Tool Series drag finishers are pre-configured with tooling, giving your facility the ultimate out-of-the-box solution! Hone & polish inserts, end mills, taps, reamers, drills, or any other cutting tool, of any material, whether coated or uncoated.

If you are unsure what equipment and media you require to achieve your desired surface finish, then send us your part, and we will evaluate it free-of-charge and provide you with a metrology report.

Vertical Drag Finishers

Drag Finisher Two Head Bel Air

This small two-head model is economical, and its compact form factor makes it especially suitable for a work cell environment. Competitively priced and includes a digital PLC control panel.

The standard model is pictured here. We also have model packages with tooling for the cutting tool edge-prep, honing, and polishing industries, as well as models specific to the pharmaceutical industry, used for the polishing of pill punches.

Automated Drag Finishers: Custom Systems

auto hone

The Bel Air AutoHone™ is a robotic honing and polishing machine that employs Bel Air’s tried and true Reverse Drag Finisher Technology. In the reverse drag finishing process, the process media is moving at a high rate of speed. This high speed causes the media to “stream” across the work piece. When the stream hits the work piece, it produces a high-energy “wave”, much like a wave in the ocean. This process, when coupled with the infinite degree of part articulation provided by the six-axis robot allows for a complete, even and repeatable process that is not achievable by hand finishing, or other types of equipment.

This model pictured is for cutting tool edge-prep, honing and polishing. Standard models service the aerospace, firearms, medical and many other industry components.

Reverse Drag Finishers: Spindle Finishers and Stream Finishers

Reverse Drag Finisher for Beburring and Polishing Long Parts

In our Reverse Drag Finishers, abrasive or polishing media moves at speeds of up to 2000 surface feet per minute, allowing the processing of large and small parts on arm mounted chucks. Centrifugal force spins the finishing media into a form fitting grinding wheel while the arm rotates the parts slowly in a “reverse drag” operation assuring uniform deburring and finishing of all surfaces.

Horizontal Drag Finisher

Hoizontal Drag Finisher, Deburr and Polish Long Parts

This design allows for drag finishing of parts that are too long or bulky for traditional vertical drag operations. Based on the design/build for rifle barrels finishing project, this new machine is very robust and will stand up to the most rigorous use in the industrial sector.

The HDF 2000 and the HDF 4000 are available in a batch unit configurations, or semi-automated version that includes indexing load/unload, as pictured on the front cover. The adjustable tail stock mechanism allows for a part range of 2″ – 36″ in length, providing for a machine that is fully scalable to your requirements. Up to ten individual parts may be processed at one time. Even with the batch machine, load/unload is a one-hand operation as the part is released via a foot-pedal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Drag finishing machines are used for a variety of purposes related to improving the surface quality of metal parts. Here are some of their key applications:

  • Edge Preparation of all type of cutting tools, to improve performance up to 500%
  • Polishing of cutting tools, post coating, to improve performance by running cooler at faster cutting speeds.
  • Deburring: Removing sharp edges and burrs left behind from machining processes like cutting, drilling, and stamping. This improves the safety and functionality of the part. 
  • Polishing: Creating a smooth, high-gloss finish on the surface of the part. This can enhance the appearance and improve wear resistance.
  • Edge rounding: Smoothing out sharp edges to a specific radius, which an improve the part’s aesthetics and functionality.
  • Radius blending: Creating a smooth transition between different radii on a part.
  • Surface refinement: Removing light surface imperfections such as scratches, oxidation, and heat treat scale.
  • Cleaning: Removing contaminants and residues from the surface of the part.

Drag finishing machines are particularly well-suited for delicate parts or parts with complex geometries that would be difficult to finish using other methods. They are also a good choice for high-volume production runs as they can process multiple parts simultaneously.

Compared to other finishing methods, drag finishing machines offer several distinct advantages:

Superior Finish Quality: 

  • Consistent and Precise: Drag finishing achieves highly consistent and precise finishes due to the controlled movement of parts through the media, ensuring uniform surface treatment across all areas.
  • High Gloss Polishing: The ability to achieve high-gloss finishes is a hallmark of drag finishing, making them ideal for applications where aesthetics are crucial.
  • Minimal Material Removal: Unlike abrasive methods like grinding or blasting, drag finishing removes minimal material while achieving desired surface improvements.

Efficiency and Speed: 

  • Faster Processing: Drag finishing is significantly faster than alternative methods like vibratory finishing, often completing processes in a fraction of the time. This translates to increased production throughput and reduced costs.
  • Reduced Labor Costs: The automated nature of drag finishing minimizes the need for manual labor, leading to lower overall operational costs.
  • Batch Processing: Drag finishing machines can handle multiple parts simultaneously, making them suitable for high-volume production runs.

Part Protection and Versatility: 

  • No Part-on-Part Contact: Unlike tumbling or vibratory finishing, parts are individually mounted in drag machines, preventing nicks, scratches, or damage from part-to-part contact. This is crucial for delicate or highvalue components.
  • Wide Material Compatibility: Drag finishing can be used effectively with a broad range of materials, including metals, plastics, and even ceramics, making it a versatile solution for various applications.
  • Suitable for Complex Geometries: The controlled movement of parts in drag finishing allows for effective finishing of complex shapes and intricate features that might be difficult or impossible with other methods.

Overall, drag finishing machines offer a combination of superior finish quality, efficiency, and part protection, making them a valuable option for various finishing applications across numerous industries.

