Stainless polishing

Is anyone doing metal polishing (I'm interested in Stainless) and
could give me some advice.
I'm not going into the business but I do build things for boats from
time to time and it would be nice if I could polish the parts myself
rather then sub them out (or maybe I'm being too cheap).
I worked for a while as a gunsmith and we had a commercial polishing
and blueing section but I never paid much attention to it.
What I am thinking about is 1/2 - 3/4 H.P motor with 6 - 8 inch
Please feel free to tell me I don't know what I'm doing if that is the
case - I'm trying to learn and "It won't work" is just as much a part
of the learning cycle as "Hold my beer and watch this".
(correct email address for reply)
Reply to
Bruce in Bangkok
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Fortunately I don't do this anymore - it's tedious, dirty work - but I built SS marine hardware for a living back in the early 80s. This is the general procedure I used.
1. A 50 or 60 grit fiber back disc and/or a belt sander with rubber contact wheel to remove pits on pickled hot rolled stock and to radius welds and sharp edges. The "blue-grit" lubricated discs and belts seem to be worth the extra cost. You can skip this step if you're dealing with cold finished bars or sheet.
2. A sequence of 80, 120, 180, 240 cloth backed 5 inch PSA discs on a DA pad adapted to a disc grinder. A relatively low speed, less than 5000 RPM, grinder is best. You could probably get away with higher RPMs, but disc life will be short. They really aren't meant for even 5000 RPM. The adapter is just a piece of round stock tapped on one end for the grinder and the other for the pad.
3. Scotch-Brite or Beartex fine SiC light deburring wheel, e.g., 8S-fine. 8 x 1 inch is a convenient size for a small buffer.
4. The hardest buff you can get and SS buffing compound. I used to get buffs made to order from treated cotton with 1/4 inch spiral sewing. The treatment made them stiffer; not so important when stacked up on the buffer, more so when buffing offhand with just one section. Use lots of pressure and rake the wheel when it gets glazed. Again, 8" wheels are probably the right size for a 3/4 HP buffer.
While not necessary, a bigger buffer can speed things up. 3 HP is none too large; I had a 10 HP and could hear it slow down when working on large pieces.
Reply to
Ned Simmons
Thanks much.
I had mentioned the blueing shop in he gun shop where I once worked. Their buffing machines were something like 5 HP motors with 12 - 14 inch wheels charged with some sort of glue and then rolled in abrasive. The old guy that ran that operation had been in the polishing/plating business for probably 50 years and they still did it like when he was an apprentice. It worked though I don;t want to be quite that professional.
Bruce-in-Bangkok (correct email address for reply)
Reply to
Bruce in Bangkok

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