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Thread: How do I polish stainless steel to a perfect mirror finish

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  1. #1
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    How do I polish stainless steel to a perfect mirror finish

    Hello all watch geeks

    I working on a watch project, where I need to polish some (stainless steel AISI 316L) watch cases to a mirror finish. the watch cases comes right from milling machine and are therefore "raw"
    But I have a problem when I try to polish it, there comes very small dents in the surface when I'm done.
    I am a perfectionist and I want it to be smooth as a mirror. How do I avoid those very small dents? The surfaces that has to be polished are flat and in other places curved.

    I've tried to polish it with emery paper 1200 grit. and then polish it on a buffer wheel. but still not perfect. Could it be because the buffer wheel does not turn fast enough or is not large enough (about 12cm in diameter) or its too soft? Or does it have something to do with the stainless steel is not heat treated right.

    I hope that there is some master polish out there that can help me on the right track

    In advance, thank you very much
    Time is a killer

  2. #2
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    Re: How do I polish stainless steel to a perfect mirror finish

    well mate here is the procedure:
    1. use strong machine(the discs should not loose speed when you apply the case to them) and it has to have around 2800-3000rpm
    2.use hard felt disc for the first polish with following paste: https://shop.bergeon.ch/index.php?se...&numero=7102-8
    3.use soft felt wheel with polishing paste https://shop.bergeon.ch/index.php?se...&numero=7102-3
    4.use cotton disc with this paste to finish:https://shop.bergeon.ch/index.php?se...&numero=7102-2

    use larger diameter wheels as they give best result due to high speed at the end (150-200mm should be good)

    if you dont know what wheels to use write me and i will give you links of them also.

    br
    emso
    jesse1 and myke like this.

  3. #3
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    Re: How do I polish stainless steel to a perfect mirror finish

    From your post, it sounds like you have several pieces of the same design to prepare and finish. Once you have your "recipe" for producing the finish you want...if there are a large number of pieces...you might want to design fixtures for controlling the wheel contact with the piece, so that the change to the flat and curved areas are consistent, as well as keeping radiused and square corners uniform. If this is not practical or justified by the numbers, you will want to at least do each step of the recipe with all the pieces...then move to the next step with all the pieces...etc. This will improve efficiency and consistency.

    As for the process...most folks have their own recipe of materials and rouges. Different watch manufacturers teach specific procedures for case/bracelet refinishing. My guess is that emso's materials and procedures will work just fine, so I'd give them a try. If you have a piece you can "waste", I'd practice on it until you're satisfied with your procedure. Regards, BenchGuy

  4. #4
    Member jesse1's Avatar
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    Re: How do I polish stainless steel to a perfect mirror finish

    ALLE PA DANMARK!! The compounds emso recomended are great I've worked with them a lot .There is also a compound called 'Polinium" with was developed for Rolex that I have used for the past 12 years it comes in yellow and white . Jules Borel& co is a good source . A few pics of these "small dents" would be great . I'm wondering if what your seeing is porousity in the metal itself .These look like tiny "pinholes' , and are very hard to get out . The other thing that is " migt VIGDIT!!" is that your wheels are CLEAN !! I can't stress this enough . I store my wheels in sealed plastic bags individually hung on the wall above the polishing area and separated by metal and by compoud . Contaminated wheels will waste more of your time than anything else . The size as emso says is also very important , a larger wheel has more surface area per rotation . The ones I use are chemically treated to hold the compound. You use less and the clean up is very quick . Good Luck .

  5. #5
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    disambiguation

    These are love'em or hate'em products. Poor naming for the US market. Always makes me think of denture products or the periodic table.

    Refer to the MSDS(SDS).

    p
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  6. #6
    Member jesse1's Avatar
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    Re: disambiguation

    LMAO!! That was good ! I was introduced to these at the RSC NY and bought them immediately , AND hated them immeditately . I bought new wheels as well but couldn't seem to get them to work right so I put them away . Afew weeks went by and I got to thinking " these guys have multi million dollar R&D departments , who am I to arrgue ,It's got to be something that I'm doing and it was . I just need to use WAAAAY less compound and dress/clean my wheels more frequently and they have work well for me ever since.
    Last edited by jesse1; October 6th, 2012 at 22:05.

  7. #7
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    Re: disambiguation

    yes cleaning the wheels and making them perfectly flat is one of most important things needed(and 90 degrees angles), even the smalest particle can make terrible scratches due to fast rotation,sorry but i forgot to mention the felt discs are cleaned with a broken sharpening stone(similar like indian stone) and the final polishing cloth is cleaned and trimmed with a special comb from bergeon (https://shop.bergeon.ch/index.php?se...e=&numero=7116)
    too much paste will make problems with cleaning.

    if needed "satinage" look on the you need the https://shop.bergeon.ch/index.php?se...e=&numero=6085 wheel
    it does not need paste

    everything mentioned in this post is changed if you use the "crevoisier" machine, that is a totaly different story what i would like to learn to use some day
    another thing i forgot is the leather thimbles that is a MUST or youll end up in the burn unit of your local or state hospital

  8. #8
    Member Aesthetier's Avatar
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    Re: disambiguation

    Polinoxx is just about the best stainless polish available. The reason people seem to hate it is that it isn't meant to hide defects in the surface. It has no "rounding" capacity, so it won't dull edges and things like that. really, the part has to be shiny already for it to work, and when it is, it becomes a new level of shiny altogether.

  9. #9
    Member LCheapo's Avatar
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    Re: disambiguation

    Maybe the grit you started with was too fine for the surface imperfections, and you ended up just polishing the biggest dents, instead of taking them out first?

  10. #10
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    Re: disambiguation

    hmmm cant see the pictures, can you check?

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