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Thread: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

  1. #31
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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by luxlunatic
    I do about 90% by hand, I will use the dremel on areas that my fingers wont get to, and sand up to 2000 grit then polish a few times over with softer rags using some Mothers and buff with a clean, dry soft towel.
    But I think I need to add one final step and a dry compound like you mentioned kenster sounds like the ticket. The job I do is ok but in most light, it still shows some hazing, I have to get the light just right for those shots.
    Like I said, still refining my system!
    BTW fun thread kenster, thanks.
    Hmmm.... at 2000 grit I am just getting started. The Micro-Mesh sandpapers I use have thier own numbering system. The finest grit I use before the Dremel and dry coumpound is equivalent to either 10,000 or 12,000 grit sandpaper but I can`t recall which of the two at the moment. The only thing the dry polishing compound I use does is bring out more of a high gloss to the finish after I am finished sanding or basically polishing. There are faster ways to polish than by hand but........ I am a nutcase and I like doing things the hard way sometimes.


    Ken

    EDIT: I completely understand about the haze you mentioned when trying to photograph a polished light. Look at the bezel in the pic below. It wasn`t polished as well as the rest of the light and shows the haze which to me is simply scratches from not being polished well enough. I went through the grits of sandpapers to quickly and so it has that haze look. I started over and it ended up polished more like the rest of the light. Well, look at the second picture showing this TNC proto Ti bezel after I worked on it some more and you decide. I am still learning and always trying to improve on my polishing because this is fun to me.



    Last edited by kenster; 04-13-2007 at 05:15 AM.

  2. #32
    Flashaholic* will's Avatar
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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    There is one other technique I didn't mention earlier. When you get down to buffing wheels, buff at a 90 degree angle to the sanding. If you picture buffing a bolt, going at the same angle as the threads - the wheel will buff the peaks and valleys, not really smoothing out the surface. THe wheel will follow the grooves. When you buff at 90 degrees, you smooth down the peaks, getting them closer to, or even with the valleys, this gives a smoother finish.
    Now I can see the darkness .

  3. #33
    Flashaholic* luxlunatic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by kenster
    Hmmm.... at 2000 grit I am just getting started. The Micro-Mesh sandpapers I use have thier own numbering system. The finest grit I use before the Dremel and dry coumpound is equivalent to either 10,000 or 12,000 grit sandpaper but I can`t recall which of the two at the moment. The only thing the dry polishing compound I use does is bring out more of a high gloss to the finish after I am finished sanding or basically polishing. There are faster ways to polish than by hand but........ I am a nutcase and I like doing things the hard way sometimes.

    I checked out the website for Micro-Mesh, and you weren't kidding, pricey stuff but if it provides the finish I will be proud of, then its worth it!
    Did a search a while back but did not come across that site, thanks again kenster.
    You are right, there are faster ways of gettin' it done but I too like to do it the hard way by hand. There is something about it thats, should I say, therapudic(other than the sore fingers!), and the results you can be more proud of, like anything done by hand, it just has that personal touch.
    Time to order some micro-mesh! Better rest my fingers up, they are going to get a workout.
    What are you people......on DOPE!?!

  4. #34
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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by luxlunatic
    I checked out the website for Micro-Mesh, and you weren't kidding, pricey stuff but if it provides the finish I will be proud of, then its worth it!
    Did a search a while back but did not come across that site, thanks again kenster.
    You are right, there are faster ways of gettin' it done but I too like to do it the hard way by hand. There is something about it thats, should I say, therapudic(other than the sore fingers!), and the results you can be more proud of, like anything done by hand, it just has that personal touch.
    Time to order some micro-mesh! Better rest my fingers up, they are going to get a workout.
    I warned you that Micro-Mesh sandpaper is expensive stuff. It does last quite a long time though. As you step through the grits, try to go 90 degrees to the last grit. Will has a very good point doing this. It also helps show your progress and you will end up with a better polish job in the end by changing directions with each grit. It can be difficult, extremely time consuming or close to impossible to do on some parts of a light but I try to do this anyway. Send me a PM if you would like a small piece of the green dry polishing compound I use for a final high gloss on Titanium to check it out for yourself.

