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Stainless question, electropolishing, etc


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Hello. I've got a few stainless steel questions, and after investigating all the other threads I could find on the matter, I'm still unclear on some things, and am looking for advice.

I've began messing around with hot-raising stainless steel (304) bowls and cups and things like that, and am have quickly learned that things like buffing wheels and the like don't really do the trick for polishing these (especially with these shapes).

I'm looking into setting up a small DIY electropolishing area, but just want to make sure I'm approaching this right, and so here is what I am wondering.

If the steel is hot worked, will this process still work overall? Stainless doesn't scale much at all, but there is a little naturally, and all surfaces are hammered. Would I still need to passivate it in citric acid first? After? Or do anything else to it?

 

I am looking at some guides for setting up electropolishing stations, but if anyone has any specific advice, I'd happily accept it. If it comes down to it I could also forge in bulk and just send it off somewhere to be done.

 

Thanks!

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10 minutes ago, Chris Williams said:

You'll want to remove any forging scale and then passivate. 

Hmm. Well, I can certainly wirebrush to my best abilities and that sort of thing, but if I make a tall cup, or a necked in vase shaped piece, there is no way to reach in there with a wirebrush (if that even is good enough). Grinding it would defeat the whole purpose of making a hammered vessel.

I met someone long ago who had made pieces like this, and they were clearly polished somehow, so I know there is some way to do it..

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Electro polishing will descale but may reveal a texture if the scale is heavy. If you wish to mechanically remove scale put some sand in the vessels and shake or roll them. Interior tumbling.

Frosty The Lucky.

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okay yeah i hadn't thought about tumbling it like that.

I did find one other thread on another website saying that passivation isn't really that effective for forged pieces, as in it's not really strong enough to get through the forged surface + any iron from the anvil/hammer that gets onto the surface, etc. So just maybe electropolishing may be the way to go..

 

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There are also flap sanders you use in a rotary tool, a hand drill  will work but isn't optimum a Dremel is more like it but small. A Foredom or similar is THE one. Mikey has been evaluating rotary tools far better than I can, I believe his reviews are recent additions to the Burners 101 section.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Yeah if I had a sandblaster that would definitely be what I would have done. I tried using a flap sander on something else like Frosty had suggested, and I think I might give that a go. I've ordered some rather fine grit ones to test and see how that goes. I'll report back when I've received them.

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