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Metal Polishing – Making Shiny Things

Metal Polishing – Making Shiny Things by Onevoicewild

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As usual my techniques lean to the primitive side. This allows me to get the job done with less investment in tools and I have great control over the materials, because I remove material very slowly. The trade off is it’s more work for me than if I used power tools. I have had some accidental miracles by this slow process, so don’t underestimate it’s hidden advantages as I will show you. I would love to have a real buffer, but sometimes we have to find a balance between parts and tools. As modders our tool collection grows over time, but if I had every tool I would like to have there would be no money left for things to use them on. some how things got done before electricity?

My materials of choice are Copper and Aluminum, because they can both be polished to a mirror finish and are much easier to work with than harder metals like steel.

 

Basic tools

Hand sanding block 9″ inches.   A long block stays true better and It matches the length of sand paper sheets.  These are also called drywall sanding blocks. Standard sanding block for tight quarter.  Seldom needed, I wouldn’t buy one of these unless you need it. 

Sandpaper abrasive dry/wet paper Sheets . 200, 400, 600, 800, 1000,1200,1500, 2000 Grit. or more.  Don’t worry you don’t have to buy all of these, but you will need an assortment depending on how smooth the surface of your project is. I rarely go courser than 200 because you are actually putting scratches in the metal, But if you have some deep scratches existing in your project, you may have to start there? The finer grades should be purchased from an auto supply store or online.  Home depot don’t do 2000 Grit! 

If you have the money and the room? a Bench Top Buffer would be a great tool to own.

I have tried buffers that you put on your drill and didn’t like them very well, but there are miles of difference by stepping up to a dedicated buffer.

Get a Large flat pan for wet sanding inside. OK I stole the broiler pan out of the stove. Mom will never miss it. ha ha 

Repairing a blown finish on 200mm Nautilus grill.

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I use Kitchen cabinet shelf liners to keep things from sliding around while your sanding. Mom will miss these unless she is short and you take the ones off the top shelf. Cardboard works well outside or inside if you keep the water to a minimum. After it gets a little soft from the water, It keeps your piece from moving around to much.

A mouse sander could be good for the initial stages, but I haven’t located fine enough sand cloth for them.  A friend gave me a good one but I haven’t used it yet.  That would defeat all my self torture. A random orbital sander is a tool I would like to have!  A friend of mine alpenwasser did some incredible polishing using one of these with a polishing pad and compounds up to 5000 grit.

 

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