(Topic ID: 280657)

Polishing metal questions

By Dbfootball

1 year ago


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  • 39 posts
  • 16 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 11 months ago by bigguybbr
  • Topic is favorited by 5 Pinsiders

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    #1 1 year ago

    I’ve seen some amazing polished metal on this site. I’ve been trying to replicate but can’t seem to get it. Is there a way to polish out the coloring changes in the metal? Thanks

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    #2 1 year ago

    I’ve had good results mounting the coin return shaft in a drill. In the other hand have a rag with some fine steel wool. Then applying some Flitz polish and spin in the steel wool for a while. Looks brand new.

    #3 1 year ago
    Quoted from Ballypalooza:I’ve had good results mounting the coin return shaft in a drill. In the other hand have a rag with some fine steel wool. Then applying some Flitz polish and spin in the steel wool for a while. Looks brand new.

    I have heard about using steel wool but that it could cause future rust issues. So I have been hesitant to use it

    #4 1 year ago

    I've polished those coin reject buttons to a chrome-like shine on a buffing wheel with green compound. The hinge, if the discoloration is the nickel or zinc plating flaked off and bare metal showing, you're never gonna get an even shine on that unless you replate it. On the cast pot metal coindoor plate, the difference in color shows uneven chrome plating, but that should just be on the inside where you don't see it anyway.

    #5 1 year ago

    You can try a scotchbrite pad instead.

    My experience is that zinc plated metal that has lost its plating isn't going to become uniformly shiny.

    #6 1 year ago

    I used 0000 wool, scotch brite and mother’s mag polish. Came out pretty well.

    Thanks for the responses

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    #7 1 year ago
    Quoted from Dbfootball:

    I have heard about using steel wool but that it could cause future rust issues. So I have been hesitant to use it

    You might try stainless steel wool - a little more expensive, but no oils, lasts longer and less likely to cause rust issues.

    amazon.com link »

    #8 1 year ago
    Quoted from Dbfootball:

    I used 0000 wool, scotch brite and mother’s mag polish. Came out pretty well.
    Thanks for the responses
    [quoted image]

    Looks good. But if you have a bench grinder, change out one wheel to a buffing wheel. Then use green buffing compound. You can get amazing results. Have polished everything from heads of screws, to full lock down bars.

    3 months later
    #9 1 year ago

    I bought a bench buffing wheel at Harbor Freight. It works well and have been happy with results. However, polishing pads are tearing up throwing fibers and it's a mess. What are the better grade pads to look for?

    #10 1 year ago
    Quoted from Playdium:

    However, polishing pads are tearing up throwing fibers and it's a mess. What are the better grade pads to look for?

    I don’t think I’ve ever found pads that don’t spit fibers and dust all over the place. More a result of the compound. Especially if the parts are pretty bad and you’re pressing with force.

    I tend to do a little area with the fiber wheel, then switch over to the buffing wheel repeatedly. Seems to cut down on the mess.

    Just did the playfield support bar on my SBM last night.

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    #11 1 year ago

    I had some bally buttons made up in stainless which come up really well if you want to polish them. I have some left, happy to post at cost but am in Australia.

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    #12 1 year ago
    Quoted from Playdium:

    I bought a bench buffing wheel at Harbor Freight. It works well and have been happy with results. However, polishing pads are tearing up throwing fibers and it's a mess. What are the better grade pads to look for?

    Same here, throw fibers and dust. Bent an old thin piece of aluminum about 18" wide and 14 high to form a back stop for stuff that throws off the back of the wheel.

    #13 1 year ago
    Quoted from DCRand:

    Same here, throw fibers and dust. Bent an old thin piece of aluminum about 18" wide and 14 high to form a back stop for stuff that throws off the back of the wheel.

    Yup, I'm going to make up something because I have "dust bunnies" all over the shop. That black compound sold at Harbor Freight sometimes builds up in the crack and crevices and can very stubborn to remove. Just finished up a score motor and love the results.

