General Guide To Metal Polishing

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Polished Alloy Wheel With a Drill Mounted Kit
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Polished Alloy Wheel With a Drill Mounted Kit

Polishing Of Metals

Polishing sometimes known as finishing, buffing or colouring is the process of removing scratches and abrasions from a surface, and creating the desired brightness of finish on that surface.  Polishing, like using sand paper, consists of procedures each of which is less abrasive than the previous. A combination of mops and compounds are used with a buffing machine or a household electric drill (pneumatic tools may also be used but only at relatively low speeds (4000 rpm max.) 

Different combinations of polishing wheel and compound gives the desired cut / colouring action and finish. To avoid contamination or mixing of compounds use a different mop for each compound. Do not mix different compounds on the same mop. Alternatively “freshen” the polishing wheel with a wire brush to remove residue compound and metal from the wheel.

If you are polishing small articles then you can fix your drill into a vice, this will enable you to polish these small articles with ease.

Sometimes when you have polished you may see a slight coat of grease or finger marks on the work piece, these can be removed with Whiting Powder followed by Liquid Reflection, Mirrorfinish or a suitable  Metal Polish of your choice to complete the job. 

If you wish to Electroplate or lacquer the polished article please make sure you use a good degreaser and do not protect with wax polish. Any dirt or grease/wax will interfere with the adhesion of the plated metal or lacquer.  

Safety First!
Always make sure that the machine you are working with is in safe working order i.e. bench grinder is securely fastened to your work bench, adaptors polishing wheels are securely fastened etc.
Always use safety equipment- Dust mask, safety spectacles and gloves should be worn at all times. 
Always apply the item being finished to the area of the mop which is rotating away from yourself.
Do not wear loose clothing that may get caught in the machine.

Surface Polishing Preparation 

Unclean/dirty/greasy material should be prepared properly before being polished. For polishing soft metals and depending on the surface condition, start at 6 on the step by step guide above. Should parts be heavily scratched, marked or scored then suitable abrasives should be used.( flap wheel, abrasive cloth/paper, rubbing blocks etc. )
In many instances the surface of what you are polishing will need to be prepared prior to polishing. The preparation really depends on the condition of the surface and the desired finish you require. The devil is in the detail hence the better you prepare the surface the better the final result. The use of wet/dry abrasive papers and discs may be required and the finer the abrasive, generally the easier and more impressive the polished finish.

Step By Step Guide To Polishing
1. Attach arbour to your drill or spindle adapter to your bench grinder / polisher and fix tightly.

2. Attach Sisal Mop onto the arbour/adapter and screw on tightly. 

3. Run the drill / bench grinder / polisher and apply the relevant compound to the sisal mop for approx. 2 seconds, the compound is wax / abrasive based so the motion of the spinning mop generates heat which melts the wax/abrasive onto the polishing mop.
 
4. Apply the mop to the item to be polished with medium/hard pressure. It is very important that you remove all marks/scratches and leave a uniform finish.

5. Apply more compound to the Sisal Mop if needed. When all scratches/marks are removed and the work piece has a uniform dull finish, remove the Sisal polishing mop.

6. Attach the White Stitch / Colour Stitch Mop onto the arbour/adapter and screw on tightly. Run the machine and apply the relevant compound to the White Stitch / Colour Stitch Mop for approx. 2 seconds. 

7. Apply the mop to the item to be polished with medium pressure. This will remove the dull finish left by the first process and leave the work piece with a semi-bright finish.

8. Apply more compound to the White Stitch / Colour Stitch Mop if needed. When you have a uniform semi-bright finish, remove the White Stitch / Colour Stitch Mop.
 
9. Attach either the unstitched B Quality Mop onto arbour / adapter and screw on tightly.
 
Run the drill / bench grinder / polisher and apply the relevant compound to the unstitched B or G Mop for approx. 2 seconds.

10. Apply the mop to the item to be polished with light pressure. This will remove the semi bright finish left by the second process and leave the work piece with a bright finish. Apply more compound to the unstitched Mop if needed and repeat the process.

You should now be left with a bright finish.

11. Using a clean microfiber cloth, rub the polished article with Whiting Powder/Vienne Lime or Liquid Reflection, Reflection paste or Blue Sapphire. This will remove any residue compound, metal and grease left on the surface and provide you the polished finish. 

Tips 
Try to constantly vary the directions of which you polish. This is not always possible but recommended as some articles may be of an unsuitable size and shape.

Use compound sparingly, black grease marks will appear on work piece if too much compound has been applied to the mop. Remove black grease marks with cloth. Remember little and often. If it is possible, polish across marks/scratches not along them. 

If the surface of work piece is lacquered you must remove the lacquer before polishing.

Drill mounted polishing kit
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Drill mounted polishing kit
Bench Polisher
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Bench Polisher
Variable Speed metal Polishing Kit
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Variable Speed metal Polishing Kit
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