We get a lot of questions about Flex-Hones® and Ultra-Finish Plateau Hones so in this week’s Tech Tip I’ll give a quick explanation on the differences between them.
The most common Flex-Hone® is made of silicon-carbide. This is a silicon-carbide ball, affixed to a flexible nylon filament, connected to a drive shaft, driven by a portable drill. They are used to hone cast iron cylinders. Silicon-carbide is a strong, blocky abrasive that wears well and removes material quickly.
The aluminum-oxide hone is constructed just as the silicon-carbide is. The difference is that the aluminum-oxide material is most effective in steel and Nicasil cylinders. The material is a softer grain, allowing it to break down, exposing new sharp abrasive grains making it aggressive enough to remove and prepare the finish on hard material cylinders.
Diamond flex hones, being the most expensive, are our last abrasive material. These are usually used in small diameters because of the cost. The diamond abrasive removes material most effectively in non-ferrous materials such as valve guides manufactured of bronze, copper, and other alloys.
OK, now for soft hones, whisker hones, plateau hones, and ultra finish hones. Despite all of the names, they are the same thing and they are not hones in the true sense. Instead, they are a cleanup tool for materials severed in the honing process. Abrasive material is mixed into the mono filament bristles of this tool. Shaped as the other abrasive hones, this hone has no abrasive balls attached. Remember the abrasive is in the bristles in a very small amount. This hone will not deglaze, it is designed to deburr or remove severed or partially severed material hanging in the bore hidden in the hone marks.
For a more extensive explanation of the differences and uses of Flex-Hones® and Ultra-Finish Plateau Hones, check out this article in our Technical Library.