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View Full Version : TAIG - Great surface finish with 4-flute EM + Scotchbrite



tikka308
04-23-2008, 07:24 PM
Hey Folks,

I wanted to share a great experience last night. I was facing a piece of 0.75" square bar stock and wanted to get the best finish possible. I used a 4-flute 3/8" HSS End Mill at 5000 RPM, 7IPM, 0.030" DOC and was incredibly pleased with how smooth the surface turned out. While you could clearly see the toothpath, the part was very smooth.

I then used two different levels of 3M Scotchbrite and, after about 5 minutes, had a silky smooth finish completely devoid of any toolpaths. I think it's a great testament to how accurate & pleasant TAIG's can be when working with aluminum.

I've posted some more details and a youtube video of the part on my blog - check it out! http://www.nyccnc.com/Herbie/HERBIES_BLOG/Entries/2008/4/23_Incredible_finish_on_6061_Aluminum.html

Cheers.

Gumby
04-23-2008, 07:51 PM
It's too bad taig can't use 1/2" end mills. I have these 6 flute end mills that leave a beautiful surface finish. I almost don't even have to polish the part after machining. Have you tried using a fly cutter?

tikka308
04-23-2008, 08:01 PM
I have tried fly cutting and have definitely had good results, but can only remove a VERY small amount of materials - say 0.001". I need to remove about 0.030" for this part, so would prefer to do so without a tool change (i.e. an EM and then fly cut) since I have to make quite a few of these.

What kind of mill are you using with you 1/2"

CROSSHATCH
04-23-2008, 08:05 PM
Tikka- When I cut my pieces I always then polish them with very fine grit. I don't polish what I cut, a 3mm thick piece is profiled and the top and bottom get sanded. It makes the aluminum look very nice. The Taig really does make great cuts in Al.

P.S. check the thread for the enclosure, think you will like it.


-Jason

tikka308
04-23-2008, 08:06 PM
Speeds - just saw the new enclosure; checking it out now.

When you say "very fine grit", are you talking about sand paper? I didn't follow your comment re: 3mm piece...

CROSSHATCH
04-23-2008, 08:42 PM
Right, I profile a piece that is already 3mm in thickness. But the aluminum I cut it from is rather dirty and scratched. So I use very very find sand paper and polish the top. It actually has no relevance too your topic because you polish away the mill marks. But I know what you mean, I do that sometimes too!

-Jason

tikka308
04-23-2008, 09:16 PM
Jason - now I follow. What grit sandpaper do you use? What polish do you use after sanding?

pzzamakr1980
04-23-2008, 09:29 PM
Tikka, you were talking about how to get the polisher and not have a circular motion. Tilt the head at a decent angle, use an polishing adaptor they sell for drills, chuck it, and just use the edge of it. I put a few dabs or superglue to hold the pads on, and just move the workpiece back and forth under the edge. I use this method with a homemade arbor, which was made on a lathe with scrap,to great effect. I have high density foam that I made into barrel shaped cutouts that go around the arbor, and with red and white turtle wax I can get a beautiful mirror finish on aluminum in a very short time. You can do the same with scotch brite pads, just cut in strips and glue together, then wrap them around something the same size as the arbor, and that way they are a bit cushy and conform better.

tikka308
04-23-2008, 09:54 PM
Pzzamark - interesting idea. If I follow you correctly, you're basically putting a large-diameter cylinder in drill (for lack of a better example, think of a carousel wheel) and using the side? Obviously, although it's spinning, it's really a linear pattern on the side-contact point... great idea! Do you have a picture of your set up?

I have also been looking for a good polish for aluminum to get a mirror finish after I've scotch-brited everything. You use Red & White turtle wax? Is this it? http://www.amazon.com/Turtle-Wax-T375KT-Polish-ChipStik/dp/B00062ZIOU/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=automotive&qid=1209002036&sr=1-3

pzzamakr1980
04-23-2008, 10:08 PM
Nope its the paste wax stuff that comes in a big shoe polish looking container. Im sorry, neither of them are actually wax, the red stuff is turtle wax rubbing compound, and the white stuff is polishing compound. Before I use those I use your regular green scotchbrite pads or 1500 grit sandpaper saturated with oil. Then I do the two turtle waxs and its a mirror finish. Actually, if you are not too anal, you can use 1500 than 2000+ sandpaper sprayed liberally with wd40 for a near mirror finish.

