Surface Finishing for the Firearms Industry
Firearm parts in the raw machined state require high-grade cleaning and metal prep to ensure the best possible outcome for the Type III hardcoat anodized finish. We have ultrasonic cleaning available to clean your parts, get oils out of blind holes and prevent debris from contaminating the substrate.
Our capabilities and expertise allow us to perform state-of-the-art finishing services in-house for a broad range of firearm parts for manufacturers throughout the country.
Most Common Finished Firearm Parts:
- AR Frames
- Aluminum Handgun Frames
- Lower Receivers
- Upper Receivers
- Buffer or Extension Tubes
- Charging Handles
- Barrel Nuts
- Gas Blocks
Steps of the Firearm Finishing Process
Step 1: Review Product Details
Once we receive your RFQ, our sales staff and production team will work together to determine the approximate cost of your project. We will then contact you to discuss your project and follow up with any questions that you may have. Once we have been given the green light, we will proceed with the initial steps of the firearm metal parts finishing process.
Please note the following: To ensure accuracy of our quotes we need to know some of the basics like “how will we receive the parts”? most customers use cell divide packaging to ensure the parts are protected during shipment and cost-effective to handle. Another important factor for the quote is “what is the production lot size”, it helps with accuracy and lead time if we know the approx. lot size, we work with many of our customers on specific lot size to help with cost and lead-times. Any up-front knowledge will help ensure you get the best possible price and speedy RFQ.
Step 2: Vapor Degreasing
The vapor degreasing process provides thorough parts cleaning by removing the machine oils from the raw aluminum, preventing contamination from embedding into the substrate. This adds a superior final finish and ensures that the material will look uniform and help prevent bleed out later in the process.
Step 3: Prepare Metal for Anodizing
We offer two deburring options, Tumble deburring & Hand deburring:
Option 1: Tumble Deburring
The tumble deburring process can be done as a first step to help break sharp edges caused by machining. Some machine shops send the parts here already tumbled some have us do it.
Option 2: Hand Deburring
Hand deburring offers a more targeted and aggressive option for removing any type of burr or edge. This option will be used to remove burrs from sharp edges that need to remain sharp/even such as picatinny rails, where tumble media can sometimes cause denting.
Step 4: Blasting
We offer two blasting options, Auto Blast & Precision Hand Blasting:
Option 1: Auto Blast
The auto blast option is the most cost-effective way to provide the best uniform finish possible. This process will also give the parts more of a satin finish. The auto blast process uses a wheel blast system vs air blast system, our auto blast system allows us to rack the parts so each and every part gets the same coverage from the first one to the last.
Option 2: Precision Hand Blasting
Hand blasting is used to provide a dull matte finish using aluminum oxide. Hand blasting is a bit more expensive than the auto blast, however, it does offer a different finish. Some of our customers use this as their blasting choice and in some cases have us apply oil to the final finish.
Step 5: Hardcoat Type III, Class 2 Anodize
Within the Type III class 2 hard coat anodizing process, 99.9% of all aluminum firearm parts get black hard coated, however, we can offer some other colors as well. Some of the other anodized aluminum colors we commonly get requests for olive drab green and gunmetal gray. The colors will differ from 6061 aluminum and 7075 aluminum just a bit because of the natural content within those metals, but we can get them close.
After the parts have run in the sulfuric acid bath per the MIL A 8625 specification, the load is removed, and the coating thickness is verified.
After rinsing, the parts are dyed to the specific color, sealed, and dried.
Step 6: Documentation & Inspection
All information is logged into our custom software system to document all processing times and coating thickness for permanent record keeping. After the parts get back to the production floor, team leaders will inspect for flaws and verify all operations have been carried out per specifications. Parts are repackaged to prevent shipping damage and our customers are notified of the completion of the job if this is the last operation.
Optional Step 7: DFL or Dry Film Lube
DFL is applied by spraying and baking like paint. The benefits are it provides a slick surface, helps prevent wear. We provide this process as a step after the anodize bath. DFL adds lubricity to the material, providing a slick surface and helps prevent wear. The most common parts that benefit from DFL include buffer tubes, extension tubes, or upper receivers.
Optional Step 8: Laser Marking
Part laser marking is done mostly on Upper Receivers and Handguards but could be done on any of the parts. Upper receivers and handguards will receive the T-Marks and logos specified by the customer. We call this kind of marking bleaching. We are only removing the color, which is very small, while still providing the anodize protection that prevents corrosion.
Let Arrow Cryogenics Streamline Your Manufacturing Process with Our Inhouse Finishing Capabilities
As one of the most versatile finishing shops in America, Arrow Cryogenics has a proven track record for providing Quality, Value, and Efficiency to every job that we accept. Provide us with your firearm project requirements today.