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Mirror finishing on stainless steel tubes & pipes

Mirror finishing on stainless steel tubes & pipes

Posted on Tuesday, 14 May 2019 by Eddie Thomas
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Want to know how to get a quality mirror finish on your stainless steel pipes or tubes? Look no further - here's a guide to all the tools and techniques you need to make your fabrication shine!

Step 1. Removal

First thing, you'll want to smooth off the weld and/or any other defects that have happened during fabrication. Your tools and technique will depend on where the joints/defects are, and how difficult they are to access.

Straight or minor bends

If your fabrication is mainly straight, or has minor bends, you can probably get away with using the same tools as if you were working on a flat piece:
  • Using a Deerfos Bora9 Fibre Disc, 120 grit, carefully remove the weld without gauging or distorting the work. Keep sanding until you get the desired shape.
T-Sections or tight bends

If your welds are at T sections or around tight bends, chances are your typical flat sanding disc won't be able to reach them, so we've got a couple of different options:
  • Attach a removal grade Buff-Tex Unitized Wheel to your sander and use the edge to reach the joint and carefully remove the weld; or
  • If a full sized wheel is still going to be too big to get into a tight space, try using a removal grade (red) Rap-Lock Unitized Disc

Removal Tool Kit

     
For Straight or Minor Bends: 
Deerfos Bora9 Fibre Disc 
60 grit+

For T-Sections or Tight Bends:
Buff-Tex Unitized Wheel 
Removal grade
For T-Sections or Tight Bends
Rap-Lock Unitized Disc 
Removal grade

Step 2. Blending & Fine Sanding

After you've leveled the weld and removed any defects, you'll now want to bring these areas up to the base product finish. To do this you'll need to sand the whole piece to get it ready for polishing.
Once again, your tools and technique will depend on where the joints are, and how difficult they are to access: Straight or minor bends
  • Start with a Deerfos SA331 Velcro Sanding Disc, P120 grit. Attach to your sander, and go over the areas you sanded in Step 1. At 4,000-6,500 RPM, move at a 90° angle to the scratches made in the previous step so make sure the they are removed.
  • Sand the fabricated areas until you have them to about the finish of the original sheet. Once you've done this you will then need to start sanding the whole surface. Repeat each next step: The higher the mirror finish you want, the more you will need to sand. From this point, the higher you sand, the better mirror finish you will get. This next step will take longer to get the prefect finish.
T-Sections or tight bends

 

  1. Attach a blending grade Buff-Tex Unitized Wheel to your sander and use the edge to reach the joint and blend in the welded area, move at a 90° angle to the scratches made in the previous step so make sure the previous scratches are removed.
  2. Now move to a finishing grade Buff-Tex Unitized Wheel and go over the area again, moving at a 90° angle to the scratches made in the previous step so make sure the previous scratches are removed.
  3. Lastly, change to a polishing grade Buff-Tex Unitized Wheel and go over the area again, moving at a 90° angle to the scratches made in the previous step so make sure the previous scratches are removed.
  • Option 2: Rap-Lock Unitized Disc
  1. If a full sized wheel is still going to be too big to get into a tight space, try using a blending grade (grey) Rap-Lock Unitized Disc. Attach to your sander and use the edge to reach the joint and blend in the welded area, move at a 90° angle to the scratches made in the previous step so make sure the previous scratches are removed.
  2. Now move to a finishing grade (blue) Rap-Lock Unitized Disc and go over the area again, moving at a 90° angle to the scratches made in the previous step so make sure the previous scratches are removed.
  3. Finally, move to a polishing grade (green) Rap-Lock Unitized Disc and go over the area again, moving at a 90° angle to the scratches made in the previous step so make sure the previous scratches are removed. 

 

Blending & Fine Sanding Tool Kit



For Straight or Minor Bends:

Deerfos SA331 Velcro Sanding Disc, P120-P2000 grits
For T-Sections or Tight Bends:
Buff-Tex Unitized Wheel
Blending grade
For T-Sections or Tight Bends:
Rap-Lock Unitized Disc
Blending, Finishing & Polishing grades

Step 3. A Mirror Finish

Now that you've prepared the fabrication for polishing, it's time to give it a brilliant mirror finish!

Grab your sander with a clean Swansdown Dolly Polishing Mop, and on a slow setting apply some 3B Green Rouge Polishing Compound to the mop (or for a super jewelry like polish use Blue Hubble)

Set the sander to 2,000-3,000 RPM, and polish over the entire fabrication, making sure to get into all the curves and corners. For any areas you can't reach with the mop, these will need to be manually polished.

Polishing Tool Kit



Swansdown Dolly Polishing Mop
3B Green Rouge Polishing Compound

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