    4 months later
    #14 1 year ago

    I've had good success polishing small metal parts like plungers and cig holders and coin return buttons going from green scotch bright to blue scotch bright to 1000 grit wet dry sandpaper, then 1500 then 2000 then mothers mag with a soft cloth.

    What do folks do for larger pieces, such as a coin door and the coin door frame?

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    1 month later
    #15 11 months ago
    Quoted from undrdog:

    I've had good success polishing small metal parts like plungers and cig holders and coin return buttons going from green scotch bright to blue scotch bright to 1000 grit wet dry sandpaper, then 1500 then 2000 then mothers mag with a soft cloth.
    What do folks do for larger pieces, such as a coin door and the coin door frame?[quoted image]

    Wow way too much work. Have a 3/4 horse grinder w 8” polishing wheel. Use green compound. Does a beautiful job in under a minute a piece for small stuff. Can do lock down bars pretty easy. Coin doors are tougher but done a couple.

    #16 11 months ago

    Is there a buffing wheel for dremel?
    I also have the 8" buffing wheel but for some things it is awkward.
    There is also the occaisional missile launch which can be dangerous for the part and for me.

    #17 11 months ago

    Dremel does have polishing wheels. Might be able to get some at harbor freight.

    Quoted from DCRand:

    Can do lock down bars pretty easy.

    I’ve got a 1961 Gtb lockdown bar where the end pieces are devoid of any chrome. The surface is totally rough, dull, and pitted. What do you recommend?

    #18 11 months ago

    Is Green compound a stick?

    #19 11 months ago

    Usually is a bar or stick

    #20 11 months ago
    Quoted from undrdog:

    Dremel does have polishing wheels. Might be able to get some at harbor freight.

    I’ve got a 1961 Gtb lockdown bar where the end pieces are devoid of any chrome. The surface is totally rough, dull, and pitted. What do you recommend?

    If they are anything like the end caps on my Heat Wave, they are pot metal and will just discolour after you polish them. I had mine rechromed.

    Just buy new ones from PBR.

    1 week later
    #21 11 months ago
    Quoted from Colsond3:

    I don’t think I’ve ever found pads that don’t spit fibers and dust all over the place. More a result of the compound. Especially if the parts are pretty bad and you’re pressing with force.
    I tend to do a little area with the fiber wheel, then switch over to the buffing wheel repeatedly. Seems to cut down on the mess.
    Just did the playfield support bar on my SBM last night.
    [quoted image][quoted image]

    Ok, you got me. I have polished the heck out of everything on a game, including under cabinet items like chime bars, game counters, and tilt bobs. But never thought about doing the playfield support. LOL

    #22 11 months ago
    Quoted from undrdog:

    Dremel does have polishing wheels. Might be able to get some at harbor freight.

    I’ve got a 1961 Gtb lockdown bar where the end pieces are devoid of any chrome. The surface is totally rough, dull, and pitted. What do you recommend?

    Haven't tried the pot metal, was concerned it wouldn't turn out well and only had a few games with that kind of bar and chrome loss. Just cleaned those and left them alone otherwise.

    #23 11 months ago
    Quoted from Playdium:

    I bought a bench buffing wheel at Harbor Freight. It works well and have been happy with results. However, polishing pads are tearing up throwing fibers and it's a mess. What are the better grade pads to look for?

    I'm not sure what pads are the best. I made a crude dust cover with two planks and some stiff paper I had lying around. It catches most of the dust and fibers when polishing. It's not a beautiful setup but it works decently.

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    I use a product called Autosol for the cleaning/polishing, no idea if it's available all over the world but I think it does a good job with not that much effort. Sanding with many different grit of papers and such is just to much work imo.

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    The result:
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    #24 11 months ago

    Looks good. It doesn't take much to clean up some of these parts.

    #25 11 months ago

    Those pieces look real nice. If you were polishing a ball lifter knob or a plunger with that method would you get a nice mirror result?
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    Perhaps I should mention that I’m not going to all that trouble for metal inside the machine. Just the parts that should look nice on the outside.

