Lathe Speed for Sanding with Micro Mesh Pads

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Hartwell85

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What lathe speed do IAP members recommend for sanding acrylic pen blanks with Micro Mesh pads? I would be using water as the lubricant. Any tips for using Micro Mesh pads are appreciated.
 
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Kenny Durrant

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When I get to 220 grit I start wet sanding. I get a fresh cup of water with a few drops of Dawn dishwashing soap. I’m told the soap helps keep the paper and pads clean which keeps from scratching your project. I turn the speed between 650- 700 rpm. That’s about it.
 

mark james

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What lathe speed do IAP members recommend for sanding acrylic pen blanks with Micro Mesh pads? I would be using water as the lubricant. Any tips for using Micro Mesh pads are appreciated.
Earlier today I finished a pen made from Vintage Cellulose Acetate, 1930's.

B462D840-21FA-4FD3-A2EA-30DBD8A48887_1_201_a.jpeg


I wet sanded with Abranet, then Micromesh, finishing with Mcguires Plastx. For me... I have liked this process. I clean the Abranet in water, and use only 2x; then throw away and get another 2-3" off the reel. For my Micromesh, I also clean and reuse. I wash in soapy water after every use, and use for 10-15 pens before discarding. I am very particular to clean the pads, use clean water, and wipe the blank before each application of Abranet or Micromesh. If I had to estimate my costs for the per pen/Abranet & Micromesh... it is minimal.

Speed? I am lazy... After my final turning at 3200 RPM, I go to my finishing and don't adjust the speed. I do drill slower, but not for my finishing. I wear my turning head guard for the occasional splatter from the water and the Mcquires. Drill = 320 RPM; turning/finishing = 3200 RPM (Nova 16x24). Works for me.
 

egnald

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I use about 1000 to 1200 RPM and I use water with a drop of wetting agent like Cascade Rinse Aid as a sanding lubricant. I rarely need to buff after sanding with this regimen. Dave
 

Hartwell85

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When I get to 220 grit I start wet sanding. I get a fresh cup of water with a few drops of Dawn dishwashing soap. I’m told the soap helps keep the paper and pads clean which keeps from scratching your project. I turn the speed between 650- 700 rpm. That’s about it.
I'm going to try this method on my next acrylic pen blank. Don't have Dawn soap but maybe any good quality dish washing soap will work since they act as a wetting agent.
 

AllanS

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I use about 1000 to 1200 RPM and I use water with a drop of wetting agent like Cascade Rinse Aid as a sanding lubricant. I rarely need to buff after sanding with this regimen. Dave
Been thinking about this for the past few days - how much of a difference does the cascade make in this process?
 

Niels

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I'm gonna try the soap and/ or Rinse aid too. I always sand around 1200 too. It seems to me as long as you don't use much pressure it's ok.
 

randyrls

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My take on this is slightly different. How much surface area is sanded? about 5 square inches (32 square cm) I use 500 RPM. The purpose of the sanding is to smooth the surface, not remove material.
 

egnald

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Been thinking about this for the past few days - how much of a difference does the cascade make in this process?

My answer to your question is very subjective. All I can say is how I got there along with some scientific mumbo jumbo and my personal observations.

I started out using tap water with a drop of Dawn dishwashing soap. This is something that I picked up many years ago when I spent some time in auto body shops. The idea is that a little bit of soap lowers the surface tension of the water which helps wet the paper and and the surface being sanded which in turn helps the the slurry (water, soap, and removed material) flow more thoroughly therefore reducing scuffing.

The Scientific Mumbo Jumbo: Dish soaps like Dawn contain Surfactants. Surfactants are chemical compounds that reduce surface tension of water which helps wash away oil and grease. Most dish soaps, as well as laundry soaps, hand soap and body washes contain Anionic or negatively charged surfactants. They are widely produced and are made from a range of raw fats and oils like soybean, palm, tallow and coconut.

