Best tool for mirror finish polishing?
#1
Hey everyone, new guy here!

I'm looking for a tool that would allow me to polish small metal pieces. All I find are tumblers and hand-held tools. What I would like to do is create small metal cubes about an inch on a side as smoothly polished and straight sided as possible. I'm thinking I need something like a small lathe that can hold both the workpiece and a grinding bit to each other that I can then jam together. Then a polishing bit for the finishing. Is a lathe overkill though? Can it even do this? Whatever is the appropriate tool if it can polish plastic and glass too so much the better.

What gear do I need for this?

Rasiel
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#2
The metal ? aluminium, steel, brass.
Smiley-eatdrink004 
DaveH
 a child of the 60's and 50's and a bit of the 40's Smile
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#3
Mill them, sand them with progressively finer grits of wet/dry paper and buff them with rouge on a buffing wheel. It would be a LOT of work if you have many to do. A buffing wheel will polish anything with the appropriate compound. Glass is very slow though, using diamond or cerium oxide.

Tom
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#4
So forgive me for being a newb... I need a mill? Any particular kind is best suited for this? Accessories?

I would be polishing soft and hard metals.

Thanks guys!

Rasiel
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#5
If you want to make cubes, a mill would be the best choice. It can be done on the lathe, but not easily. Knowing what kind you need is a matter of rolling up your sleeves and digging around in the forum to see what the rest of us are using for what type of work.

Tom
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#6
(02-16-2016, 06:32 PM)TomG Wrote: If you want to make cubes, a mill would be the best choice. It can be done on the lathe, but not easily. Knowing what kind you need is a matter of rolling up your sleeves and digging around in the forum to see what the rest of us are using for what type of work.

Tom, in school longer than I remember, the kids were separated by an interview, like a group with a degree of
machines (like myself) then kids that could use some kind of tool and kids with absolutely no knowledge. My group
born with gears valve jobs brake lathes (my fathers shop). OK my first test the teacher gave me, was to make a
block out of a round and then make the block round again, no dimensions- just do it on a war baby S Bend lathe.
I did it in two seconds.  I'm saying thats how teachers found ones level back 65 yrs ago.  I can get a 98%
mirror finish with a shaper.  The out of the box thinking, I use a 4 inch sissle wheel on a angle grinder and
buff while the part is still in the vise.  Same goes while chucked in a lathe.  Way better than hand held buffing.
Things get hot.
sam
big job, proud to be a member of MetalworkingFun since Jun 2012.
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#7
Sam, would love to know how you get that mirror finish. I've no idea what a shaper is.

Rasiel
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#8
Shapers make cubes. I suppose they could polish..?
I just wanted to show off my shaper. Smile


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#9
A video of one in operation would be the best way to describe it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_BofN7_gsw
Logan 200, Clarke 7x12, Index 40H Mill, Boyer-Shultz 612 Surface Grinder, HF 4x6 Bandsaw, ...
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#10
Making the cube is easy, a hunnert different ways. The hard part is polishing. The straightline toolmarks from a shaper might be easier to polish out than swirlies from a mill or lathe. Sounds like work to me, either way. Smile

Here's my favorite shaper vid:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZFFYIvTLiE
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