Now I can see the darkness .
I used to polish my lights pretty often until I found that I got obsessive compulsive trying to keep finger prints, etc. off them. In terms of appearance, though, polished metal certainly is quite beautiful - I usually polished aluminum since that's what most of my light were made of, but I don't have any uploaded pictures of those anymore; here's the last piece I did about a year ago of polished titanium:
Compared to unpolished
The way I would do it was to start off with about 600 grit paper and wet sand the metal to get rid of the "deeper" imperfections (deep being a relative term, if 600 grit doesn't get out the damage you'll have to start with a lower grit, more abrasive paper). Once the paper is thoroughly wetted just hold the sheet around the outside of the part and rotate it until you have a completely matte finish, pausing occasionally to clean off the shavings that accumulate on the sandpaper. When the finish is uniform with one grit of paper, go on to the next highest all the way up to 2000 grit. (If you follow Kenster's method you'll end up going higher than that, but I was always reasonably pleased at 2000. )
Once you get done with the wet sanding to your desired grit, get some polishing compound of choice (I use Blue Magic, found in the auto section of walmart), and apply it to a soft cloth. Rub the entire surface of the metal vigorously to your heart's desire, then light it dry for a minute or so. Using the remaining clean part of the cloth, buff the now black compound off and watch the shine come out of the grunge.
If you polish a light with knurling you'll probably need to wash it with dish soap and warm water to get it out of the grooves - best to do it while the compound is still reasonably moist so that it's easier to remove.
If you want you can also use a dremel with a polishing wheel at the end after you're through with the sanding, instead of a hand buffing. I'm not decided on whether one provides better results than the other, but the dremel is faster. You'll still need to buff off the black left over with a cloth, though.
That's my way, good luck with your polishing!
Enrique, that is a beautiful polished Ti Cr2-Ion! I have one I want to do some poishing on but I can`t seem to find it. It is not really lost since I am sure it is here in the house somewhere but where is the question????
Thanks for the info on how you do your polishing. I don`t plan on polishing anymore Aluminum lights myself unless they are heading off to be anodized or plated. Too soft a metal to keep a high gloss finish unless you don`t touch it at all but flashlights are to be used and not sit on a shelf looking prettyIMHO.
BTW, I will get an Email reply off to you. I had ear infection that turned into more fun stuff but I am feeling much better now. Being stubborn about going to a doctor didn`t help. And of course! Just need to catch up on some things that go by without you knowing it when you are feeling under the weather.
WOW!!!!! Sweet lights and pics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I thought these shots were decent enough to bring this thread out of the cellar.
What are you people......on DOPE!?!
I wonder what would happen if you scraped one of those against the street.
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]***FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!! ALWAYS USE EYE PROTECTION WHEN USING ANYTHING OVER 5MW***
Had to try to polish up my GAT. This one took quite some time, a lot more surface area then your average light. I was fairly happy with the results untill I saw the pics on my monitor, some surfaces did not come out as good as others, but it looks great in my hand!!!
What are you people......on DOPE!?!
Question? If you look at the Ti surface when it is reflecting a light source, like a cieling light, does it look like it has tiny pits? The 1st picture below is the tail of an earlier version Ti GatLight I worked on. Camera didn`t capture how my eyes saw it but around the edge of the reflected light you can see what looks like tiny pits. The whole surface was that way reflecting a light source. Mobil1 told me the metal used was 99% Titanium so it would pit like that and couldn`t be polished to a mirror finish like other Ti lights that have a higher percentage of other metals. The second pic is after I worked on it some more anyway and it is better but still not the finish I am able to get on other lights with a heck of a lot less effort. Those are the only two pictures I have left since my computer went and lost everything on it. Yup, I had nothing on that puter backed up. Photobucket has pictures that I had uploaded but that is nothing compared to what went Yup, learned my lesson the way and I will make back ups from now on.
Yours looks GREAT!
To answer your question, yes. I thought the pitting may be from a lower alloy content than other Ti I have polished, vaguely remembering seeing that this Ti is 99%.
No kidding, much more time consuming with less results, I even put each bar in a drill motor to speed up the process and that didnt help much. I managed some decent results on the back forward of the switch and around the emitter, but put more effort on other areas with less results, go figure . All in all in person and in the hand it looks great!
Your results on your V2 switch make me think I can get mine better, going from that first shot to the second, results improved more than you lead on, good work! By the way, is that the V2 with the K2? I was bidding against you on that one on ebay, I wanted that light!!!
Sorry about your puter, that blows, I went through that same thing about a year ago, lost tons of good stuff , now I use a external portable unit(simple tech 160G) for backup.
What are you people......on DOPE!?!
