FAQs

Custom basket designs have several surface finish options available to improve the performance of the basket. There are finishes to improve the corrosion resistance of the base material. And there are a range of coatings available to protect the parts from scratches. Below is a very broad overview of design characteristics for some of the finishes and coatings we typically use in our custom baskets.

Surface Finishes for Custom Baskets Common processes used for baskets, many other options available:

  • Natural Finish Baskets: Baskets have the natural condition of the base material with no additional processing. The baskets are generally clean to the touch but may have a very small amount of residue from the manufacturing process and there may be some discoloration around welds. Natural finish baskets are entirely appropriate for most industrial manufacturing applications. Natural finish Carbon steel baskets are suitable for solvent cleaning, oil dipping and indoor material handling applications. Stainless Steel baskets with a natural finish are still corrosion resistant.
  • Electropolishing, Electropolished Baskets: (Stainless Steel Baskets only) Stainless Steel baskets are dipped into a tank of acid and an electrical charge passes thru the baskets to drive off all the free iron and other impurities from the top layer of material, leaving the surface very rich in nickel and chrome. The resulting surface is very smooth and hard, and very shiny. Electropolishing further improves the corrosion resistance of stainless steel baskets. Electropolishing is recommended for any ultrasonic cleaning applications.
  • Passivation, Passivated Baskets: (Stainless Steel Baskets only) Passivation is very similar to electropolishing, stainless baskets are dipped into a tank of acid but no electrical charge is used. Passivation is less aggressive at removing impurities than electropolishing and is rarely used as as surface finish for stainless steel baskets.
  • Other Surface Finishes: Electroplating with zinc, nickel or chrome adds some corrosion protection to carbon steel baskets. We make high volume zinc plated tote baskets but for most custom baskets Stainless Steel only) Passivation is very similar to electropolishing, stainless baskets are dipped into a tank of acid but no electrical charge is used. Passivation is less aggressive at removing impurities than electropolishing and is rarely used as as surface finish for stainless steel baskets

Surface Coatings applied Over Base Materials: Whenever custom baskets need to hold parts with polished or delicate surfaces, we protect the parts by using various coatings to “soften” the surfaces of the stainless steel baskets. We never recommend powder coating a mild steel basket hoping the coating will protect the basket from rust. At some point, the coating will develop a pinhole or small scratch exposing the mild steel which will rust very quickly and blister off the surrounding coating. We only recommend powder coating stainless steel baskets.

