Polishing spheres using a buffing machine
Use a bench grinder as a buffing machine to keep your acrylics in good looking condition.
A "how to" guide on polishing spheres using a buffing machine Since this will be via text, I will try to be as specific as I can when it comes to describing this process. So sit back, grab a drink and turn on Auto-Scroll
First off let me be clear on a few points.
1. You "Can" damage your spheres by polishing if you are careless. By careless I mean forget what you are doing and melt a spot off of it. 2. Polishing spheres is tedious and can cause neck strain so remember to take a break if there is a large collection you have to polish. 3. There is no "Quick way" so don't ask. If you want great looking spheres, your going to have to work for it. 4. Each acrylic depending on size will take roughly 10-15 minutes for people just starting out 5-10 minutes for someone who knows what to do.
I will try to describe the process that I personally go through, step by step in exact order as to try and minimize confusion, if you have a question about a certain step, let me know and I'll get back to you on it.
What you will need: Buffing Machine with Cotton Wheel Attached Craftsman Plastic Polish Compound Safety Goggles Lightsource Soft Cloth Black Magic Tire wet/Other liquid Polish like Novus 1 a small file/chisel Sink with running water Soap
Preperation : Getting everything ready is a definate needed step, whenever I get started, I always make sure I have three things within arms reach. 1, A soft cloth 2. Safety glasses. 3. A high power lamp to see scratches you might have missed (using a flashlight will work as well if you choose) Lay your spheres out and make sure you have the time to begin this adventure.
Preparing the Machine itself: As I am sure you noticed the chisle/file and were wondering to yourself.... What?? Well let me explain. You need to prep the wheel, or the proper term, "dress the wheel". To do this step, make sure the wheel is properly tightened onto the machine and turn it on, and grab your safety glasses. When the wheel reaches optimal speed take your file/chisel and rub it on the wheel to fray the edges of the cotton, this will help hold the compound on and give you better polishing results. Once you have properly dressed the wheel, then its time to add the compound. Grab that bar of gray clay, smell it, smells like a crayon doesnt it? The wheel basically melts the clay onto the cotton, Now you don't need alot, I would say melt about 3-4 seconds worth on the wheel making sure you coat it from side to side. Ok, now your machine is prepared and ready to go, now lets get onto how to do a ball.
Polishing a Sphere: One thing to remember is that a sphere is exactly that, a 360 degree item. Therefor, whenever you polish out a scratch you have to polish vertically as well as horizontally. The easiest way to do this is to do it in stages and use a Sharpie or other marker. First, mark off a spot on the ball, and then another spot on the opposite side. We will for the time being respectivly call this top and bottom since you now have an axis to hold. Grip the ball with your thumbs on the top and index/middle fingers on the bottom. With an even pressure you are going to want to go up and down 3 to 4 times to make a line of polish, turn the ball a slight turn to the right or left, and do the same thing again. Repeat this until you have gone completely around the ball. The ball will have 2 quarter sized unpolished parts which you couldn't get to because of your fingers. Turn the ball so that the top and bottom are now left and right. Repeat the process from above, but only this time do not go over the unpolished areas, but do this in vectors turning the ball away from you so you take the polish marks from a vertical pattern, to a horizontal pattern. Constantly be moving the ball, under no circumstances should the ball ever be at rest on the wheel. By now you should be feeling the ball warm up, just imagin what that would do if you kept it on one spot. Hell I'll tell you, it will melt a flat spot on your ball. So don't do it unless you want a paperweight. Once you have re-polished sideways, now its time for you to take care of the top and bottom of the ball, just go over these areas with a big X. Duriong this time, should you notice that the ball is beginning to grip a little much, feel free to add a small amount of compound.
Buffing out the compound: This is where muscles work and the light comes into play. After polishing you will notice that your sphere is now a cloudy color, Don't worry, thats just the compound, take your soft cloth and rub that away. After you rub away the compound this is your chance to spot check your work by looking through the ball with a light behind it to catch any scratches you might have missed. When you are satisfied take your sphere over to the sink and give it a nice warm soapy bath. Towel dry, set aside, and move onto your next sphere. Hopefully that was not too confusing.
Adding the Finishing Touches: If your a palmspinner and have just completed your polishing, pick up all those spheres and try to spin them....Hard isnt it? Thats because there is nothing on the acrylics to make them slippery, normally the oils from your hand coat the ball and create less friction. Well you just took off all that coating. To remedy this problem, I use a car product called "Black magic Tire Wet" that adds a very slippery coating to the ball without leaving a greasy feeling on your skin. After your spheres have dried lay them out on a towel and one at a time spray them with a gentle coating of BMTW, let sit for a few seconds, and wipe clean with a dry cloth. If you ar a body roller and really don't care how slippery the balls are, then just don't worry about the above paragraph.
Any questions feel free to post em