Yes, its basically just as you describe. By not using the whole round arbor and just using the edge, prevents swirls pretty well, and the finish doesnt look crappy. I will either move the piece back and forth by hand under the polisher, or use my mill to rapid back and forth. It works great, but I dont have any handy pictures.

pzzamakr1980
04-23-2008, 10:10 PM
One last thing, if you want a polish that is chrome like, and looks like a car paint job, finish it off with a good auto wax and a polishing bonnet. I love meguires carnuba paste wax. I light it on fire, drip it on the part, and polish away. It takes some time but it is freaking amazing. On any part that can corrode, it also helps prevent the corrosion from happening in the first place. I coat my table before I mill with a good wax. Its not oily and it wont just wash away.

tikka308
04-23-2008, 10:22 PM
Pzzamakr - where do you pick up your turtle wax? I have to order most of my stuff online due to location and would love to get your help with the specifics on the red wax rubbing compounding and the white polishing compound. It looks like this is the red rubbing: http://www.turtlewax.com/main.taf?p=2,1,4,13 and this is the white polishing: http://www.turtlewax.com/main.taf?p=2,1,4,14 ?

Also - don't laugh - but where do you buy 1500 and 2000 grit sandpaper? The highest I see on Enco is 1200...

Stepper Monkey
04-24-2008, 12:02 AM
Any good jewelers supply catalog like Rio Grande or Otto Frei will have sandpaper from 600 up to 10,000+ grit or so.
More importantly, since jewelers specialize in getting inanely fine mirror finishes on all manner of metal and stone surfaces, I think you will all find entirely new worlds of metal finishing techniques and tools you never knew existed. It isn't just for tiny stuff, remember these guys stock things for work on bronze statues bigger than your car, too. Even if you only discover that Scotchbrite pads come as giant discs that replace bench and angle grinder wheels, you will have done yourself a big favor. I can't begin to count the time and effort some of the jewelers catalog stuff has saved me.

pzzamakr1980
04-24-2008, 12:47 AM
Any auto store would have the turtle wax and the paper. Lowes or Home Depot might have the stuff as well, but I doubt it. I dont remember if pep boys is in the northeast, but if it is, they have all of it. Generally, grit that high is for automotive paint work, so enco and its ilk probably wouldnt carry it. Just make sure when you use high number grits u either soak em in water or oil, because the stuff builds up quick, making the paper useless.

pzzamakr1980
04-24-2008, 12:51 AM
And stepper is right, although I dont find it necessary to go any higher than 2000 grit and then using the turtlewax stuff. Add a good carnuba auto wax and the finish will be beautiful. Although do remember, good finishes take time, so always try to get the best finish during the milling/turning process. It will then take much less time to get those mirror perfect finishes.

From what I can see of your pictures, the surface finish you get looks good, but instead of using the endmill for the whole part, use it until your .004 out, then use your flycutter for the rest. It will save you a great deal of time. And make sure if you decide to use a flycutter that the machine is trammed properly. An improperly trammed machine will make a fly cutter finish and tolerances crap.

Gumby
04-24-2008, 01:08 AM
What kind of mill are you using with you 1/2"

Tormach PCNC

cadmonkey
04-24-2008, 10:06 AM
Just to toss in my .02 - I've used the "Surface Prep" discs that HF sells that twist into a 2" backer and different auto parts stock them as well medium and fine are the best - the coarse is really aggressive and saved for large parts from extrusion that I don't want to flycut. Liberally apply cutting oil (I use Rustlick WS5050) and the finish is smoother than a baby's bottom, a light pass with some 2000grit autobody paper and the same oil on a normal sanding block or foam if contoured and it's practically mirror finish. I can do that from the normal endmill cut.

Anokiernan
04-24-2008, 10:37 PM
As far as giving machined pieces a nice smooth surface, nothing beats a buffing setup for speed and controllability. These parts were machined on a bridgeport out of 6061 T6 then polished with tripoli then white rouge. All in all, the finishing of the machined parts took maybe a minute and a half each part with very little physical exertion.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v697/anokiernan/Audi%2090/IMG_2180.jpg

The same polishing process was used on these wheels after turning the lips on a lathe.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v697/anokiernan/Audi%2090/Sport%20Wheels/IMG_2158.jpg

I've noticed you've invested a significant amount of money in your equipment. If you have a need to control your surface finish often, I would highly suggest you invest in a bench buffer.

tikka308
04-24-2008, 10:37 PM
Stepper Monkey - THANK YOU! I just browsed a lot of the catalog PDF's for Otto Frei & Rio. What - what a great asset. Cannot wait to play.

