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How to Polish Stainless Steel

Kevin has been playing with some stainless steel while making his light sculpture sculpture Beacon.

People have been asking how he polished it.

Kevin shows one of his dual action grinder polishers and the small black shaft that rotates to allow the grinder, which also spins, to rotate orbitally.

The grinder creates a cool effect and also quickly smooths and polishes metal.

Kevin sticks a piece of 80 grit sandpaper right onto the sanding pad - it's adhesive instead of hook and loop. He has a piece of 1/8" stainless steel on his workbench.

To show the difference between single and dual action, he blocks the orbital motion, and puts on his safety gear to show what it can do. He grinds the stainless steel with the grinder set on single action.

Kevin then turns back on the dual action and grinds one section of the metal that he has already prepped with the grinder set on single action. The stainless steel looks very different in the two sections.

Next he grinds the same area with 120 grit, then 220 grit. The metal is looking shinier and shinier.

You can keep going up in grits, finer and finer to get more and more of the scratches out. As you do, the shine starts coming up.

By starting with the single action, you get the roughest scratches more quickly, then you can turn to the dual action with the finer and finer grits and then polishes and you can practically have a mirror.

So this is just one more tool for your metalworking toolbox. A dual action sander like this - either air powered like the one he is using or an electric powered grinder - is great to polish metal.

Kevin is ready to get back to work, but you might want to hang out for another moment to see him reach ... and reach for the grinder ....

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