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Thread: How to polish stainless steel

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Default How to polish stainless steel

    Hello, I have been sorting out some rubbing strips to use over on my mini tug build, I got hold of some 316 40mm x 3mm strip but its fairly grainy like its been belt sanded, does anyone have a preferred process for bringing this up to a decent finish?
    I have tried You Tube but most tutorials seem to be pushing their own specialized tools or compounds.
    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Phill

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    Toodyay, Western Australia
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    Default Re: How to polish stainless steel

    I've recently been experimenting polishing chainplates. 400 grit on the RO sander followed by 3M scotch bright attachment in the drill followed by buffing wheel on the bench grinder with polishing compound. Getting a reasonable result, but I'll be interested to see what other ideas come up in this thread.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2007
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    Wongawallan Oz
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    Default Re: How to polish stainless steel

    Phill, if you’ve got a lot to do I’d suggest invest in a linishing tool - ideally something versatile like an Abbot and Ashby bench grinder with a multitool linishing machine attachment - which is what I have - where you can swap one of the grinding wheels out for the linisher. You can easily change out and work through grades of linishing belts and scotch bright belts to get down to the finish you want.

    And then take a piece of SS down to your local stainless fabricator on a Friday arvo with a slab of whatever they prefer and ask them to show you what grades of belts they use and how they do the job.
    Larks

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    Oriental, NC USA
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    Default Re: How to polish stainless steel

    Sanding through appropriate grits depending on condition followed by a buffing wheel of at least 600 to 900 grit. Harbor Freight sell a buffing set for cheap with a range of grits to use with a mini grinder. Not quite fine enough for the best shine but close. Better wheels are available but are sort of pricey unless you use it a lot.
    Tom L

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Adelaide South Australia
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    533

    Default Re: How to polish stainless steel

    Having just been involved with polishing a 316 ss sculpture, angle grinder works bit a bit fierce/fast, a sander polisher or a 6" disc/electric drill better. 120, 240, 320, 400 if you can get it then polish. You need two of those hard,thick polishing wheels (one all sewn together with some harder fibre like sisal and a soft multi cloth one) with an attachment for the sander polisher. Use a coarse compond with the hard wheel and fine compound with soft wheel. The compounds come in sticks with different colours for the differernt compounds, Bunnings have all this stuff. Apply buff compound to spinning wheel, not too much, then buff, press firmly to get everything hot for the cutting to work properly, should get too hot too hold with bare hand. If you find a bit that needs resanding, the clean area with turps first. Not sure how many metres you are polishing but this is not hard too do. You must have good hygiene so you dont contaminate work from previous steps.
    the invisible man........

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Port Townsend WA
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    Default Re: How to polish stainless steel

    In suport of Heinz, the US Submarine Service uses Heinz Ketsup to polish stainless steel in the Galley!
    No kidding!
    Jay

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Tasmania
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    Default Re: How to polish stainless steel

    Lots of great advice here guys, thanks for the input, my budget doesn't allow for any new machinery but I did find this kit here in Australia........http://www.polish-up.com.au/products...pad-discs.html
    which I can use with my existing tools and as maxwaterline mentioned I can get the compounds and buffing wheels in Bunnings

    Phill

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Adelaide South Australia
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    533

    Default Re: How to polish stainless steel

    The 120 discs will do the most work so you may need a few of those depending on how much you are polishing. Do not use anything under this unless the finish looks like a sand casting, those 80 marks are very hard to get out. If using an angle grinder (I wouldn't) be very careful touching the disc to the work. The edge of a disc will leave scallops that you wont see until polished then you will be cranky. I like the Diablo discs from Bunnings but they stop at 240. Automotive places will have the 320 & 400 discs. I use velcro backed discs. Once polished there is chemical polishing available for super shiny, apparently brings the chrome in the stainless to the surface, probably expensive and unnecessary. Tomato sauce would work on polished metal that was discoloured I guess (mildly acidic).
    the invisible man........

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