Polishing Stainless

What the heck does Poland have with making things shiny, anyway?
I'm building a Fancher-style control line handle, like the one at the
bottom of this page:
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I'm
making the arms out of stainless (304 if it makes a difference). The
metal as it comes from McMaster has a gray matt finish, and I'd like to
tart it up somehow. I'm thinking that polishing them up to a mirror
finish would be nice if it won't take too very long, or I'm open to
other suggestions for simpler ways to make them look better than the
dull gray they are now (Scotchbrite?).
TIA.
Reply to
Tim Wescott
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Polishing stainless is pretty easy with a buffer and the right compounds. You start with the course then medium and then the fine and end end up with a mirror finish.
Scotchbrite gives a nice matt finish, but afoid the temptation of steel wool. It leaves behind litlt bits of steel and then you get corrosion, If you need to remove scratches, use good wet and dry 3M sand paper in finer and finer grits, then use the buffer.
Reply to
RS at work
Fine SS wire brush
Reply to
Buerste
I even have one of them.
Reply to
Tim Wescott
I gave it a swipe or two with a brush that I got at the local welding shop, and it didn't seem to break through the surface and mark the metal.
There definitely seems to be some sort of a hard surface on it, which I noticed while drilling.
So? Should I just go after it with sandpaper or something else harder than a fine-bristle stainless brush?
Reply to
Tim Wescott
Wow, what could it be? Maybe a coarser brush? Make sure it's SS or it will contaminate the workpiece!
Reply to
Buerste
I worked at a CNC SS facility. The problem is to get the "grain" right. That is all those little lines. It is very difficult to do, has a long learning curve, and takes a long time. They do make SS sheets that are used for mirrors in institutions (and roadside bathrooms) that have a mirror finish, but don't know how they get that fine of a finish, and then some rube scratches it up with some gangsta emblem. To my guess, I would say progressively finer grits of paper and compound. And then some fabric high speed wheels. Still it is hard to get it all straight with no wavy or transverse lines. The stuff is just hard to work with.
Steve
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Reply to
Steve B
The gray dullish color is unavoidable. Polishing SS will never achieve a chrome bright finish. The gray color will always be present. It is a light oxide coating that naturally develops with stainless in a free oxygen environment. It is what makes SS stainless. The brush finish, which is most common is created by a special polishing drum about 3 " in diameter that runs about 1000 rpm. These drums carry a special scotchbrite abrasive.. These are available at polishing supply houses.These drums deliver the even brush finish without streaks. Steve
and it didn't seem to break through the surface and
noticed while drilling.
fine-bristle stainless brush?
contaminate the workpiece!
Reply to
Steve Lusardi
"Steve B" wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@news.infowest.com:
The "color" of the polished SS depends a lot on the alloy. 304 will always be grey. I asked a similar question here many years ago, because I was customizing a bathroom fixture & wanted something that looked vaguely chromish. Someone recommended 414, and it came out looking pretty good. Still a tiny bit grey, but not enough to be a big deal.
Doug White
Reply to
Doug White
Hmm. From the various answers, it sounds like I'm not going to get much more out of this than what motivated me to use it in the first place -- stainlessness, or more accurately rust resistance on a part that just couldn't be painted.
(Although I saw some similar handles this past weekend that used brass. It's ugly as hell when it's all tarnished and green, but easier to work than stainless and won't rust, either. Oh well).
I'm going to see how far I can get with sandpaper and oil, and/or handheld Scotchbrite and oil. If I get anything better than what's on there now I'll be happy, and if I get anything better than what I expect I may even post pictures.
Reply to
Tim Wescott
Actually I'm playing with sandpaper, and liking what I'm getting. I didn't realize it until I started sanding on it, but the two things that bothered me most about it were the obvious mill finish on the bulk of the parts, and the tool marks around the edges.
Hopefully I can sand that out without wasting too much time. At some point I want my handle, though.
Reply to
Tim Wescott
I have seen similar type handles made using aluminum.
Cheers,
John D. Slocomb (jdslocombatgmail)
Reply to
J. D. Slocomb
Aluminum just seemed like it'd be wimpy, unless I used something harder than 3003.
Way easier to work, though.
Reply to
Tim Wescott
Electropolish?
Good Luck! Rich
Reply to
Rich Grise
How hard do you anticipate that airplane is going to pull :-?
A modification of your design has a complete bar closing the front - like a "D". This allows the ratio between the airplane bellcrank and the handle to be adjusted. Used to be fairly popular in Control Line Speed as most speed models have a tiny little bellcrank because of space limitations and a normal size handle gave full up and full down all in a degree of movement.
Cheers,
John D. Slocomb (jdslocombatgmail)
Reply to
J. D. Slocomb
Actually it's not the raw strength of the thing that I envision as having problems -- I just have this vision of a handle with the most popular holes wallowed out and breaking through from wear.
Actually the Fancher handle puts about a bazzilion holes on the two arm ends to allow adjustment. You can't go all the way together in the center, but you don't need to for stunt. This particular handle may not have narrow enough spacing for a 1/2A plane, but it's plenty wide for the one it's intended for. One could, of course, close the thing at the center and have 1/8" line spacing if one wanted.
The other design that seems to be current puts a slot in that bar, and puts small eye bolts in the slot for infinite adjustment. I kinda vacillated on just what I was going to do, but when I ordered from McMaster it was the stainless sheet that I got, so I guess that's what I'm doing!
Reply to
Tim Wescott

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