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How To Get A Flawless Finish on Alumilite Blanks

– Posted in: Videos

Getting a scratch free finish is easy, and I’ve finally narrowed my process down to 6 steps. I first sand the blank using Abranet sandpaper, beginning at 240 grit then moving up to 400. The second part is the polishing stage. Using 3M wet/dry polishing paper, I go through the first two grit level before moving on to the buffing stage. I am now using only two of the three wheels on the Beall Buffing system. I get all the remaining scratch marks out with the Tripoly wheel, then finish up with White Diamond to get a brilliant scratch free polish on the blanks.

Here are the links to the products I mentioned in the video:

240 Grit Abranet

400 Grit Abranet

3M wet/dry polishing paper

Beall Lathe Buffing System

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  • Brett Lopez November 6, 2016, 6:01 AM

    What do you do when you’re sanding and polishing something that was not turned on a lathe? I hand shape a product with dremel and oscillating sander and don’t have the ease of just applying pressure evenly as something spins. Thanks in advance

    • Zac Higgins November 6, 2016, 10:41 PM

      I use the same products for the most part. Just go up through the grits with sandpaper by hand, or if the surface is flat and large enough I’ll use a random orbit sander. Same principles apply for the most part, you just don’t have the advantage of power. You can also wet sand which will help wash away the swarf a bit and help keep the sandpaper from clogging. I’d also recommend trying to sand the scratches of each grit in different directions. Helps to keep things even and lets you know when you’ve removed all the previous grit scratches. Once you’re through all the grits, I’d hit it with the buffing wheels.

      • Brett Lopez March 8, 2017, 12:31 PM

        Thanks for the response. It’s frustrating, I sand SUPER thorough on each and every grit, wet sand with the polishing paper, and buff with tripoli, WD, and pink no-scratch and still have micro swirling left that I just cant get out. Am I using the wrong buffing wheel? I hear people talking about removing the micro swirls during buffing….when I buff, the acrylic gets nice and glassy surface but still has the swirls…

  • Zac Higgins March 9, 2017, 1:11 AM

    Hey Brett, sorry to hear that you’re having problems getting all the scratches out. The only thing I can think of is to make sure that you’re not letting the sandpaper load up too much. If the resin gets caked up on the sand paper, you can end up kind of burnishing the plastic if it does get caked up. You might try wet sanding the whole way to help keep the dust swarf from caking up.

    I’d also recommend switching directions that you sand on each progressive grit level. You know you’ve sanded enough on the current grit when there are no scratches going the opposite (perpendicular) direction

  • Lee Coy June 29, 2017, 5:47 PM

    Would you finish wood and resin the same way as just resin?

    • Zac Higgins June 29, 2017, 10:57 PM

      That depends on how much protection you want on the wood. For non-stabilized wood I usually apply an oil, wax, or a CA finish on wood. You could technically sand wood to high grit and polish it, but it will typically look better with some type of finish applied to it first. If the wood is stabilized, you could definitely just use the polishing method and even wet sand it without any problems, it’s pretty well protected already

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