  • Nylon 11 Powder Coating: Nylon is an extremely versatile coating for parts washing baskets. Nylon 11 creates a soft surface to protect parts while still having good abrasion resistance. Nylon has good resistance to Salt water, Hydrocarbons, Solvents, Acids, Salts, and Alkalis. Nylon 11 coated wire baskets can withstand working temperatures up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically, we use Black Nylon 11 for our custom baskets, but other colors are available.
  • Snap-on UHMW Rod Covers: In custom baskets that need to hold parts with sharp corners or baskets with high wear areas, we use snap on UHMW to cover the critical basket rods. The UHMW Snap up covers are thicker and softer than powder coating and are very easily replaced if they wear through. UHMW is not as chemical resistant as Nylon, and should not be subjected to sustained temperatures above 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Other Powder Coating materials: Several other powder coatings are commonly used on custom stainless steel baskets for more extreme applications
  • Halar Powder Coating: Halar coating is actually the brand name for ethylene chlorotrifluoroethylene, or ECTFE. It has high impact strength, it is resistant to concentrated chemicals, and has a wide working temperature range (-105 degrees Fahrenheit to 300 degrees Fahrenheit). Halar is “better” than Nylon 11 for industrial baskets, but powder coating baskets with Halar is much more expensive than powder coating baskets with Nylon 11. We only recommend Halar coating stainless steel baskets for extreme applications.
  • Plastisol Dip Coating: Plastisol is applied to baskets by a dipping process that coats surfaces with a thick very soft vinyl coating. A wide variety of colors are available. In general, vinyl coatings have limited chemical, heat or abrasion resistance. Industrial baskets only get Plastisol coatings to improve the grip of handles, for process identification or cosmetic reasons only.
  • DEFINE CUSTOMER NEEDS: Every successful project begins by understanding the customer’s application.  Our Sales Team starts with some questions to capture the requirements:
    • GENERAL APPLICATION: Cleaning, Filtering, Chemical dip, Heat treating, FPI Inspection, etc.
    • APPLICATION ENVIRONMENT: -Ultrasonic, High Temperature, EVD-Enclosed Vapor Degreasing, Caustic Dip, Spray Wash
    • OTHER APPLICATION CONSTRAINTS: -Part orientation, Hold parts for Rotation, Heavy parts, Delicate parts, Max lifting weight, Part count per basket
    • WORK ENVELOPE SIZE: Dimensions of any tanks, conveyors, machine chambers, etc.
    • SMALLEST PART SIZE: -Opening size for mesh selection, Mesh openings should be just smaller than the smallest part
    • OTHER BASKET FEATURES:
      • Handles (Top, ends, swinging)
      • Lid (Hinged, latches, compression)
      • Part Orientation (Top loading only or Full rotation)
      • Divided compartments (solid metal, perforated, mesh walls)
      • Crossing Rod Grids
      • Pin Rack (spacing, length, radiused ends)
      • Part protection (Nylon 11 coating, UHMW)
      • Basket Stacking (Stack height)
      • Lifting (Single-point Hoist, Multi-point Sling Hoist, Fork Truck)
    • PART EXAMPLES: -Digital Models, Photos, Samples
  • BRAINSTORM ON DESIGN: This information is then reviewed and discussed by our Design Team with members from Engineering, Production, and Sales. This multi-disciplinary team draws on their combined experience to develop a design concept that balances:
    • DESIGN INTENT: Will the design work
    • MANUFACTURABILITY: Can the design be made easily and accurately
    • USABILITY: Is the design Safe, Intuitive, and Comfortable for end user
    • VALUE: Will the cost to make the basket be appropriate to the customer’s need.
  •  DESIGN DETAILS: The sketched and ideas from the Design Team then go to the CAD Designers to complete the design.
    • Ideally, the customer has supplied digital part models or physical part samples that we can digitize.  We start by positioning digital parts models within the work envelope constraints, paying close attention to how the parts are oriented to maintain part-to-part clearance.
    • With the digital parts positioned “in space”, the basket is designed outward to support and secure them during the process. We were able to experiment with different configurations within SolidWorks to find the design that was the most secure and the easiest to load.
    • Our design concept is then presented to the customer with engineering drawings or digital animations.   Because the parts, the basket, and sometimes even the process equipment has been drawn to scale, problems are easy to identify and correct before production begins.
  •  DIGITAL DESIGN TO CNC PRODUCTION: The approved basket design is fully captured digitally in SolidWorks.  With very little effort and no loss of accuracy, we are able export part programs directly to our CNC Rod Bending equipment and our CNC Machine Centers.

There has been some confusion over the relationship between “Three M Tool” and “AnySizeBasket.com”.

Three M Tool is the “brick and mortar” company in York, PA that has been designing and manufacturing wire baskets and related products since 2002.

AnySizeBasket.com was an innovative website that Three M Tool launched in 2007 that used menu-driven steps to help users design, price and order an almost unlimited variety of mesh baskets in “Any Size” they needed.  The website was so successful that Three M Tool created a division called “AnySizeBasket”.  Orders can be placed with either “AnySizeBasket” or “Three MTool”

Wire Mesh Nomenclature

  • Welded Wire Mesh: Cross wires are laid on top of long wires and are resistance welded together at each intersection creating very even square openings. Welded mesh is more rigid (less flexible) than woven wire mesh. Typically welded wire mesh is 4 mesh or larger (4 wires to the inch or less), and is .047” diameter wire or greater.
  • Woven Wire Mesh: Wires are woven, over-under-over-under, to create mesh that is more flexible than welded mesh. This flexibility allows woven mesh to be formed into one-piece bowls or pans. There is also an almost unlimited selection of woven wire mesh sizes and wire diameters.
  • Mesh Size Designation: All wire meshes are designated by a “Mesh Number” (number of wires per inch) and a “Wire Diameter” (the diameter of each wire).
    • Example: 4 mesh x 0.063″ woven wire has 4 wires per inch (in both directions) and each wire is 0.063″ in diameter.
  • Mesh Opening Size: The opening size of any mesh is approximately 1/(Mesh Number) minus (Wire Diameter).
    • Example: the openings in 4 mesh x 0.063″ woven wire are (1/4 – 0.063) or (.250-0.063) = 0.187

Selecting a base material for a custom basket design is a trade off between different material characteristics: weight versus strength, cost versus corrosion resistance, etc. We strive to optimize these trade-offs by thoroughly understanding each material’s strengths and weaknesses to create the best balance for each application. Below is a very broad overview of design characteristics for some of the materials we typically use.