Pzza, CadMoney & Gumby - thanks for chiming in! I'm going to research these ideas and am looking forward to getting an even better finish!

tikka308
04-24-2008, 10:41 PM
Anokiernan - thanks for the info. When you say a "bench buffer" are you referring to a benchtop grinder but with buffing wheels?

Those parts look great. I'm not familiar with tripoli or white rouge, but I see tripoli here http://www.dadsrockshop.com/compounds_acc.html and white rouge here http://www.eastwoodco.com/jump.jsp?itemID=842&itemType=PRODUCT Am I on the right track?

CROSSHATCH
04-24-2008, 10:51 PM
Man those parts are great looking!

Tikka- You have inspired me too get some new tools for the shop. Something I'm going too look at are benchtop grinders with buffer pads and other tools in that nature. Do you have that kinda stuff or just the mill?



-Jason

Anokiernan
04-24-2008, 10:52 PM
I actually use a 1HP AC motor with a 6" long threaded arbor as a bench buffer. A grinder with buffing wheels certainly will work. You'll find that dedicated bench buffers give you longer arbors and more clearance so you don't nick your parts on the motor housing while buffing. The tripoli and white rouge are the two compounds I use the most for buffing. Tripoli should be used with a spiral sewn cotton wheel, and the white rouge should be used with a loose cotton wheel. All of these things can be found easily at your local home depot or online. I've had good success with Caswell online:
http://www.caswellplating.com/buffs/index.html

As a comparison a bench buffer looks like this:
http://www.thefirebear.com/thephoenixforge/images/shoppics/buffer.jpg

where a grinder is stockier and can cause interference when buffing:
http://www.cobracountry.com/images/grinder-10-01b.jpg

CROSSHATCH
04-24-2008, 11:00 PM
Right, I have seen both. Primarily grizzly looks good.


-Jason

tikka308
04-24-2008, 11:04 PM
Anokiernan - thanks for the info and taking the time to post the pictures. I agree that a bench grinder certainly looks inferior because of the lack of room.

Speeds - right now I only have the mill. I do have a small belt sander and bandsaw in the storage unit in my apartment building, but I have to be careful when I use them. I'm moving this fall and will be pushing to get a room dedicated to metalworking, but NYC rents aren't cheap!!

Helstrom
04-25-2008, 09:34 AM
It's too bad taig can't use 1/2" end mills. I have these 6 flute end mills that leave a beautiful surface finish. I almost don't even have to polish the part after machining. Have you tried using a fly cutter?

Hey Gumby,

Just to let you know, they do have 1/2" endmill holder for the Taig

http://www.peck-polymers.com/store/Category.asp?Cguid={175309FA-2137-48F6-B9EA-837BF99A6351}&Category=EndMillHolder%3AER16

http://cgi.ebay.ca/Taig-ER-16-End-Mill-Holder-1-2-Endmill-12L14_W0QQitemZ280219937997QQihZ018QQcategoryZ25295QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem


They have ER and Standard versions.

Obviously you just have to take lighter passes and slower speeds with the
1/2" endmills but at least it works. I picked up A2Z ER version a month ago
haven't used it yet but fits great on my ER headstock. The only downside is the increase in spindle length.


Frank ;)

cadmonkey
04-26-2008, 12:16 AM
For the odd part that I need a spectacular finish on there's a shop here in town that I grab a 6 pack before heading to and the parts and the beer are both polished :) His setup is an array of very large (6' tall) buffing belts, each with their own purpose and compounds. Polished some custom stainless steel bathroom fixtures for my brother a few years back - you'd swear they were precision parts. I should snap some pics. You can brush your hair in the reflection off them.

I've also rigged up a shaft on pillow block bearings to a 3/4hp motor I have lying around to run buffing wheels on. Offers the same advantages as the buffer shown on the last page except it takes more space. But I use the motor for multiple uses so I just pull out the fixture when I need it and strap a belt across the sheaves. I just don't require that "good silver" shine that often.

Monte
05-02-2008, 10:04 PM
It's too bad taig can't use 1/2" end mills. I have these 6 flute end mills that leave a beautiful surface finish. I almost don't even have to polish the part after machining. Have you tried using a fly cutter?

You can use a 1/2" end mill with the Taig, after a bit. Get the ER-16 spindle (goes to 3/8") and a 1/2" end mill tool holder from one of a couple companies making them. I have one, haven't tried it yet.

