polishing stainless 2" pipe

I want to polish a 20' length of 2" pipe to a fine brushed look or even
mirror if possible. I was planning on making an adapter for my
tractor's pto and a few steady rest made from castors and then I could
turn the whole pipe anywhere from ~500rpm up to 1500 rpm. What is the
best way to polish the pipe? Water or oil and fine sandpaper such as
1500 or 2000grit. What about the green polishing compound for stainless
and cotton rags? Thanks for any help.
Reply to
mark
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I hope you have a very good guardian angle or the rag will wrap around the pipe spun by a tractor PTO, taking you with it.
Reply to
Carl Boyd
Got a video camera?
No, really!
That just sounds like a recipe for becoming a Darwin recipient.
If you must spin the whole damn thing while polising it, use a power source that you can stall out in the event of a jam. I'd be looking at the likes of a 1/3 hp motor and a couple or so steps of reduction to keep the rpms down, and then use a buffer or belt sander that you could then move along the lenth of the pipe. There are machines built for doing this job, but they are expensive. A guy could cobble something similar from an angle grinder and a couple support wheels if so inclined, I suppose, and run the scotchbrite type abrasive belts.
The logical thing to do would be to buy some ready polished, it features large in the boat world, as well as being sold for handrails and decorator trim and bar rails. Not a whole lot more cash than a plain stainless steel pipe.
If you go with the tractor idea, videotape it. Saves a whole lot of questions about "how" after the fact.
Cheers Trevor Jones
Reply to
Trevor Jones
Just make sure the adapter is a really weak link, so if something catches the adapter will shear.
Pipe isn't really a good candidate for polishing. The surface isn't very even, they aren't always very round, and you have to do a lot of work on them. Taking them all the way to mirror sounds prohibitive to me.
Also, I would not even consider 500 rpm or anything like that. I'd spin it quite slowly and use a tool like a small belt grinder to provide the cutting speed. Spinning a 20' pipe at 1500 rpm is really really asking for big trouble.
GWE
Reply to
Grant Erwin
Could you perhaps blast the pipe to achieve a brushed effect?
It could be done safely. But doing so needs a lot of work and thought. Steady rests made from castors aren't going to be adequate. I can see the pipe potentially jumping out of the rests and going for a ride. As Grant says, probably best not to do it.
Best wishes,
Chris
Reply to
Christopher Tidy
Another thing to be aware of is that a large object can store a lot of momentum even when it's turning slowly. A large electric motor (for example) can gain enough momentum when turned slowly by hand to really hurt your fingers if they get pinched (ask me how I found that out). A shear coupling is a good idea, but won't make the system entirely safe.
Best wishes,
Chris
Reply to
Christopher Tidy
The way to do this is to rotate the pipe slowly, say 60 rpm. Then use a belt or flapper wheel to do the actual grinding, switch to a buffer wheel for the final polish. A junked out garage door opener is about the right speed, has all the nice torque limiting switches built in. A 1" x42" belt sander on casters and away you go.
As several others have mentioned, try to buy it polished to the level you want. I have found that ornamental grade can sometimes be had for LESS $$$ than regualr pipe. Go figure.
mark wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ
snip----
Shouldn't come as a surprise. "Regular pipe" is built to a reasonable standard and certified to perform to certain specifications. While it's not perfect, it's of much higher quality than ornamental stuff is. Ornamental pipe, on the other hand, can be very irregular and poorly welded----as long as it "looks good". It is not a substitute for quality pipe.
Harold
Reply to
Harold and Susan Vordos
Well... it WILL be on a low level... I think my pto shaft is about 14" above the ground!
Just think what'll happen when the bit hogs!
LLoyd
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
In this case, we were bending 3" x.065" wall 304 on a 3-1/2" center line radius for 135 degrees. That is about as agressive as you can get!! Had less breakage than the regular tube.
Harold and Susan Vordos wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ
Mark
Spinning the pipe is good, but don't have a hard connection between you and it. Use a steel brush on a drill, set things up so they are counter rotating and walk along it. I had to do this on a 3' piece of brass pipe a while back and spun it on my lathe. A fine ~4" wheel on my 1/2" drill made short work of it. Main thing is to not get impatient. Move slowly along the length so you get good overlap. Brushed is probably better than polished. Polished metal shows finger prints and dirt way too easily.
Jim
Reply to
Jim McGill
My experience is that the spinning method of polishing does not produce as good a visible finish as polishing in the direction of the pipe. I guess it would be called axially rather than radially. Somehow the eye distinguishes radial imperfections more than axial in a lenght of pipe.
cheers T.Alan
Reply to
T.Alan Kraus
As usual I ask questions as I am doing something and can't wait for responses so I already have the pipe spinnning at speeds up to 1000rpm and the weird thing is it seems safe and steady. I backed my tractor up to my 18' long flatbed trailer and made 2 sets of steady rests from a pair of small rubber swivel castors up about 4' from each end. I used 1/2 of the pto shaft which is the male 1.25" solid square stock, wrapped it with twine and tape to fit snugly into the 2" pipe and then tapped the end of the pipe for 4 3/8" bolts in a cross pattern so each is tighten through the pipe onto a side of the solid square shaft. I ran it for a few minutes and all seems good other than the cheap rubber casters are starting to wear on their sides. I will try greasing them other wise shopping cart wheels should do. But back to my question, what grits, oil/water, polishing compound...Thanks for everything so far.
T.Alan Kraus wrote:
Reply to
mark
I gotta tell ya, if this isn't a troll, it's the most alarming thing I've heard here in a long time. All that pipe needs is a little bump and it'll be out of those casters and beating Mark to a bloody pulp before he can even think about getting out of the way.
Ned Simmons
Reply to
Ned Simmons
Check out the following couple of web sites for info:
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- find the PDF entitled "The Mechanical Finishing of Decorative Stainless Steel Surfaces". It's a good read.
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the whole site has good info about what you want to do.
Also, I gotta tell you that I agree with others that spinning the work when it's not secured is a recipe for disaster. When you try to apply the force needed to polish or finish the material, I think the opportunity for a real problem is going to be very real.
Good luck.
Peter
Reply to
Peter Grey
That certainly makes sense. The thinner wall would allow for much better and easier bending.
My one and only experience with ornamental tubing was a disaster. I needed material that was round, or nearly so. The ornamental stuff was pretty, but out of round, or otherwise irregular by a huge amount. I ended up paying for higher quality, although I had to polish for finish. Luckily, it was only 5/8" diameter, and relatively short lengths, something like 6" pieces.
Harold
Reply to
Harold and Susan Vordos
Heh! That it has worked brings to mind the saying "hold my beer, and watch this"---
I've experienced a length of 3/4" CDS that was hanging out the back of a headstock that got off center at speed. Once you've seen that, you don't take chances. If, for any reason, that pipe got away, and it can, you could expect as much as the tractor being tipped over---and people in the vicinity killed. No way in hell I'd do that unless there was a restraining cap, so the pipe COULDN'T get started off center. Like a steady rest of sorts. Even then I'd have reservations, but then I quite like life. I'd also run it much slower-----there's no need to run at high speed if you have propulsion for the abrasive material as has been suggested.
Harold
Reply to
Harold and Susan Vordos

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