(Topic ID: 124876)

Buffing wheel suggestions? Bench grinder isn't the best option anymore


By ForceFlow

4 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 22 posts
  • 16 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by Superchicken
  • Topic is favorited by 7 Pinsiders

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    #1 4 years ago

    So far, I've been buffing metal parts using an old Craftsman bench grinder with a buffing wheel, but I think it's time to move on from that. It's been ok so far, but I keep encountering limitations. Because of the metal guard around the wheel, I can only buff things of a certain size (for example, a lockbar is fine, but a coin door is impossible. Also, the wheels spin dangerously fast (too fast for buffing, anyway), so holding a part at the perfect angle is critical, otherwise it gets flung around by the wheel.

    So--is there a proper bench top buffing wheel that you can recommend that won't break the bank?

    #3 4 years ago

    Ditto Harbor Freight. Picked up one for around $60 I think pre 20% off coupon from the web, 3/4HP -- works well. Still flung some parts when I haven't been super careful but really nice to have the wheel open with no guard in the way.

    #4 4 years ago

    When using a buffing wheel remove metal guard, all it will do is get something stuck in it.

    #5 4 years ago

    Different size buffer wheels in a drill may be a good solution.

    #6 4 years ago

    What guards? I simply removed them and put on two 8" buffing wheels. Leather on the left for metal and cotton on the right for plastics. Everything shiny on the Acrylic Pinball was done on this machine. (Coin door, side rails, cabinet pieces, etc.)
    IMG_3686.JPG

    #7 4 years ago

    ForceFlow,
    Mk1Mod0 has the right idea. I'd call it spot on and with some bar polish you actually couldn't do any better. Just make sure they're is room around you, gloves on and eye protection. As far as wheel speed, you do need it for polishing metals but if you go to a 6" wheel the surface speed will decrease just a bit but you'll be closer to the machine. When doing large parts, take your time and think before every turn of the part not to snag an upper edge, it'll hurt.
    I've owned a buffing/polishing shop for 35 + years and that's the way we do it except our pedestal wheels are 18"
    You can pick up small quantities of polishing supplies here at tptools.com
    Good people with fast shipping

    Good luck and be careful

    #8 4 years ago

    Oh, just in case there's someone out there from OSHA, we do have all of our machines guarded :neener:and with an 18" wheel, plenty of it sticks out to work.
    But the one I have at home is almost the same setup as above.

    #10 4 years ago
    Quoted from Mk1Mod0:

    What guards? I simply removed them and put on two 8" buffing wheels.

    Quoted from crlush:

    When using a buffing wheel remove metal guard, all it will do is get something stuck in it.

    My bench grinder's guard is part of the main casing. The only parts that are removable are the side covers for switching out the wheels.

    Quoted from waltrr:

    As far as wheel speed, you do need it for polishing metals but if you go to a 6" wheel the surface speed will decrease just a bit but you'll be closer to the machine.

    I was under the impression that a buffing wheel was set at a significantly lower rpm than a bench grinder, making it a bit safer to use. Is that not the case?

    Quoted from waltrr:

    ForceFlow,
    Mk1Mod0 has the right idea. I'd call it spot on and with some bar polish you actually couldn't do any better. Just make sure they're is room around you, gloves on and eye protection.

    I've heard two schools of thought on gloves--some folks say to use gloves, and others not to because there is a risk of them getting caught in the wheel and pulling your hand in. Is that true, and which is the better approach?

    #11 4 years ago

    On motor speeds usually they are 3600rpm you can find motors that are 1750 rpm I have one i use to spin a wire wheel for cleaning rusty or gummed up parts. If you cant remove the guard you might want to go and get one of the wide shaft buffing motors that will let you do bigger pieces, i saw a dual speed buffing motor that would run 3600 or 1750 rpm if you want to run at slower speeds it just takes longer. If you dont feel comfortable wearing gloves than dont, without a guard there really isn't much chance of getting it caught in anything but its better to be safe than sorry.