So yours is 99% Titanium. I wasn`t sure about the V3 but I figured it was after checking out the pics compared to your other work. Even if the Gat were machined using a Ti grade that can be mirror polished, it would still be an ornery polishing challenge. You must have taken yours apart, right? And that reminds me of your question. No, not the Ebay Gat V2 which I went a little overboard on the bidding. I still have it. Well, the metal minus all the screws, LE, LED, optic, all rubber seals and I believe some pieces that go on the battery side of the power nob. Wonder if Mobil1 still has any of it? Oh well, the 99% Ti is in Crystiline form that I guess is strong as a whole suroundeded on all sides but at the surface the structure is weak since there voids. THose voids are filled with other metals in Ti we are used to for Ti flashlights. Best way I found to go at it is slow with an light touch. Too aggressive and the surface crumbles. You have to feel for the change like the sandpaper is becoming a coarser grit. Well, I guess it is with all the tiny pieces of Ti that are grinding away making more tiny pieces and deeper pits. I couldn`t keep the sandpaper clean even under running water. Polishing paste and a Dremel can make it worse. Endless cycle of two steps forward, two steps back. Gets old!
The puter. Picked up an HP M8210N Media Center but why? No stereo epuipment, No Cable TV or even an antena, No DVD player....... Just my computer with slow speed dial-up internet. I was going to get high speed service but HP came with Windows Vista andf I learned something. DON`T BUY VISTA!!! It is not the "All for one & One for all" type and doesn`t play well with other programs. SUCKS!!!!!! Grrr...
And I thought it would feel cool being on the cutting edge of technolgy! Bye-Bye Puter! I would LOVE to actually do it.
Fascinating thread! I'm in the process of teaching myself how to polish metal, and it's good to see it's not an unusual affliction.
There are lots of interesting tips here, and I'll add a couple.
I use mostly a Dremel and a Foredom, and I've found the most effective accessories to be 3M Radial Bristle Disks. They're made in sizes from 9/16" diameter all the way up to 3" diameter, and designed to be stacked on a mandrel to achieve the desired thickness. The bristles are impregnated with abrasive grain in grits from 36 to 1 micron. The bristles are able to get into the finest detail nooks-n-crannies, and do a wonderful job, even on knurling, in short order. No additional compound is needed. They don't throw much dust, and they last a good long time.
Something else I learned (I think it may have been here on CPF) is to use WD40 with micro-abrasive paper. I buy Lee Valley's paper, especially the .5 micron (9000 grit). When I'm doing a large smooth area, I chuck the light into a vise-mounted drill or my Foredom, cut a strip of the paper to fit the area, spray the paper with WD40, and spin the light with the paper strip wrapped around it. It's fast and effective.
Fascinating post but... I have been using a Dremel since I was a kid and my first job was in a hobby store and I am always searching for Dremel type accessories but.... 3M Radial Bristle Disks??? Never seen or heard of anything like what you have described but sounds absolutely wonderful so pictures or the name of the place that sells these disks would be most appreciated.
This place has the best prices I've found so far:
Otto Frei, and other good jewelry tool joints sell them, but they're more expensive there, and I'm a tightwad.
Do those disks load up? I do my polishing using a buffing wheel and Jewelers rouge, After awhile, polishing aluminum, the wheel is loads up.
Now I can see the darkness .
Last edited by Cuso; 03-07-2008 at 08:09 AM.
Yes, they load up, but they also clean off easily. I just run them against a brass bristle brush for a few seconds.
The colors do represent different grits:
Brown = 36
Green = 50
Yellow = 80
White = 120
Red = 220 (this is the coarsest I've used)
Blue = 400 (I sometimes start here, if the piece isn't too bad)
Pink = Pumice
Peach = 6 micron
Light Green = 1 micron
Awesome looking lights. Do they scratch easy?
Heads up on this..
I use it on the back of my iPOD with a cotton rag, it's good stuff, works well on Samurai swords I believe!
People remember the quality long after they’ve forgotten the price. Unless you try to rip them off.
Wow, Cuso! That NovaTac HA-III sure is tough, if all you could get polished was the bezel and clip!
Yup, I have never seen these Radial Bristle Disks before but I will soon! There is a jewelry store 2 blocks from my house and obviously the place is a .... "not so good" jewelry store. But I will drop off a few disks and see if it will up there rating a little.
donn, thank you very much for all the info and the link for purchasing these disks!
Gee, thet's pUURty...(Damn nice work, fellas.)
I had to bring this back up. I am a fan of polished lights,though I don't own any yet. i'm working on this one
my typin is bad and my speeling is evenworse...
Yeah you guys like bling bling, right??!!
Greetings from Germany
something new in the Pipeline - The WORKY - a multitool (click)