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The Finished Part Blog

The Finished Part Blog

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Polishing Pewter

Molded pewter, rough surface finish

Pewter parts can be cast into a large variety of shapes. The casting process often results in a rough surface finish along with burrs and flashing on the edges. Surface finishing is often done by hand to produce a smooth finish and especially a high polish on the parts.

2-step polishing process

Mass finishing can be used to achieve all of the required deburring and edge rounding and often can result in a bright, smooth polished surface finish.

The part on the right was vibratory tumbled with a Ceramic Media to remove the molding marks and soften the edges. The second step to polish to surface (part on left) involved barrel tumbling with Stainless Steel Media with an appropriate burnishing compound. You can even see the camera reflection. Additional polishing can be done by hand if necessary.

The mass finishing process will significantly reduce the amount of hand work required. Vibratory and/or barrel tumbling will also allow for difficult-to-handle small parts to be deburred and polished successfully.


Martin said...

I just wondered what ceramic shapes specifically you would suggest for the first stage?

Also do you ship to the UK?

Steven Schneider said...

The shape of the media will depend on the size, shape and geometry of the part you want to tumble. Media can certainly be shipped to the UK.

Martin said...

We're struggling with flatter cast pewter or pieces with less complex surfaces that need a consistent finish.

Small cast dishes and lids. I wondered if ceramic balls was the way to go?

Steven Schneider said...

Round media like the Precision Ceramic Spheres are best for flat parts with minimal 'features' or design. The round balls will also produce the smoothest surface finish.

Timothy Grat said...

Would you be willing to expound on "appropriate burnishing compound" with the Stainless Steel media? I have struggled forever on finding an appropriate compound and have settled on plain hot water because everything I have tried has turned the pewter gray.

Timothy Grat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven Schneider said...

When burnishing pewter with Stainless Steel Media, the Kramco 2030 Neutral Burnishing Compound is best. The combination of balanced pH and lubricants helps to provide a high polish without discoloration of the pewter.

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