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kraken

Polishing acrylic

Hi Guy,

 

Not sure if you knew this.   You can easily polish acrylic and other plastics with rubbing compound and fine sandpaper.

 

First, debur and sand as you would normally taper the end. 

Second go through stages of wet sand paper starting with:

400,then 800, then 1000, then 1200 (you can go up to 2000, but you may find 1000 is good enough)

This is identical to the process you would use to sand and polish a show car.   Since you are only

sanding a small area (as compared to an entire car) this wont take very long.  The trick is to make

sure that each stage of sanding removes the scratches created by the previous stage.

 

By the time you get to 1000 you can polish, but it is easier to polish if you go to 1200 or 1500 grit paper.

You can polish by hand or with a machine buffing wheel or pad.  By hand, definitely sand to 1200 as it

will be easier. Add rubbing compound to a soft cotton rag and aggressively rub the compound over the

sanded area.  It will take about a minute.  For the next step use polishing compound if you have it and

repeat but use a separate rag as not cross contaminate compounds.  Finally use a dry clean rag to remove

the residue.    Viola!  Shiny plastic.  

 

You can also use this on CD's or headlight lenses. 

 

If you are using a machine to buff and polish, be gentle

and allow the spinning surface to cast away from the edge otherwise it will damage the pipe (this is because it will

grab the edge or generate too much friction and melt the plastic).

Also machine polishing spins off a lot of compound so wear a respirator as the particles are not good to breathe

and do it outside otherwise it will get all over your shop and make everyone else get a sore throat.  Sounds dangerous,

the upside is you can polish a bunch of parts in a very short period of time so weight your options.

 

Just thought I'd offer this solution as the push-in type connectors probably wont get damaged if the surfaced is polished.

 

Cheers.

 

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Yes, I just finished polishing my frosted acrylic parts, just 2 Bitspower pump tops, and I did exactly what you mentioned here with one exception, I dry sanded instead of wet sanded. It seemed to work faster than wet sanding, which I normally do on paint jobs. Since dry sanding, I went up to 2000 grit sandpaper, then washed all the dust off, let the parts dry, and then I used a 3M rubbing compound. I used the rubbing compound twice, but the second time I used a polishing accessory for my dremel, which did an awesome job! I kept the dremel under 10k, and didn't apply very much pressure, and my pump tops came out looking like glass. With the polishing accessory for the dremel, I tried polishing a frosted acrylic fitting, and it too came out like glass. 

 

So, I validate Kraken's process, but since I dry sanded instead of wet sanded, I can't say if one works better than another, but if you do dry sand, I recommend going all the way up to 2000 grit sandpaper. 

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