    #12 4 years ago

    Why not make up a pigtail cord with a heavy wattage dimmer in it to vary the grinder speed ?

    #13 4 years ago

    I use gloves because the metal parts do get rather toasty. The idea is to be very careful and keep your mind on the task. (No ipod headphones cranked up, no conversing with the neighbor, etc.) I keep a firm grip on the parts and am mindful not to present an edge against the spinning wheel. Occasionally something WILL go flying and I usually find it nearby. That's what the cardboard is for. It deflects it up and absorbs a lot of the energy. Also keeps the green streaks off the wall.

    I get that you cannot disassemble your guards. Check craigs list and local classifieds. I picked up mine at a yard sale for $10. Super cheap off brand I have been using for over 5 years now. Not too shabby.

    #14 4 years ago

    No gloves for me.

    #15 4 years ago

    I bit the bullet and bought a professional Baldor "Made In USA" pedestal buffer. Not cheap but the best usually isn't. They were throwing this nice cast grinder pedestal out at work a few years ago. It's pretty-old and had about 10 coats of paint but after stripping it and repainting it industrial grey it looks brand-new. They don't make them like that anymore.

    I fabricated an aluminum adapter plate to mount the Baldor.

    IMG_4993s.jpg

    #16 4 years ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    I've heard two schools of thought on gloves--some folks say to use gloves, and others not to because there is a risk of them getting caught in the wheel and pulling your hand in. Is that true, and which is the better approach?

    If you have any kind of guard on that machine, do not wear gloves.

    #17 4 years ago
    Quoted from Gatecrasher:

    I bit the bullet and bought a professional Baldor "Made In USA" pedestal buffer. Not cheap but the best usually isn't. They were throwing this nice cast grinder pedestal out at work a few years ago. It's pretty-old and had about 10 coats of paint but after stripping it and repainting it industrial grey it looks brand-new. They don't make them like that anymore.
    I fabricated an aluminum adapter plate to mount the Baldor.
    IMG_4993s.jpg (Click image to enlarge)

    I have the same one at work, you can get the two speed 3/4hp with a cast iron stand and wheels/polish/rake for $1k shipped from TP tools. The long arbors are the best part, you just can't get the right angles with how close the wheels are to the motor with bench grinders.

    #18 4 years ago

    Do you guys just use the same wheel with different compounds? Namely, do you switch wheels for each different compound just use the same wheel?

    #19 4 years ago
    Quoted from Carl_694:

    Do you guys just use the same wheel with different compounds? Namely, do you switch wheels for each different compound just use the same wheel?

    You can either switch wheels or clean the old compound off with a rake and then apply new. The latter is obviously removing material from the wheel though so if you are switching often it's probably worth getting another wheel. Switching is easy and I keep a handful of different sisal and stitch wheels around for different compounds. Here is how I have it now with a Scotch-brite light deburring wheel, which is really good for a pre-polish or removing tool marks.

    Pro tip: Keep your compound in the fridge until applying, it melts slower and more of it gets pulled into the wheel instead of being sprayed all over the wall/ceiling/your face.

    DSC_0037_zpszi2xcxm0.jpg

    #20 4 years ago
    Quoted from Fixie:

    Why not make up a pigtail cord with a heavy wattage dimmer in it to vary the grinder speed ?

    You can buy inexpensive single phase speed controllers like this:

    ebay.com link » Router Variable Speed Controller Electric Motor Ac Control Rheostat 120v 15amp

    I get old parts all the time in my business, so I just took a single phase AC motor/drive combo, drilled out and threaded a hole on the motor shaft and mounted a polishing wheel. Works great.

    1 year later
    #21 3 years ago
    Quoted from Mk1Mod0:

    What guards? I simply removed them and put on two 8" buffing wheels. Leather on the left for metal and cotton on the right for plastics. Everything shiny on the Acrylic Pinball was done on this machine. (Coin door, side rails, cabinet pieces, etc.)

    Where is a good lace to get 8" leather buffing wheels?
    Local places don't carry leather buffing wheels

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