Lapping is used for fine machining of a workpiece, so it is usually the last step of machining after milling or turning. Like honing and grinding, it is a machining process with geometrically indeterminate cutting edges consisting of the edges of many tiny crystals. However, unlike grinding and honing, the abrasive grains, usually corundum in powder form, are loosely distributed in a lapping fluid or paste during lapping. This lapping mixture is applied to a plate, called a lapping wheel, on which the workpiece is moved in a circular motion. Depending on the grain size, material is removed from the workpiece at different rates.
Lapping is mostly used for machining hard workpieces made of steel, carbide or ceramics and for tolerances of a few microns. Lapping increases the corrosion resistance of the workpiece and produces sharp but burr-free edges.
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