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Thread: Barrel polishing titanium jewellery?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    9

    Default Barrel polishing titanium jewellery?

    Hello,

    I make (grade 1) titanium jewellery, and was wondering if there was some type of polishing compound or polishing medium I could use in my barrelling machine to get an at least close-to-polished finish on my pieces that would require very little (or at least a lot less) hand-finishing? Some of my items have a hammered texture, and some are smooth - in both cases, I’m going for a shiny, highly polished result without spending hours doing it by hand (I’ve been using the green Dialux compound on a hard felt wheel, and my pendant motor, which is effective, but very time consuming, makes a huge mess, and goes through a lot of felt wheels and compound).

    Stainless steel shot in burnishing solution left running for several hours definitely does something to the pieces I tried, but it still needs quite a bit of hand polishing. I’m wondering if there is some kind of fine abrasive I could add to the mix to speed up and enhance the process a bit, without removing too much material (some surface removal is needed though, to get a nice shiny finish).

    So has anyone had good results with a particular polishing medium on titanium in a barrelling machine?
    Last edited by C.G.; 01-03-2020 at 09:34 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    1,201

    Default

    I am no expert although here are a couple of thoughts, stainless in my opinion will be too soft for Titanium and you will just burnish the shot, I would suggest a Lapidary supply they will have a selection of polishing grit to choose from, Diamond comes to mind.
    I think it will be a case of try it and see what works, even after tumbling you will need to use your pendant motor or a bench polishing machine to achieve a high quality finish, these days I use my bench polishing machine for 98% of my work, once you become competent with a bench polisher you will only go to a pendant motor when you absolutely have to, I only use a tumbler for stones.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    9

    Default

    My pieces are mostly earrings, and tend to have delicate wires and such. A bench polisher seems like it wouldn’t be a good fit for those, but I totally can see how it would be a better way to polish large areas/bigger items.

    I am fine with doing some final finishing by hand, and do expect to have to do that, but am looking for a way to cut down the sheer amount of hand polishing, and the time it takes, if that makes sense.

    I’ll have a look around for polishing “grit” now that I know what the terminology is. :-)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    9

    Default

    I’m seeing a lot of silicon carbide grit available, which I know is the abrasive on my emery paper (which works very effectively on titanium). Do you think that’s worth a try? How is it used? Do you add it to water/detergent?

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