A couple of years ago, I took this one step farther by switching to a drop or two of a nonionic surfactant instead of "dish soap". It reduces the surface tension of the water more than dish soap and it not only helps wet the paper and the blank more thoroughly, it also helps de-wet the surface when the slurry is being removed, especially when wiping the blank with paper towel following each grit. The most conspicuous observation is that blanks start to de-wet when I get about half way through the MicroMesh grits. It is an obvious indication regarding the surface tension of the liquid. In addition, although it is entirely subjective, I think the level of gloss is higher than when I was just using the dish soap.

More Mumbo Jumbo: Nonionic surfactants contain no charge which makes them less likely to form a "soap scum" in hard water. As for cleaning ability they are much less effective than anionic surfactants so they are marketed as a rinsing or drying aids rather than soaps.

So, in my very subjective opinion, yes, they make a difference in the glossiness / luster of finished blanks. - Dave
 

monophoto

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To add to Dave's thorough discussion of soap as a surfactant, darkroom photographers commonly used surfactants when processing film. One of the most common was Kodak PhotoFlow which was used in minute quantities in the water used for the final rinse in the development process. The objective was to accelerate the process of de-wetting the film without leaving water spots.

The folks who use diamond paddles/cards/ plates to sharpen tools like to use a 'lapping' solution as a lubricant and to create a slurry as metal is removed in the sharpening process. I know this is a bit controversial, but one school of thought is that tap water with a drop of dishwashing detergent is a perfectly acceptable lapping solution that costs much less than the commercial versions. (Another school of thought is that KY is the best choice for this purpose - I will resist the temptation to comment on that suggestion..)

Wife and I both wear glasses, and I keep us supplied in lens cleaning solution. The recipe I use calls for equal quantities of isopropyl alcohol and demineralized water, with a drop of dishwashing detergent as a surfactant. That's essentially the same stuff you buy at Lenscrafters or the pharmacy, but it costs a lot less.
 

egnald

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To add to Dave's thorough discussion of soap as a surfactant, darkroom photographers commonly used surfactants when processing film. One of the most common was Kodak PhotoFlow which was used in minute quantities in the water used for the final rinse in the development process. The objective was to accelerate the process of de-wetting the film without leaving water spots.

The folks who use diamond paddles/cards/ plates to sharpen tools like to use a 'lapping' solution as a lubricant and to create a slurry as metal is removed in the sharpening process. I know this is a bit controversial, but one school of thought is that tap water with a drop of dishwashing detergent is a perfectly acceptable lapping solution that costs much less than the commercial versions. (Another school of thought is that KY is the best choice for this purpose - I will resist the temptation to comment on that suggestion..)

Wife and I both wear glasses, and I keep us supplied in lens cleaning solution. The recipe I use calls for equal quantities of isopropyl alcohol and demineralized water, with a drop of dishwashing detergent as a surfactant. That's essentially the same stuff you buy at Lenscrafters or the pharmacy, but it costs a lot less.
Louie, If I hadn't dismantled my darkroom years ago I would likely have used PhotoFlow for this too but Cascade and Jet Dry are easier to get and seem to do the job okay. I've also heard that isopropyl, water, and PhotoFlow makes a very good solution for cleaning the grooves in vinyl records. Who knows, maybe darkrooms and film will make a strong comeback someday like the vinyl industry has. - Dave
 

AllanS

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And now I have to endure looks from the missus who is wondering why I have a dishwashing liquid on my -to buy for the shop- list. Thank you very much for that breakdown. I'm now dying ( or drying) to try it out.
 

leehljp

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My take on this is slightly different. How much surface area is sanded? about 5 square inches (32 square cm) I use 500 RPM. The purpose of the sanding is to smooth the surface, not remove material.
AGREED! I usually run 500 - 600 for sanding when I need to sand. Sandpaper is for smoothing, removing material is for the tools. 😁 It just takes a little practice and maybe sharpening the tool a bit. Wonderful experience.
 
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