Buffing and Polishing

I'm finishing up some details embossing press dies in steel, and I'd
like to do a little bit nicer job. They flat part of the plate is
pretty easy. I go over it with a diamond hone, then some fine grit
paper, and finally hit it with the buffing wheel and some polishing
compound. Comes out looking fairly decent.
The embossing part looks looks pretty good, but I'd like to make it look
better. The finish pass with the smallest ball end mill leaves a pretty
good looking finish, but there are fine tool marks if you look close.
The big old buffing wheel just won't fit down in all the fine details so
I was thinking of maybe making a tiny soft cloth wheel to fit a rotary
hand piece mandrel and having a go at it some polishing compound.
I have a few failures from the project on my bits and pieces shelf I
could test it out on, but I'd like to know if I am just chasing my tail.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
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Perhaps not want you want but I might mention that hand engraving, guns for example, are polished surfaces with hand cut depressions. The actual engraved portions are not polished or smoothed in any way.
Reply to
John B.
If you really *do* need a polish, the traditional way to do it is with slips (shaped hand stones) and die grinders equipped with points (cylindrical buffs, longer than they are wide, made of felt and available in a variety of end shapes) The last handwork I saw of that type, over 30 years ago, was being done with die grinders and rubberized abrasive Cratex points, and polished with felt points.
A lot has to do with how fine and complex the details are. But a complex coining die might require 30 hours or more of handwork. Often, depending on the machine finish, it starts with jeweler's files and diemaker's rifflers, which are like woodworker's rifflers but with very fine teeth.
These are traditional moldmakers' and diemakers' skills. They've been largely replaced with advanced ram-type EDMs. It's a lot easier to get that finish on a piece of graphite or tellurium-copper electrode than on steel, and the finish you can achieve with today's EDMs, using copper or copper-alloy electrodes, amounts to a medium-high polish.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
I got a set of mounted felt bobs and wheels from Brownell's long ago.
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Might be just the thing.
Pete Keillor
Reply to
Pete Keillor
I have a Harbor Freight 4 inch nylon polishing wheel either item number 91 372 or 60325 that I use a lot in a drill press. The drill press is a 16 sp eed and needs to be set to a fairly high speed. I would recommend you get one or essentially the same from MSC or another vendor.
I think it will do what you want or at least be a great start before using your smaller polishing wheel.
Even if it does not solve this problem , you will find it useful and it is not expensive.
" Works good , lasts a long time "
Dan
Reply to
dcaster
look
pretty
details so
tail.
Thanks Ed. I am not quite ready to step into EDM, so polishing tricks may be the ticket. I didn't pickup the graphite mold job, so I have not dedicated a machine to being destroyed by cutting graphite just yet.
I probably have a "good enough" finish, but I'd like to do better.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
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THAT might be just what I was thinking of. Like you said its cheap enough.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
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THAT might be just what I was thinking of. Like you said its cheap enough.
Reply to
Bob La Londe

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