    Ken

  5. #35
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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    I agree on the 90 degree trick. I kind of stumbled upon it a while back and it became part of my formula, definately helping the end results, I just need some more steps in the formula to be happy with it!

    So Ken, after seeing the polish jobs you do on your lights for a while here, I have been wondering if you are a nut about the paint and detail on your car as well, I for one am, even under the hood!
    What are you people......on DOPE!?!

  6. #36

    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by luxlunatic
    I agree on the 90 degree trick. I kind of stumbled upon it a while back and it became part of my formula, definately helping the end results, I just need some more steps in the formula to be happy with it!

    So Ken, after seeing the polish jobs you do on your lights for a while here, I have been wondering if you are a nut about the paint and detail on your car as well, I for one am, even under the hood!
    Lux, send me a PM, I have another light for you to polish.

    TB

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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Thanks to everyone for the polishing tips. I see that there are 4 types of Micro Mesh sandpaper. Any recommendations on a particular type?
    Last edited by aikiman44; 04-18-2007 at 08:44 AM.

  8. #38
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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Jay, at first I bought a little polishing kit. As I recall it came with the AO grade but it has been a while. Here is a link.

    http://www.ares-server.com/Ares/Ares...oduct&ID=80939

    The kit seemed expensive with such small pieces of sandpaper and I wanted to polish more flashlights so I found the manufacturers website hoping to order some larger pieces at a better price. Below is a link to thier home page. Lots of info on the different grades to read.

    https://www.micro-surface.com/default.cfm?page_id=1

    The MXD grade looked interesting but I decided on the MX grade when I noticed the "Call for prices" on the MXD. Yikes and no thanks! The MX is almost twice as expensive as the AO which does work but I found that the MX has a heavier backing that holds up better and it does last longer as well.

    Ken

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    Flashaholic* luxlunatic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Well Ken, I think I'm getting a little better, with some help and tips from you! I can see dust on my camera lens in this first shot.




    You can just see the batt tube there, thats next to finish off this sweet little A19!



    I will post another shot when completed, had to give my fingers a rest.
    Thanks Ken!
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  10. #40
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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    SWEEEEET!!!!!! It`s time consuming and sure dose a number on the fingers! When your done it is hard to do this...... I haven`t been polishing today obviously! Just seems more rewarding in the end doing most of it by hand.


    Hey, that looks like my camerea???? A Canon PowerShot A620 by any chance?

    BTW, I am about ready to brighten up the outside of on my Ti 27S Cx2 with a mirror polish. Lots of Titanium and the ribbed battery tube should be loads of fun by hand. NOT! Polishing the ribbed tube will be like polishing quite a few of those tailcaps you just did. I`m going for it anyway!
    Last edited by kenster; 04-26-2007 at 05:38 AM.

  11. #41
    Flashaholic* will's Avatar
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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Curious - how often do the bare metal lights have to be re-polished. Most metals oxidize over time and get somwhat dull.
    Now I can see the darkness .

  12. #42

    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by kenster
    SWEEEEET!!!!!! It`s time consuming and sure dose a number on the fingers! When your done it is hard to do this...... I haven`t been polishing today obviously! Just seems more rewarding in the end doing most of it by hand.


    Hey, that looks like my camerea???? A Canon PowerShot A620 by any chance?

    BTW, I am about ready to brighten up the outside of on my Ti 27S Cx2 with a mirror polish. Lots of Titanium and the ribbed battery tube should be loads of fun by hand. NOT! Polishing the ribbed tube will be like polishing quite a few of those tailcaps you just did. I`m going for it anyway!
    Have you considered disassembly and tumbling to polish lights. I have quite a few tumblers (vibratory and rotary) that are used for rocks and metal finishing (jewelry). I bet they would greatly reduce the labor involved in producing a mirror finished light.

    Thurmond
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  13. #43
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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Will, I haven`t had to actually repolish any of my lights that I haven`t dropped hard or rolled down an asphalt driveway. A couple I have hit with a dremel and cloth wheel for maybe 15 seconds to spiff them up but I have quite a few flashlights. I change what I carry quite often so if you EDC the same light......... I don`t know what to say????? Maybe someone else can answer that question.

