Electric Polishing Tools

Written by don kress
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Electric Polishing Tools
Electric polishing tools polish metal, paint or even wood. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Electric polishing tools make the process of polishing painted objects or metal far easier than would be possible using hand polishing. These mechanical polishing tools greatly speed up material removal, which is necessary when polishing. Electric polishing tools employ a polishing compound that acts as both a lubricant and an abrasive. These polishing compounds range in grit from 2000 to over 6000 when compared with traditional sandpaper.

Orbital Buffers

Orbital buffers prepare and clean automotive paint jobs. They work by spinning a round pad made of sponge or wool. The pad is whetted with special automotive polishing compound that ranges from heavy-cut paint cleaner to what is called haze remover. The buffer passes over the paint several times, and the operator must watch carefully not only for the desired level of shine in the paint, but also for the buffing pad to dry out. If the pad dries out, the buffer could overheat the panel and damage the vehicle's paint. Operators usually don't use orbital buffers for polishing metal.

Rotary Tools

Operators use rotary tools such as Dremel tools for polishing metal in small spaces where other types of polishing tools cannot reach. The polishing pad is usually a drum-type pad fitted to a bit that looks like a wood screw. The pad rides on the surface to be polished on its side. Operators use it with one of three types of polishing compound sold in stick form and have the consistency of wax. The polishing compound is red, black or white depending on its grit. Red is the heaviest cutting compound, while white is the lightest. Like buffers, rotary tools have adjustable speed settings. The lowest setting is best for polishing soft metals, such as aluminium.

Bench top Buffers

Bench top buffers are simply bench grinders outfitted with polishing wheels in place of grinding wheels. Because the wheels are interchangeable, it is possible to have one tool to perform both tasks. Bench top buffer polishing wheels range between 5 and 10 inches in diameter, depending on the tool, and are comprised of numerous sheets of fabric sewn together. These buffers use the same types of red, black and white polishing compound used by rotary tool buffers.

Electric Drill Power Ball Polishers

Power ball polishers are foam polishing wheels similar in function to the foam pads used by orbital buffers, except that electric drills provide the power to the polishing tool. The shaft of the power ball polisher fits into the universal chuck of any electric drill, giving the operator room to push the polisher deep within recesses unreachable with other polishing methods. These polishers use the same cream-type polishing compounds used with orbital buffers.

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