Polishing titanium?

Feb 9, 1999
Has anyone ever polished ti? Yakim probably has..Whats the drill? Dremel with compound?
Thanks in advance..Bart
I was just polishing Ti a few hours ago. It's a bit like aluminum in that at high speeds the surface can "tear" and give a really nasty finish as if the metal were being pushed around in tiny clumps. This is the "orange peel" finish that folks are calling acceptable or even desirable these days. Basically, that's only a problem on large, flattish areas when using a tool of certain grits and high speed. As you move from coarse cutting into the beginings of a "finished: surface (say, 220 grit) the "tearing" starts. It can be avoided by lowering the speed, and is less of a problem the finer the grit gets from there. So try to go slow starting around 220 grit and you can speed up as you move to finer grits and polishing compounds. I wouldn't expect much trouble on a Dremel-sized job, anyhow.

That's been my experience.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
Corduroy is right about Ti being like aluminum, both polish best with a very greasy buffing compound. My best results come with a brown tripoli compound that is greasy or waxy to the touch. Pick up the bar and rub your thumb across the surface a couple of times and if the spot that you are rubbing becomes tacky you have a good compound for aluminum ot Ti.

The extra lubrication prevents the surface being pushed into ripples during the polishing thus giving that orange peel look.

After polishing the surface smooth and relatively shiny with the greasy compound let the metal cool and rebuff lightly with the green or white compound that you use for stainless steel and this will remove the slight haze that the tripoli leaves leaving a high mirror finish.

Whenever possible I avoid belting aluminum and titanium beause both are "sticky" metals and will trap bits of grit in the surface leading to fish eyes in the final finish.


[This message has been edited by george tichbourne (edited 20 June 1999).]
Simichrome is a hand-polishing compound like Flitz or Metal-Glo, right? You'll have no problems with that, though it will take you ages unless your piece is close to a high finish already. The troubles I was dscussing apply only at the speeds associated with machine polishing.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)