I'm back with some before/after pics of a couple of silver balls I ran through my polishing contraption I found a lapidary supply house and bought one pound of 1000 grit polishing media.
I ran two balls through the polisher for 25 minutes. They cleaned up nice and came out smooth but the 1000 grit does not make them shine so I had to finish up with about a minute's time on the polishing wheel.
A new ball measured 1 1/16" which is 1.0625 with digital calipers. After smoothing them up and polishing they measured 1.059 for a loss in diameter of .0035, or three and one half thousandths. At that loss rate I could polish a ball five times and the loss would amount to 1/64". I don't think losing 1/64" inch in diameter would hurt game play but I have no way of knowing for sure except for trying this for awhile.
I may be rationalizing but, so far, I am happy with the results. If I can make a ball live for five times that gets the ball cost down to an equivalent of 20 cents.
Here is a pic of the machine, again.
In this picture, both balls had about the same amount of surfaces scratches when starting out. This pic shows the right hand ball after it went through polishing procedure. The ball on the left has not been worked, yet. I wish I could get you better pics but this is as good as an iPhone 4S will do.
In these two pics, the left hand ball has now been through the polishing routine. It is nice and shiny and will not tear my play fields up.
I can live with this. I load a ball into the machine, go some other things, come back 20-30 minutes later and repeat the process. For not too much effort I can keep an inventory of silver balls for cheap.
I would prefer to have some different motors to replace the drill motors I am using but motors are not cheap. I think the ideal motors for this would be windshield wiper motors as they are durable, quiet, and continuous duty motors, but the salvage yards around here all want $20.00 per motor, plus you would also need a transducer.
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