Monte

Gumby
05-02-2008, 10:42 PM
Hey Gumby,

Just to let you know, they do have 1/2" endmill holder for the Taig

http://www.peck-polymers.com/store/Category.asp?Cguid={175309FA-2137-48F6-B9EA-837BF99A6351}&Category=EndMillHolder%3AER16

http://cgi.ebay.ca/Taig-ER-16-End-Mill-Holder-1-2-Endmill-12L14_W0QQitemZ280219937997QQihZ018QQcategoryZ25295QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem


They have ER and Standard versions.

Obviously you just have to take lighter passes and slower speeds with the
1/2" endmills but at least it works. I picked up A2Z ER version a month ago
haven't used it yet but fits great on my ER headstock. The only downside is the increase in spindle length.


Frank ;)

Oh I know that technically you can use a 1/2" end mill in a taig (I used to own one with an ER spindle) but you'll never have the capability to correctly use an end mill that large on a taig. In every instance I ever encountered you'd be better off with a 3/8" or smaller (smaller usually being better) because of spindle hp and rpm limitation. Even with a small end mill I was having to take passes measured in thousandths of an inch in steel.

Instead of getting the A2Z attachment you might want to just consider using a 1/2" end mills with a 3/8" shank.

fretsman
05-03-2008, 08:33 AM
Instead of getting the A2Z attachment you might want to just consider using a 1/2" end mills with a 3/8" shank.


I highly agree with this as it's much more stable because you're eliminating a lot more un-needed length which creates too much vibration.

tikka308
05-03-2008, 11:29 PM
Update! I've really appreciate everyone's input on this thread. I swung by a local Jewelry Supply store (Metalliferous in Manhattan on W 46th St - www.metalliferous.com - highly recommended) and purchased some 1200 and 2000 grit sandpaper. I also purchased 400 and 600 grit sandpaper along with MAAS polishing creme at HomeDepot. Fully details - including a tutorial video of the process - are available here: http://www.nyccnc.com/Herbie/HERBIES_BLOG/Entries/2008/5/3_Mirror_Finish_on_Aluminum!!!.html

Bottom line: I have achieved a great looking mirror finish on aluminum!

YouTube - Mirror Finish on Milled Aluminum!

Gumby
05-04-2008, 12:34 AM
Update! I've really appreciate everyone's input on this thread. I swung by a local Jewelry Supply store (Metalliferous in Manhattan on W 46th St - www.metalliferous.com - highly recommended) and purchased some 1200 and 2000 grit sandpaper. I also purchased 400 and 600 grit sandpaper along with MAAS polishing creme at HomeDepot. Fully details - including a tutorial video of the process - are available here: http://www.nyccnc.com/Herbie/HERBIES_BLOG/Entries/2008/5/3_Mirror_Finish_on_Aluminum!!!.html

Bottom line: I have achieved a great looking mirror finish on aluminum!

YouTube - Mirror Finish on Milled Aluminum! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWQVBSoXlEc)

Nice finish but I am curious as to why you need a mirror surface finish.

CROSSHATCH
05-04-2008, 01:13 AM
He does it too show off......Not! Nice Tikka, my Ace Hardware actually carries up too 1200 grit, not bad.

Thanks for sharing, I can't believe you work in your bedroom with that carpet...Nice WHITE carpet!

I get mad when my concrete floor gets dirty, you must be tidy!


-Jason

tikka308
05-04-2008, 10:17 AM
Gumby, Speeds is right - I'm just doing it to prove that I can. I figure that if I can get it to a mirror-quality finish, then I can do anything in between. I love to learn and was really happy to see that I could take a stock piece of aluminum and with surprisingly little effort, turn it into a piece that looked so nice! Just one of the many wonderful and proud experiences I've had with this hobby.


Speeds - yea, trust me, I don't love working in the bedroom, but I have no choice!! That's great that your local ACE carries 1200 grit. I think you could probably finish the wetsanding with 1200 grit (skipping the 2000 grit) and have the part still look great.

CROSSHATCH
05-04-2008, 11:04 AM
I am actually going too start too really do this. I make these parts that I sell, Right now....they do not come anodized, only raw with some touch up. But they are not nearly polished like yours. All I really do is remove the "scratch-like surface", but for customers who want the Polished, i'll do this.


-Jason

tikka308
05-04-2008, 11:32 AM
Speeds - sounds great. Are these for paintball parts? I think you can polish these up without much variable cost; the sandpaper and polish are pretty cheap, especially when you order the sandpaper in quantity. If you added a ~100 bench grinder with a buffing wheel, I'm sure it would speed up the time too.

