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Polishing Soft Plastics to flawless finish?

post #1 of 12
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I'm trying to Polish up mainly two types of surfaces:

1- Soft Black plastic that can buff with even just a soft tissue wiping over it. Like on the front of my NAS.


2- Slightly harder plastics like acrylic CD case surface. Like the front of a DVD clear panel display.


With #1: I used Meguiars M205 polish & chemical guys white polish pad by hand. I did it about 3-4 times depending on how scuffed the plastic is. Then used the same polish with chemical guys blue pad. After to get the residue polish off I use a wet tissue & wet surface & then use dry tissue to absorb the water but no rubbing. Do this about 4-5 times, then a final wipe with a microfiber cloth that is already wet with iso/demin water & let air dry & should be streak free. As far as I can tell this is about as good as you can gets with such soft plastic. I could not believe how easy my WD NAS scratched on first few days.

Ideally washing the surface under water is better to avoid re scratching it, machine polish would be overkill & probably add more scratches.



As for #2: I hope the same applies just requiring more elbow grease. Haven't yet experimented enough to know if a flawless finish is possible.


Has anyone got these types of plastics flawless to brand new condition from polishing or any other method?
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post #2 of 12
Acrylics can be buffed to a crystal clear finish with a buffing wheel (1 x 10 inch) spinning at 1700 RPM and using special acrylic buffing compounds.

But the the investment in the equipment depends on how much buffing you're going to do.

Elbow grease = less $$$.
Edited by billbartuska - 6/14/16 at 1:27am
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post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billbartuska View Post

Acrylics can be buffed to a crystal clear finish with a buffing wheel (1 x 10 inch) spinning at 1700 RPM and using special acrylic buffing compounds.

But the the investment in the equipment depends on how much buffing you're going to do.

Elbow grease = less $$$.

Thanks, do you have suggestions for acrylic compounds?
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post #4 of 12
I get mine from Peterson Brothers Plastics in Chicago. They sell 1 pound bricks of the stuff they use in house for $5.
Best I've found, but you have to go there. There's not a whole lot of differences brand to brand though.
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post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billbartuska View Post

I get mine from Peterson Brothers Plastics in Chicago. They sell 1 pound bricks of the stuff they use in house for $5.
Best I've found, but you have to go there. There's not a whole lot of differences brand to brand though.


Maybe Novas #2 or PlastX on buffing wheel?
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post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan_9 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by billbartuska View Post

I get mine from Peterson Brothers Plastics in Chicago. They sell 1 pound bricks of the stuff they use in house for $5.
Best I've found, but you have to go there. There's not a whole lot of differences brand to brand though.


Maybe Novas #2 or PlastX on buffing wheel?
No., That won't work at all.
You need a buffing compound

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post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billbartuska View Post

No., That won't work at all.
You need a buffing compound



Thanks,

To get a perfect finish do you need to use the other finer compounds after something like Tripoli?

Would a smaller wheel on a drill be enough?
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post #8 of 12
Sorry, I've been out of town................

In my experience there are different "grits" of plastic buffing compounds although I have not seen any of these stated on the packaging. It's takes some experimenting. But any will work, some slower than others and some more likely to cause melting from too much wheel speed/pressure.

Don't use Tripoli. It will melt the plastic and burn the compound into it. pretty much wrecking the part.

You can buy wheels and the best compound that I've been able to find (white diamond) from Peterson Brothers Plastic online for $7.50 + shipping

A drill and smaller wheel will work. But you can pick up a 1/3 HP electric motor, mandrel and wheel for less than $30 if you shop around.
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post #9 of 12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billbartuska View Post

Sorry, I've been out of town................

In my experience there are different "grits" of plastic buffing compounds although I have not seen any of these stated on the packaging. It's takes some experimenting. But any will work, some slower than others and some more likely to cause melting from too much wheel speed/pressure.

Don't use Tripoli. It will melt the plastic and burn the compound into it. pretty much wrecking the part.

You can buy wheels and the best compound that I've been able to find (white diamond) from Peterson Brothers Plastic online for $7.50 + shipping

A drill and smaller wheel will work. But you can pick up a 1/3 HP electric motor, mandrel and wheel for less than $30 if you shop around.

Thanks billbartuska for your help.

I tried a basic plastic polishing kit with a coarse (loose flap Polishing Wheel) & fine (swansdown Polishing Wheel) & a compound called Polac. Every combination & different speeds with the drill just buffed the plastic acrylic with a visible scuffed appearance. The hand polish method as above did a far better job. Although a drill is not ideal the results were pretty bad.

From this I think these kits are only good for significantly harder plastics. When you spoke of crystal clear finish did you mean any very small hair line scratches & what kind of plastics? Hard or soft enough you can scuff with your dry finger?

cheers
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post #10 of 12
This is the set up I use.:


Here's a res top and bottom after polishing.



Is your problem that scratches are not being removed or are that they being added?
Edited by billbartuska - 7/1/16 at 2:25am
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