  • Base Material Characteristics (Common materials used, limitless other options available):
    • Carbon Steel (also called Mild Steel): Strong and inexpensive, readily available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and is very easy to form and weld. Very limited corrosion resistance in natural finish. It can be plated or powder coated for some additional corrosion protection, but is generally not recommended for wet locations, ultrasonic or aqueous cleaning applications. Carbon steel is a great choice for manual solvent cleaning, oil dipping and indoor material handling applications.
    • 304 Stainless Steel: The most common of the industrial stainless steel grades. It’s readily available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, relatively easy to form and weld. Good high temperature strength to 1200°F. Good corrosion resistance in wet and mildly caustic environments. Can be powder coated for added part protection. Electropolishing is recommended for all ultrasonic applications.
    • 316 Stainless Steel: Slightly stronger, better corrosion resistance and better high temperature strength than 304 stainless. Available in most shapes. Still relatively easy to form and weld. Good high temperature strength to 1600°F. Good corrosion resistance in salt water, acidic and alkaline environments. Can be powder coated for added part protection. Electropolishing is recommended for all ultrasonic applications.
    • 330 Stainless Steel and other highed Nickel-content alloys: Better high temperature strength than 304 and 316 stainless. Limited selection of shapes available. Higher nickel content makes it more difficult to form and weld. Good high temperature strength to 2200°F. Good corrosion resistance in acidic and alkaline environments.
    • Other materials: Obviously, there are an unlimited number of other metals with enhanced properties for greater strength, lighter weight, better corrosion resistance, etc.

Most baskets are lined with either woven wire mesh, welded wire mesh, expanded metal, or perforated steel. Each lining material has distinct advantages and disadvantages.

  • Wire Mesh Is designated by a “Mesh Number” (number of wires per inch) and a “Wire Diameter” (the diameter of each wire). The opening size is approximately 1/(Mesh Number) minus (Wire Diameter). Click here to see some sample Wire Mesh Sizes
    • Welded Wire Mesh: Cross wires are laid on top of long wires and are resistance welded together at each intersection creating very even square openings. Welded mesh is more rigid (less flexible) than woven wire mesh. Typical welded wire mesh is 6 mesh or larger, and is .047” diameter wire or greater.
    • Woven Wire Mesh: Wires are woven, over-under-over-under, to create mesh that is more flexible than welded mesh. This flexibility allows woven mesh to be formed into one-piece bowls or pans. There is also an almost unlimited selection of woven wire mesh sizes and wire diameters.
  • Perforated Metal Solid sheet metal with typically round holes punched in even rows. Hole diameters are rarely smaller than the material thickness. Perforated metals are designated by hole diameter, hole spacing, and material thickness. Readily available in carbon and 304 stainless steel, with limited sizes in other materials. This is the best lining choice for a very smooth surface, but typically has less open space than wire mesh or expanded metal. Click here to see some sample Perforated Metal Sizes 
  • Expanded Metal Solid sheet metal that is slit and pulled open (expanded) to create a sheet of diamond shaped openings. Designated by diamond size and material thickness. Expanded metal as an effective industrial basket lining should have supporting perimeter frames or protective U-edging on on all exposed edges. Expanded metal is a low cost material,  but quite often the added difficulties in basket fabrication will offset any material savings.
    • Expanded Metal (standard): Very inexpensive material. The surface of the sheet is rough and the edges of the diamond-shaped holes have many sharp edges that should be considered in the design process.
    • Flattened Expanded Metal (FEM): Standard expanded metal is rolled (“Flattened”) to create a smoother sheet with fewer burrs and sharp edges, although the diamond-shaped holes will still have some sharp edges that should be considered in the design process.

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