I do need to figure out some sort of protective coat, otherwise these parts are scratching very easily and because they are so shiny, the scratches are very obvious. I can't anodize in my apartment (at least not yet!), so I wonder if there is a product that can be painting or sprayed on to provide a protective coat without changing the aesthetic of the finish...

fretsman
05-04-2008, 01:18 PM
Excellent, tikka, looking good. I have not found anything to protect polished aluminum that holds up well over time. Lacquer (sp?) seems to hold up the longest but can yellow the color. I have many items anodized for the parts I make and that is an excellent coating that is very durable. Possibly you could find someone in your area that will run small batches for you that will run them with other batches they're doing. This is a great find but sometimes you have to wait awhile until they get a big enough batch of a certain color to run as I guess it's cost prohibitive to do small batches at a time.

Some examples: (note: the Ed S. signature was black anodized and then the surface was brushed, leaving the bevels and signature black)

pzzamakr1980
05-04-2008, 01:38 PM
They do have a clear anodizing that can be done. It is not perfectly clear but it works pretty good. Also, a good automotive clear coat sprayed liberally and then sanded and buffed also works wonders. Spray a heavy coat on, sand with 1200 and 2000, then two lighter coats, sanding with 2000 in between. Then do the 2000 and a polish and it will be perfect.

Also, any automotive store should carry a full range of sand paper. I know pepboys carries up to 2400 in a variety pack. And its really cheap there.

cjdavis618
05-04-2008, 01:52 PM
If you can mill and polish in side a house, you can anodize.

Here is a website that has info on the process and he is using plain ice chests for tanks. Nota very expensive thing to get into either.

http://www.focuser.com/anodize.html

Also, if you don't have a lathe or don't want to make your own buffing arbors. Here are some you can use to adapt your own bench grinder.

http://www.swmetal.com/cart/search?category=Arbors%20and%20Extensions

Page 2 has the extension arbors.

CROSSHATCH
05-04-2008, 02:02 PM
I know someone who will do the anodize for me, I'm fine with that. I just need to set the order up, but so many things are going on lol.

Tikka- Yes, Paintball parts.


-Jaosn

tikka308
05-04-2008, 04:21 PM
CJDavid - I've spent quite a bit of time on the focuser website reading about DIY anodizing. The problem is that my Mill is in my bedroom - and as if that's not bad enough, I'm not sure how I feel about acid & electricity...

Gumby
05-04-2008, 05:06 PM
Well I am making some aluminum visor brackets for my old Opel. I'll give the mirror polish a shot.

cjdavis618
05-04-2008, 06:21 PM
I hear you man, And I can't blame you. I think if i was in your situation though, if it had to be done, some kind of small enclosure and tank setup would be pretty easy to make and have vented outside a window or something. I think I will try it once my new shop is up. Then I will have enough room to test things like this.

sergizmo
05-04-2008, 06:52 PM
Has anyone tried Duracoat firearm finishes? Made for guns, so I assume it would be extremely durable. It goes on in several thin coats with an airbrush. The line has a large selection of blacks, greys, greens and browns along with a few other colours.

http://www.houtsenterprises.net/

I looked at the anodizing dilemma myself. I make putters to order so would be sending them off in very small batches and would be charged a huge amount per putter. Not to mention the waiting involved and the odd bad anno which would lead to more waiting and frustration. Overall it just isn't practical or cost effective. Even DIY anoo involves chemicals at controlled temperature, electricity, several vats (tight on space) and disposal of said chemicals.

If anyone has any experience with Duracoat please share. Especially in regards to ease of application and durability.

Serge

tikka308
05-05-2008, 08:28 PM
Segizmo - I do not have any experience, but your comment caused me to investigate. I have colleagues who have used DuraCoat for their rifles... So I emailed with the company today and they said that 1) Yes - it will provide a very hard, protective layer and that 2) it will not alter/impact the aesthetic of the finish.

So I've ordered a few ounces of this -http://www.houtsenterprises.net/product119.html - in gloss and once I get it and experiment, I'll be sure to post the results on my blog (www.nyccnc.com). If it works well, you can count on a tutorial video. FYI I'll be using this on polished 6061 Aluminum. I suspect it will take a week to get the stuff (coming from Nevada), so stay tuned then.

sergizmo
05-06-2008, 01:42 PM
tikka,

Great stuff, and thanks in advance for posting on the blog. I think this could be a real deal alternative to anno. Cheaper, safer, less space required, no disposal of chemicals and easier with a comparable finished result.

It will probably adhere to a satin finish much better than a polished one. Say 400 or 600 grit prep. This will give the duracoat some "tooth" to sink into.

Good luck with the experiment.

Serge