    I will say, don`t loan a polished light to someone that is not somewhat of a "Flashaholic". Loaned my Polished Ti 27L to Cmacclel and it came back PERFECT! Thanks Mac! Now, the Bare Aluminum LionCub in the pictures below was polished beautifully a few weeks ago. Loaned it to a friends brother that I hear took it to work with him. He does tile work. Grout does wonders for polished Bare Aluminum, doesn`t it? Oh well, I was wanting to open the bezel up some more on that light anyway. No LED upgrade because that light has a UW0K lux III I put in it that is amazingly bright. Never seen another U bin come close to putting out as much light! I really like this Cub since it was one of my first flashlights in my collection. I will not be loaning it out to anyone else anytime soon!





    She can barely reflect the Gold coins! But she will be a shinning beauty again soon!

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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tritium
    Have you considered disassembly and tumbling to polish lights. I have quite a few tumblers (vibratory and rotary) that are used for rocks and metal finishing (jewelry). I bet they would greatly reduce the labor involved in producing a mirror finished light.

    Thurmond
    Well, Hey & Howdy There Thurmond!

    Intersting idea but to me, part of the problem with the sanding and poilishing is trying to not round off the sharp edges too much. Any knurling like in the light above would probably really flatten out while tumbling. Every light is different though???? The inside would have to be protected so the threads would not be ruined or the O rings not seal properly afterwards but I suppose it could be a time saver for some pieces.

    Ken

  15. #45

    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by kenster
    Well, Hey & Howdy There Thurmond!

    Intersting idea but to me, part of the problem with the sanding and poilishing is trying to not round off the sharp edges too much. Any knurling like in the light above would probably really flatten out while tumbling. Every light is different though???? The inside would have to be protected so the threads would not be ruined or the O rings not seal properly afterwards but I suppose it could be a time saver for some pieces.

    Ken
    The vibratories use a very gentle action so I so I don't think there will be a big problem with erosion of and rounding of sharper edges and threads just a minor radius of those sharper edges and smoothing of the threads. It is done in fine jewelry castings all the time and many other industries as well. There are both Wet and dry processes. I will see what I can do with some Ti pieces I have. I may try my Exolion as well (with Tritium vial attached).

    Thurmond
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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tritium
    The vibratories use a very gentle action so I so I don't think there will be a big problem with erosion of and rounding of sharper edges and threads just a minor radius of those sharper edges and smoothing of the threads. It is done in fine jewelry castings all the time and many other industries as well. There are both Wet and dry processes. I will see what I can do with some Ti pieces I have. I may try my Exolion as well (with Tritium vial attached).

    Thurmond
    It doesn`t take much on the threads to make them become very loose. I found that out with Titanium working the threads on a McLux III-T. After all the time spent sanding & polishing the outside of the light I was amazed at how fast I was able to over do it with the threads. Very interested to hear what your results are with this!


    Exolion? Wasn`t I supposed to send you one of those a while back to play with anodizing? My single brain cell is getting old and tired?

    Ken

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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Great thread! Can't wait to hit my lights.

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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by kenster
    Hey, that looks like my camerea???? A Canon PowerShot A620 by any chance?

    BTW, I am about ready to brighten up the outside of on my Ti 27S Cx2 with a mirror polish. Lots of Titanium and the ribbed battery tube should be loads of fun by hand. NOT! Polishing the ribbed tube will be like polishing quite a few of those tailcaps you just did. I`m going for it anyway!

    Close! Its the lowly A610, j/k, its a great camera. Battery life on this camera is amazing, I run Energizer e2 liths and I cant remember the last time I changed them! Hey, that just made me realize, there is no battery meter on this camera.

    Ken, you are quite courageous to tackle the S27 Cx2, a lot of surface area on that light that is not finger friendly! I have thought about doing mine, but the head on mine has some good tool marks around the circumference near the grips that are pretty deep, too deep to sand out so the finished polish would have some appearent flaws . Oh well, that saved my fingers some punishment and now this is my main utility light since the first dings are already there!
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    Flashaholic* luxlunatic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Curious - how often do the bare metal lights have to be re-polished. Most metals oxidize over time and get somwhat dull.

