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Surface finishes

Bead blasting services

Bead blasting cleans and evens out the surface of your custom parts, improving the functionality and cosmetic quality. It leaves a uniform matte or satin texture on machined parts by administering high-pressure glass beads on the components. A solely cosmetic option is available on request.

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Bead blasting specifications

Applicable materials Media Cosmetic availability Visual appearance
Aluminum, Copper, Mild steel, Titanium, Brass, Alloy steel, Stainless steel, Tool steel Glass beads with grit #120 Cosmetic upon request Grainy, slightly matte texture. Machining marks are reduced for “non-cosmetic” options and entirely removed on primary surfaces for “cosmetic” options.

Example of a bead blasted part

Example of a bead blasted part on Aluminum
Close up on an example of a bead blasted part on Aluminum

How does a bead blasting surface finish work?

Bead blasting smooths metals by blasting them with abrasive glass beads, which are shot out of a blasting tool at high pressure. Larger, coarser beads leave a grainy, matte texture, while smaller beads result in a satin finish. Suitable for a variety of hard metals, it’s an effective method of polishing and deburring parts after machining.

Protolabs Network offers bead blasting for metal parts to improve functional and cosmetic properties. To find out more, contact

The Protolabs Network bead blasting process

Here’s how Protolabs Network bead blasts your custom parts:

  • Parts are first manufactured using a CNC machine

  • Operators send parts to a bead blaster right after machining 

  • Parts are blasted with glass media (grit #120)

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