Fun with a polishing wheel.... or so I thought

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NatureBoy

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    I'm not sure what went wrong. I thought it was working great, until I got my Lux under some better light and saw the markings all over it. I picked up a polishing set from Harbor Freight. It included two cotton polishing wheels, red compound and white compound.

    I used the white polish, as recommended on the box. Then like a dummy I used the red polish on the gold plated button (even though pereas said not to polish it) but I thought since the polish was specific for gold, silver, platinum, I thought it'd be safe to use. WRONG. Button looks like crap now. Might as well sand it all off and polish whatever metal is underneath.

    Anyway, here are a few pics to show. Under low light, it looks great... but in brighter light it looks terrible. :(

    Lux_polished1_zps9189d933.jpg


    Lux_polished4_zps5600da0d.jpg


    Lux_polished3_zps23701522.jpg


    Lux_polished2_zpsdabb90d3.jpg



    Is there anyone here with experience using a polishing wheel/compound? I'd love to get some help with this. I wanted a mirror finish, but all I got was a mess.
     

    Motobi

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      The polishing compound usually gets you to 90% complete. If you can't feel the scratches then use autosol polish first (its a bit more abrasive) then mothers aluminum and chrome polish. Do it by hand and it may take a couple of attempts. If you can feel the scratches then use 1200 and then 2000 grit wet sand paper then the polish technique above
       

      NatureBoy

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        No, I can't feel any of the scratches or swirls. So the Mothers polish is safe to use on this material? Doe it work on stainless steel as well? I guess if it works on aluminum, which is pretty soft in comparison to these two metals, then it must work well on SS and alu-bronze, brass, etc.

        The atomizer got really messed up.. you can't see it in the pic, but it looks terrible up close.

        I don't mind hand polishing, it's just that I was under the impression using a polishing wheel was the best way to get a mirror shine.. that's what people seemed to say whenever I read up on it.

        Guess maybe I'll try the elbow grease method again if this doesn't work as expected. :)
         

        TruSound

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          Blue Magic polishing compound worked well removing hairline scratches from my phantom brass Stingray, it's not very abrasive but seemed to do the job well and pretty quickly. Pep boys has it.

          i believe a polishing wheel would be appropriate for tougher jobs, I used one on my brushed kayfun to polish out to a mirror shine using SemiChrome paste, for smaller jobs like yours to just remove hairline scratches hand polishing is the best option IMO.
           
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          Bolivar

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            You did OK, you just didn't do enough. You will need to use the red to get those scratches out, then white to polish. If that is plated metal, use some caution and check your work often...you could buff right through the plating and into the base metal, especially with the red. Keep your work,moving, don't let the wheel stay in the same place any length of time or the compound will burn. Load your buffing wheel often with compound. You know you need to load more when it doesn't seem to be making any progress, and when it's overloaded, you will see compound build up on the surface of the metal outside the edges of the buffing wheel. After the scratches are buffed out with the red, switch wheels and compounds and polish with the white. This step shouldn't take nearly as long as the red did.

            Again...start with red, keep it moving, check often. Finish with white using the same method, and change wheels in between compounds. Don't get in a hurry and it will come out fine.
             

            NatureBoy

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              You did OK, you just didn't do enough. You will need to use the red to get those scratches out, then white to polish. If that is plated metal, use some caution and check your work often...you could buff right through the plating and into the base metal, especially with the red. Keep your work,moving, don't let the wheel stay in the same place any length of time or the compound will burn. Load your buffing wheel often with compound. You know you need to load more when it doesn't seem to be making any progress, and when it's overloaded, you will see compound build up on the surface of the metal outside the edges of the buffing wheel. After the scratches are buffed out with the red, switch wheels and compounds and polish with the white. This step shouldn't take nearly as long as the red did.

              Again...start with red, keep it moving, check often. Finish with white using the same method, and change wheels in between compounds. Don't get in a hurry and it will come out fine.
              Thank you for the advice. It's been over 20 years since I used a buffing wheel, so I was more than a little rusty.. when I first starting doing it, I was actually moving the drill instead and managed to fling the tubing across the garage.

              I did eventually catch on and remembered to keep the drill in one place (much like a bench polisher/grinder would be) and moved the part around instead. This obviously did work better, but I did forget about loading the wheel with compound. I tried to do that at first, but it didn't seem to take, so then I thought I was supposed to rub the compound onto the part(s), which actually ended up causing most of the marks that are on them now.