    True, most metals do oxidize over time and take on scratches fairly easily. Aluminum, brass, copper, nickle steel, etc., are all fairly soft and quite susceptible to corrosion, especially when exposed to oils from your hand. When EDCing lights with these metals in their bare form, frequent "touching up" is necessary to keep them looking good, and since these metals are fairly soft, they do show dings pretty easily, requiring more "touching up".
    That is where titanium shines, literally. With a high resistance to corrosion and most substances because its a stable element (why its a good choice for medical applications and people that have alergies to certian metals for jewelry), very little "touch up" maintenence is needed. I EDC a polished Ti light and only need to give it a light polish every 3 months or so, where in the past with bare Al, every 3 weeks or so was needed to keep it looking as good as the Ti.
    So many great advantages in Ti, the beauty and strength of it (highest strength to weight ratio IIRC), the only disadvantage in the heat dissipation, but with the output of new leds, you dont need to drive it as hard for plenty of light and still keep the heat in check.
    Not only am I a flashaholic, I have become a TITANAHOLIC! A niche within a niche!
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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!


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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Wow.

    Very impressive.

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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Ok ive been trying to polish my Orb Raw. It has some machining marks that id like top get rid of... I have Dremel, dry green compound, Mother's, buffing wheels, a cloth wheel, and sanding drums. Do I need to get me some sandpaper in different coarses?? This will be a great time for someone to do a little "tutorial" on the subjet. BTW what do you guys use to protect the finish from fingerprints on brass lights? If anyone can point me in the right direction it will be awesome.

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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Cuso, do me a favor and DON`T use the Dremel sanding drums on your Orb Raw! Get some extra fine sandpaper PLEASE! There is great info from different folks on polishing through out this thread.


    Ken
    Last edited by kenster; 05-18-2007 at 05:19 PM.

  24. #54
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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by kenster
    Cuso, do me a favor and DON`T use the Dremel sanding drums on your Orb Raw! Get some extra fine sandpaper PLEASE! There is great info from different folks on polishing through out this thread.


    Ken
    Noted, just mentioning some of the stuff that came with my Dremel , yes those are way to low a grit for using on anything but wood. Thanks for the tip.

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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cuso
    Noted, just mentioning some of the stuff that came with my Dremel , yes those are way to low a grit for using on anything but wood. Thanks for the tip.
    Well, that is a relief. I was afraid an Orb raw was in for a Dremel THRASHING!

    Good luck with the polishing!

  26. #56
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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by kenster
    Well, that is a relief. I was afraid an Orb raw was in for a Dremel THRASHING!

    Good luck with the polishing!
    , BTW is this the kit you have Ken??

    Micro Mesh Metal polishing Kit

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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cuso
    , BTW is this the kit you have Ken??

    Micro Mesh Metal polishing Kit
    I bought a kit from MicroMark and a local hobby store at first but they didn`t come with the MX grade sandpaper like this one which is more expensive and last longer than the cheaper stuff or AO. I later bought 12 x 12 sheets of the MX grade in every grit and have more than half of all the sheets left even though I have given some away to some CPF members. Good stuff IMHO.

    Ken

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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    OK . this is how the Raw turned out, keep in mind that this is not Ti....






    I still have to find out a way to polish the back, and its not a "liquid metal" shine, if I shoot it with the flash, some polishing scratches show up, but im happy.. the machining marks are gone and now its smooth to the touch. Thanks for the tips guys... BTW I got this polishing cloth wheel at Sears for my drill $4.99 , came very handy and way faster then the Dremel.
    Last edited by Cuso; 05-21-2007 at 06:04 PM.

  29. #59
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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Way to go Cuso, good job! The aluminum will show scratches and wear a bit faster than Ti but with a little touch up here and there, it wont be too difficult to keep it looking like that.
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    Default Re: Calling all Polishing Nutcases! Like Me!

    Quote Originally Posted by luxlunatic View Post
    Way to go Cuso, good job! The aluminum will show scratches and wear a bit faster than Ti but with a little touch up here and there, it wont be too difficult to keep it looking like that.
    Thanks!! Now I have to find a way to keep my brass lights from gettting that patina so fast , I like the shine better...

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