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Thread: Polishing Tiny Pendants

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    23

    Question Polishing Tiny Pendants

    Hi,

    I am looking for a more efficient way to polish my silver jewellery. Generally the pieces I make are small pendants roughly 15-25mm, at the moment I use a cheap rotary tool with various mops and luxi compounds. When I spoke to someone at RioGrande about luxi compounds they said rotary tools are no good using these compounds as they need to be 3,000 RPM and rotary tools are too slow for this.

    My rotary tool says it is 8,000 - 18,000 RPM, so I am slightly confused as to why it would be too slow?

    My main problem is cleaning the piece after polishing. As my pieces are so small I use double sided sticky tape to fix it to a small rigid board and then polish on this - but when I polish it obviously heats the piece which melts the tape glue and leaves a very big gluey mess. I tried using rubbing alcohol/surgical spirit to remove this…….. big mistake! It stinks! Do you have any tips or tricks as how to polish tiny pieces?

    I was considering a bench polisher, but i'm thinking this would be worse for small pieces?

    I also have problems cleaning off the polishing compound residue after polishing, I am using an Ultra 4000 ultrasonic with hot water from the kettle, but I find it still needs a little wiping after this. I then use a micro fibre cloth to clean off the remaining residue but this then leaves fine scratches in my piece?

    Thanks for your help
    Hannah

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default

    Hi Hannah. I'd say you were ill advised from Rio to begin with.

    Personally I'd use a decent pendant motor so you can control the speed of your mops as faster isn't always better.

    As for polishing.. Different mops for tight spaces, but also as I was recently advised to do, pre polish components before soldering them together.. Helps a lot.

    I use a micro cloth as found in spectacle cases to polish off luxi compound, then for hard to reach areas I do it manually using thin strips of cloth or even dental floss.

    Finally the ultrasonic and a quick wipe over with a clean buffing mop.

    Cheers,

    Nick

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    268

    Default

    Hi Hannah,

    Well, it would depend on the rotary tool I guess. I use Luxi compound with a Proxxon rotary tool which has variable speed starting at 5000rpm, which I use at around 9-11000 rpm and this works fine! Then I first wipe the piece down as much as possible with some kitchen roll to get the worst of the compound off (not that there is much with Luxi), then use warm/hot water and a bit of soap/washing up liquid and an old toothbrush to clean the rest off and out of small spaces etc. Then dry and possibly a quick wipe with a soft polishing cloth to get rid of fingermarks etc. I don't find that ultrasonics are that great at removing compound, but that might be because I have a small cheapo one!

    As for holding the pendants, could you perhaps use a ring clamp with a piece of leather (to stop the metal marking again) to hold them? You could use Coolmorph or similar bit it would take ages as you would have to melt it again to turn the pieces over, although you could fix a whole load at the same time in one big "sheet"...

    Cheers,
    Carin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Staffordshire
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    Do your pendants have bails/something you could thread wire through......I would do this and then lie flat on a piece of leather and against the mop (bench polisher), I am able to do my pearl caps this way, so really quite tiny,....with a pendant motor you have effectively lost a hand, but secured onto a loop of wire should help to give you a better hold of your pieces.

    Ultrasonic (I use a cleaner with ammonia), rinse and dry, make sure that the cloth you polish your pieces with is kept in a bag, not on or by the bench, for instance, where it can collect particles which will scratch your work,.......learnt this the hard way!! DOH!!

  5. #5
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    Jul 2009
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    Romsey
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    One point on polishing speeds... RPM is not the critical issue; linear surface speed is. High RPM + tiny diameter = small linear surface speed. Half the RPM and 4x the diameter gives twice the surface speed. 2 of the Luxi compounds are supposed to be good at lower speeds; the rest are for polishing motors with 3-4" mops.

    Now we could do with Steven to give chapter & verse...!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    1,743

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    I do small stuff like that as well. generally I hand hold them, but if you find you must stick them down then lighter fluid usually clears off the gunk.

    My work flow is (all hand holding) tripoli, blue mezerna, yellow mezerna (Used to use just rouge). Then I swoosh around in very hot water and fairy for a couple of minutes before going to with a sonic toothbrush (I use my husband's, not my own obis) and bar soap. Rinse and dry off with paper towel and then a polishing cloth before boxing/photographing.

    I have thought about getting an ultrasonic but the cheap ones get crap reviews and I can't afford a good one yet.

    ETA: microfiber cloths come in different varieties. the ones for plastic lenses shouldn't scratch, but household ones do.

  7. #7
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    Central London
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    If you must do that, hold them in place with Polymorph, which softens in hot water and hardens again when cooled. More hot water or a heat gun will release your piece when you are finished.
    It is easily bought on-line.

    Personally I would stick them all in a tumbler and go off to watch Tele. Dennis.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2009
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    I think a little magnetic polisher might be just what you need. They don't have to be terribly expensive, and do an excellent job. They leave a very very slightly matte finish, which can either be buffed up with a polishing cloth or popped in a tumbler for a short while. You can put quite a lot of small pendants into even the smallest Bumblebee

    http://www.technicalsupermarket.com/...id,0/Itemid,4/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Exeter, Devon
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    I do the same as Dennis, give it go in a tumbler with stainless steel shot for about a couple of hours. I have a very cheap Ultrasonic and it is not worth the space it takes up on my shelf.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    London
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    I just treated myself to a magnetic polisher as I'd been saving up. It's completely marvellous at getting into all the little spaces and for doing tiny things. I've just been throwing in rough castings (with sprue removed and and mould lines sanded with 320 grit and they've come out brilliantly. As George said, they have a slightly frosted finish, which buffs off easily in the pendant drill with mezerna and a hard Alcantara mop. I have bought all of the new things recently - this forum is going to bankrupt me If your pendants are small but don't have fiddly little details to get into, a barrel polisher and steel shot would also work great for you.

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