    #26 11 months ago
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    #27 11 months ago

    I polish many parts inside and outside the cabinet.

    Many times, i am worried about polishing the steel and removing plating.

    For example, i believe many of the steel parts are zinc plated. You can remove that plating and polish like a mirror but then it is raw steel. My fear is it will likely rust in just about any enviroment.
    In cases where i believe the plating is gone, i will give it a quick clear coat. Other parts i trade mirror shine for a brighter than tarnished look.
    In these cases i soak them in evaporust for 1/2 to 1 hour to brighten them up without removing the plating. It also works for more complex shapes that would be a pain on the buffer or to hand polish.

    #28 11 months ago

    Didn’t think about clear coating.

    #29 11 months ago

    Ive Sanded and polished a 60 year old Lockdown bar, with zero plating left.
    It will only look good for about a month.

    When clear coated, It didnt look like Nickel Plating, but had a nice luster lasting years.

    https://www.everbritecoatings.com/

    Highly recommend as the coating is self leveling, and Alcohol solvent.

    #30 11 months ago

    I’ve never used chrome paint in a rattle can. Would be easier than hand polishing and clear coating. Whaddaya think?

    #31 11 months ago

    I have used several of the chrome spray paints.
    I have had mixed results.
    One of them looked just like chrome. Problem was you could never touch it. If you touched it, the oil from your skin was not removable. This was true even months after spraying it.
    Others just looked like silver paint.

    I generally use polishing instead of spray painting. But there are times where i will spray if the piece is never going to look good no matter how much polishing i do.

    #32 11 months ago

    I’ve ordered a can of everbrite. We don’t have the humidity of Florida here in the Dallas area, but clear coat on metal that wasn’t really meant to be polished seems like a good idea.

    #33 11 months ago
    Quoted from PinballAir:

    My fear is it will likely rust in just about any enviroment.

    A quality polish will leave a protective film on the part after polishing. I only use Blue Magic, which says in the instructions that it leaves a silicone film on the part. You can feel the film, it's slippery. Great for lane guides that the ball touches (makes the game faster).

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    #34 11 months ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    A quality polish will leave a protective film on the part after polishing. I only use Blue Magic, which says in the instructions that it leaves a silicone film on the part. You can feel the film, it's slippery. Great for lane guides that the ball touches (makes the game faster).[quoted image]

    Just curious, when it comes to waxes, etc. the restorers in the hobby warn away from silicone as it makes it difficult or impossible to touch up and clear coat a playfield. would the Blue Magic through ball contact cause the same problem?

    #35 11 months ago

    Turns out, there's no shortcut in polishing.

    The first pic is green compound from HF applied and buffed with a wheel, as suggested a few posts back.(I used a soft polishing wheel on a Dremel, not having a bench polisher.)

    The second is hand polishing from 800 grit up to 3000, finishing with Mother's Mag & Aluminum polish. The last picture is after finishing with the wheel and then with a hand cloth. In person, you can tell that using the wheel did crisp up the image just little more.

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    #36 11 months ago

    Polishing shooter rods is easy if you just use your drill. Place the rod in your drill chuck, and use progressively finer sand paper to get it smooth. Finish it off on a buffing wheel with some compound. Mirror finish in less than 10 minutes.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/trident-2020-restoration-/page/2#post-6404819

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    #37 11 months ago

    Nice

    #38 11 months ago
    Quoted from bigguybbr:

    Polishing shooter rods is easy if you just use your drill. Place the rod in your drill chuck,

    Thanks for the tip. That was much easier.

    The reason I hadn’t tried it before is because I’d read that polishing metal you want to use wet sandpaper and the method was to go one direction and then perpendicular to that.

    #39 11 months ago
    Quoted from undrdog:

    Thanks for the tip. That was much easier.
    The reason I hadn’t tried it before is because I’d read that polishing metal you want to use wet sandpaper and the method was to go one direction and then perpendicular to that.

    Glad it worked out for you!

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