Polishing vs. Buffing

Electrostatic Painting Machinery

Buffing and polishing are ways to provide finishing for your product in the manufacturing industry. There are many ways to smooth the surface of the piece you’re working on. The reasons for the finish may be aesthetic or functionality. People often get confused between the two and think they are the same. However, this is not the case.

Polishing and buffing are different in their own ways. However, if you’re reading this article, we understand you’re looking for more information.

What is Polishing?

You must know that each of the terms is independent of the other. Polishing is typically done before you opt for a buffing finish. Polishing is one of the finishing processes that involves applying an abrasive belt to a wheel and then watching as the product is finished with a lined grain. Polishing is generally used for metals that can be uneven. It helps to remove any significant imperfections like lines and scratches deep in the metals.

It helps prepare the metal for any further actions. It is a more aggressive finishing process and leaves the product looking bright and clean.

What Is Buffing?

Buffing is very similar to polishing, so many people get confused about buffing. However, buffing is much more gentle, and it also allows for the removal of imperfections. The abrasive used on the polishing wheel isn’t quite so tight. Instead, it’s loose. The loose abrasive also has a type of compound that allows for the buffing wheel to complete the finishing.

Buffing involves using a cloth wheel doused with minute abrasive compounds. It creates a shiny finish on all the metals and composites once complete. The buff wheels are lined with liquid rouge or a greaseless compound with alumina or a shiny material grease that can help the material look better.

There are different types of buffs for you to choose from:

Cut buff involves a procedure that involves a much coarser material. It removes any fine polishing line creating a much smoother product that the color buff will further remove. A cut buff requires a lot of time and effort, so many people like to opt against it. However, when applied in combination with the color buff, it gives the best results.

Finish/color buff involves the finest buffing procedure. The finish buff will leave your product looking shiny and remove any lines that may exist due to the cut buff. It is easier to handle and doesn’t require as much time and effort, so many people prefer it.

What Is the Major Difference Between Polishing and Buffing?

The major difference between the two is the grit of the abrasive that each method uses. Polishing generally uses an abrasive that has a much higher grit. On the other hand, the buffing abrasive doesn’t have such a high grit abrasive. The grit also depends on the finishing you want, so you’re also deciding the grit that you prefer.

Polishing and Buffing Abrasives

Both of these processes involve the application of abrasives. There are three major classes of abrasives. There are abrasives with high grain, medium grain, and low grain. Abrasives with low grit have less and may only consist of 50 to 80. At the same time, abrasives with medium grit may lay in the range of 100 up to 210.

The abrasive and the particle size it uses informs us how smooth it will be. Abrasives with a low grain can be rough as they include lower grit than high-grain or medium abrasives. Thus, generally, people start with low-grain abrasives before slowly climbing up the track.

When buffing and polishing, the manufacturers must apply the correct type of abrasive. If they use the incorrect abrasive or the amount is too little or too much, all of the hard work on the piece is totally wasted.

Polish and Buff With Steel Tech

Now that you know about Polishing and Buffing, you should know that Steeltech Electropainting is your perfect option for all your polishing and buffing needs. We work on materials like old-looking aluminum, sculptures, nickel, stainless steel, copper, chrome, brass, and other hard-coated polished finishes that may be aging due to neglect and give them a new life.

Our experienced staff work day and night so you can feel better about your finished product. We keep you in the loop so you’re aware of the changes in designs and overall product at all times. Contact Steeltech for more information on polishing and buffing.

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