Case Study

The EC Hopkins Guide to Finishing Stainless Steel & Tube Pipe

Finishing stainless steel tube and pipe is something that many have found themselves doing for the first time. As stainless steel has become a more popular choice, fabricators are discovering that it can be a tough material to work with. While it's a strong and robust material, it can also sustain minor but visible damage easily, from scratches and blemishes. A good quality finish on stainless steel products is a must as the use of the material becomes more popular in different industries. Stainless steel is usually left uncoated and unpainted too, making a quality finish essential. So how can fabricators ensure a high-quality finish on stainless steel tube and pipe?

Griders For Tube
Castle Drogo Front

Changing Demands

In the past, a basic brush finish on stainless steel might have been enough to satisfy customers. However, the demand for stainless steel tube and pipe in industries such as pharmaceuticals, food manufacturing, and the cosmetics industry combined with higher aesthetic standards have led to the need for a range of finishes. The right fabrication tools can help fabricators to meet these demands, from large abrasive machines to handheld and portable machines. At EC Hopkins, we can help with all of the tools required to cover seams, polish stainless steel, and manoeuvre around the bends and corners or tubing and piping.

Machines Matched to Finishing Stainless Steel Tube & Pipe

When the tools aren't suited to the job of tube polishing and pipe polishing, fabricators might find themselves trying to cobble together inefficient solutions. The right tools are essential to get the best results, keep costs down, and even ensure safety in the workshop. The metal fabrication tools at EC Hopkins include specialist abrasive tools for pipe and tube work, including a belt grinder designed for tube. Our handheld and portable tools include polishers, grinders, and sanders that are perfect for use with tubes and pipes.

Finishing Bent and End-formed Stainless Steel

One of the challenges of finishing stainless steel tube and pipe is doing so after the product has been bent or end-formed. Some fabricators may be unaware that they can finish bent tubes or unsure about which tools to use. A handheld, wraparound tube and pipe finisher is one example of a tool that will get the job done. Certain styles of linishers are ideal for tackling bent or irregularly shaped tube and pipe. Other ways to finish off tube and pipe include washing, applying spray-on coatings, and even robotic finishing instead of manual finishing.

A Tougher Approach to Stainless Steel

Stainless steel can vary in grade when it comes to hardness and might require the use of coarser grit belts for polishing. It might also be necessary for tougher stainless steel products to be put through machines twice to get the desired surface finish. Multilayered abrasives can help with finishing stainless steel of different hardness, from soft to very hard. They can give a uniform finish and they also last longer than single-layer belts.


Finishing stainless steel tube and pipe can present its challenges, but it's easier with the right tools at your disposal.

Hopkins Wraparound tube polisher for graining and polishing of tube and balustrade

The Hopkins Tube Polisher / Wraparound Pipe Sander requires only a few steps to polish the entire circumference as the belt wraps around the component.

It is ideal for stainless steel, aluminium and high-quality metals. For grinding & polishing up to 180 degrees of component continuously so ideal for balustrade work both during production and final finish. Ideal for staircase, balustrade and chassis work.

Full range of consumables available.

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