              I'll try it again doing it the way you've suggested and see what happens. It's metal.. not like I'm going to permanently ruin them. I have however ruined the gold plating on the button, but I've accepted that. The tubing is alu-bronze, solid, not plated so it should be fine.

              If I still don't end up with a mirror finish after all that, I'll pick up some Mother's polish and try to finish it off that way.

              Thanks for the help people! I'll post pics with my results. :)
               

              Lifted

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                In the past I've gone from where you are to mirror polish by hand. I found the wheel was too difficult to control, and it looks like you're just about finished anyways. There are a lot of really great car products to put on the finishing shine and polish. It's been a while and I know there is probably better stuff out there now; so I hesitate to make a recommendation.
                 

                NatureBoy

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                  Found this info on Wikipedia

                  BLACK = Emery Compound, a coarse abrasive material for removal of scratches, pits, paint, rust etc.
                  BROWN = Tripoli compound used for general purpose cut and color on most soft metals.
                  WHITE = Blizzard compound, used for color and final finish of harder metals, has a cutting action.
                  RED = Jeweller’s Rouge, designed to polish without any cutting action. Safe on thin plates. Use on its own wheel.
                  BLUE = A dryer, almost greaseless wheel - designed to polish without any cutting action. Safe on thin plates. Use on its own wheel.
                  GREEN = Used exclusively for Stainless Steel.
                   
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                  olderthandirt

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                    You did OK, you just didn't do enough. You will need to use the red to get those scratches out, then white to polish. If that is plated metal, use some caution and check your work often...you could buff right through the plating and into the base metal, especially with the red. Keep your work,moving, don't let the wheel stay in the same place any length of time or the compound will burn. Load your buffing wheel often with compound. You know you need to load more when it doesn't seem to be making any progress, and when it's overloaded, you will see compound build up on the surface of the metal outside the edges of the buffing wheel. After the scratches are buffed out with the red, switch wheels and compounds and polish with the white. This step shouldn't take nearly as long as the red did.

                    Again...start with red, keep it moving, check often. Finish with white using the same method, and change wheels in between compounds. Don't get in a hurry and it will come out fine.

                    Bolivar covered this very well yes indeed.

                    Allow me to add; as a clarification only one type of compound per buff. Don't use two different compounds on one buff. Important.

                    When you do go from one compound to the next, give your work piece a quick once-over with an alcohol damp cloth.
                    This will remove any remaining compound providing a clean playing field for the next one.

                    Lastly, let the compound do the work. Don't force the workpiece into the buffing wheel. You want the buff to just kiss the work surface.
                    If the face of the buff is distorting you're pushin' too hard (-:
                     
                    When I first started polishing automotive parts this guide taught me a lot. But I will agree with others from where you are I think hand polishing is in order. Make sure when you remove any wax/polish/compound to use 100% cotton towels to wipe it off (I get mine from automotive sections @ the big WM or at auto parts stores.) Also never use the same towel for multiple compounds.
                     

                    NatureBoy

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                      Ok, so I just restored the Lux to its former glory. Actually, better than. Aside from the fact that the button is now brass, it looks better than it did when I first got it. In fact, I think the button looks better. The gold plating wasn't done very well, or at least didn't look nearly as good as the polished brass does right now.

                      Anyway, since it went so well, I decided to buff a couple other things as well. Did my Caravela clone (which looks amazing for a $14 mod I must say!), the top cap for my IGO-L, and my brass shorty drip tip.

                      Here are some pics:


                      Lux Before

                      LuxBefore1_zpse8d27c6c.jpg


                      LuxBefore2_zps1e10bb92.jpg


                      LuxBefore3_zps462c346f.jpg



                      Lux After

                      LuxAfter1_zps0cb946bc.jpg


                      LuxAfter2_zpsc71795d4.jpg


                      LuxAfter3_zpsdaf7e5cf.jpg



                      Caravela clone

                      CaravelaAfter1_zps0c8a2506.jpg


                      CaravelaAfter2_zps7509027b.jpg


                      CaravelaAfter3_zpsfd43c673.jpg



                      Cap and Drip Tip

                      CapAndTip_zps5988fa68.jpg
                       
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