Drag finishing machines are well-suited for a wide range of parts, particularly those requiring specific characteristics:

Material Compatibility: 

  • Metals: Drag finishing excels with various metals, including:
  • Stainless Steel: A popular choice due to its widespread use and resistance to corrosion.
  • Aluminum: Commonly used for its lightweight properties and machinability.
  • Brass and Copper: Often used for their aesthetics and electrical conductivity.
  • Tool steels: Benefit from improved surface quality, extending tool life and cutting performance.
  • Precision Metals: Often used for high polished finishes on jewelry items

Part Characteristics: 

  • Delicate Parts: Due to the controlled and gentle nature of the process, drag finishing is ideal for fragile components that might be damaged by harsher methods.
  • Complex Geometries: Parts with intricate shapes, internal features, or tight tolerances can be effectively finished with drag machines, reaching areas other methods might miss.
  • High-Value Parts: The minimal material removal and gentle finishing action make drag finishing ideal for expensive or critical components.
  • Parts Requiring High-Gloss Finish: Drag finishing excels at achieving a mirror-like finish, making it suitable for parts with aesthetic or functional requirements for a smooth surface.

Examples of Parts Suitable for Drag Finishing:

  • Medical implants and instruments
  • Jewelry and watch components
  • Aerospace and automotive parts
  • Electronics and optics components
  • Firearms and weapon parts
  • Molding and forming tools
  • Cutting and drilling tools
  • Decorative hardware and fasteners

While drag finishing offers versatility, it’s essential to consult with Bel Air Finishing to determine if your specific parts are suitable for their machines and desired finishing results.

Bel Air Finishing offers several types of drag finishing machines, each catering to different needs and production volumes:

1. Vertical Drag Finishers:

Available in various configurations, ranging from 2 to 6 heads, offering flexibility for different batch sizes. Well-suited for:

  • Deburring and polishing cutting tools like drills, taps, and end mills.
  • Finishing medical and pharmaceutical parts like pill punches.
  • Processing smaller, intricate components.

2. Horizontal Drag Finisher: 

  • Unique to the industry, design and built for firearms manufacturers Leupold and Storm Range
  • Designed for continuous, high-volume production of lengthy parts that are not applicable to the standard vertical drag finisher.
  • Features a conveyor belt continuously feeding parts into the finishing process.

Ideal for:

  • Large quantities of uniform parts requiring consistent finishing.
  • Applications demanding high throughput.

3. Reverse Drag Finishers (Spindle Finishers and Stream Finishers): 

Utilize a unique technology where the part spins while being dragged through the media, creating a continuous “stream” of media contact.

Offers:

  • Unique to the industry, design and built for aerospace blisk manufacturer
  • Superior surface quality and edge finishing.
  • Faster processing times compared to traditional drag finishing.
  • Well-suited for applications requiring exceptional surface refinement.

4. Automated Drag Finishing Systems:

  • Unique to the industry to automate cutting too edge prep and polishing
  • Can be customized to integrate with existing production lines.
  • Include features like robotic loading and unloading, automated media handling, and process control systems.

Ideal for:

  • High-volume, automated production environments.
  • Demanding applications requiring consistent and repeatable finishing results.

Additional Considerations: 

  • Each type of machine comes with varying capacities, features, and automation levels.
  • Bel Air Finishing also offers “Tool Series” drag finishers, pre-configured with specific tooling for cutting tool applications.

By understanding the different types of drag finishing machines manufactured by Bel Air Finishing, you can select the most suitable option for your specific part requirements, production volume, and budget.

1. Vertical Drag Finishers: 

Number of Heads: 2 to 6 heads, offering varying batch processing capabilities.

Capacity: Varies depending on the model and tooling, typically ranging from a few kilograms to tens of kilograms per batch.

Features:

  • Programmable controls for process parameters like cycle time, media speed, and direction.
  • Easy loading and unloading of parts through individual fixtures.
  • Chamber-Lift™ technology for simplified media changes and cleaning.
  • Optional features like automatic media top-up and separation systems.

2. Horizontal Drag Finisher: 

Capacity: Designed for continuous processing of small parts, with variable feed rates to suit production needs.

Features:

  • Conveyor belt system for continuous part feeding and discharge.
  • Adjustable arm for processing parts of varying lengths.
  • Programmable controls for speed, direction, and cycle times.
  • Optional features like automated part loading and unloading systems.

3. Reverse Drag Finishers (Spindle Finishers and Stream Finishers): 

Capacity: Varies depending on the model and size of the arm, typically handling individual parts or small batches.

Features:

  • Spindle rotation for part movement combined with drag finishing action.
  • High media speeds for achieving superior surface finishes.
  • Faster processing times compared to traditional drag finishing.
  • Optional features like automated part loading and unloading systems.

4. Automated Drag Finishing Systems: 

Customization: Can be designed to integrate with existing production lines and specific part handling requirements.

Capacity: High-volume processing capabilities depending on the system configuration.

Features:

  • Robotic loading and unloading for increased automation and process efficiency.
  • Automated media handling systems for consistent media levels and separation.
  • Integrated process control systems for precise parameter control and data logging.

Consulting with Bel Air Finishing directly is recommended to determine the most suitable machine for your specific application and part requirements.

Why choose Bel Air Finishing’s Drag Finisher family of machines?

  • Designed and built in the USA
  • Bel Air builds machines based upon your specific needs
  • Preventative maintenance service is part of Bel Air’s offering
  • Process Technology is a part of Bel Air’s offering
  • Media is manufactured by Bel Air based on your parts finish, specifically