Design and Technology (D&T) KS3: Finishing metal

This short film explains the most common and accessible ways to give metal components a polished, professional finish.

It's important to treat the surface of components made from metal to stop them changing colour and becoming damaged.

Teacher Notes

Points for discussion

  • Why do metals need to be clean, dry and free from rust and oil before applying a finish?
  • This film uses polyester plastic as a coating for metal. Can you think why you might use a different plastic for a different component?
  • If applying spray paint as a finish, why would you build up the final paint finish in repeated thin layers?
  • Why do you need to use red oxide paint on ferrous metals?
  • Why would you use a primer?
  • If you wanted to paint a piece of wood, would any of these skills be transferable?

Suggested activities

  • These techniques can be used on a huge range of metal-based components in KS3 projects and should be selected according to best use in KS4 RMT, product design, engineering and even graphic products projects.
  • Discuss the appropriate level of finish for a garden tool project.
  • Research and try oil quenching and/or tempering to provide a classy matt black finish to a steel multi tool blade.

Curriculum Notes

Suitable for teaching design and technology (D&T) at KS3/KS4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 3rd/4th levels in Scotland.

More from this series

Screwing components together
Marking and cutting a halving joint
Laminating wood