What is a buffing wheel? Today, we will mainly introduce the buffing wheel used for the surface treatment products.
Buffing and polishing using wheels and ‘compounds’ is somewhat like using wet and dry sanding paper, only much faster. Instead of using ‘elbow grease’ you will be using the power and speed of an electric motor.
The edge, or face, of the wheel is the ‘sanding block’, which carries a thin layer of ‘compound’ which is the sandpaper. Varying types of wheel are available, and the different grades of compound are scaled similar to sandpaper. The compounds are made from a wax substance which has the different abrasive powders added to it. When this hard block is applied to the edge of a spinning buffing wheel, the heat from the friction melts the wax, and both wax and abrasive are applied in a thin slick to the face of the wheel.
Choose the right buffing compound
There are different types of wheels and these have different effects on the compound they are used with. For example, the SISAL wheel is a coarse ‘rope like’ fiber, which frays out to make a sort of brush. These fibers have a very beneficial effect on scratched and rougher surfaces, almost stroking them smooth. When used with a course ‘EMERY’ compound, they ‘cut’ the metal down very rapidly. You could use this compound on a SPIRAL SEWN wheel and it would work, but the job would take much longer because the softer SPIRAL SEWN wheel is not going to thrash the metal so aggressively.
As you progress through the buffing compounds, you will change your buffing wheel, ending up using a soft polishing wheel,such as the CANTON FLANNEL with the least abrasive BLUE or RED compound which only polishes, it has no cutting action.
So, depending on the job in hand, you will determine which abrasive compound and wheel you are going to use first, then step down through the stages until YOU are satisfied with the results. Compounds are made from a mixture of fine abrasive fillers and a sort of greasy wax. The compound is melted, by friction heat, as the bar is pressed to the revolving wheel. This applies a thin layer of abrasive, ‘glued’ onto the cloth wheel, making it similar to an emery paper, only much faster!
Common buffing wheels
Sisal is a slender, hard, cellular strand of fiber that has demonstrated its great strength and tough resiliency in the form of binder twine, cord & rope for many years. These qualities, along with its natural abrading and grease absorbing characteristics, provide an ideal buffing wheel fabric.
Sisal buffing wheels will provide both polishing and cutting action. They will remove stretcher strains, orange peel, polishing wheel grit lines, light die marks, etc. To effect a fast cut, use a sisal wheel with the Black Emery compound or any of the greaseless compounds.
Canton Flannel is a very soft material, and therefore is ideal for polishing items where a gentle touch is needed. Canton Flannel wheels are used in the jewelry trade to polish items with gold or silver plating, where no removal of metal is desired. They can also be used to polish plastic and lacquered items such as guitars.
The main purpose of a loose cotton wheel is to polish and cut in a similar manner to the Spiral sewn wheel, except that this wheel, not being tightly stitched together, will ‘mush’ or collapse, allowing the cotton to get into awkward places more easily. If you have an object with fine details and awkward crevices, then this is the wheel to use.
The folded pleats hold more compound and keep the part cooler, resulting in a being twice as fast as a Spiral Sewn wheel. 10” wheels require 3” washers. These wheels are softer than their yellow cousins.
These tightly packed and bonded sheets of resin bonded aluminum oxide are great for sanding, shaping and polishing all types of materials. Especially good for removing paint and rust. Best used on an electric drill or the Flexible Shaft.
Strands of nylon impregnated with a tough aluminum oxide abrasive. Removes old paint, rust, weld scale and burns. Cleans and polishes. Is ideal for wood because it cleans without gouging. It never loses its abrasive power, or its shape. Safe on
skin! Max 2500 rpm. Generally speaking, you will start off with a course abrasive
compound, then change to a medium compound and finally a fine compound, just as you would using sandpaper.