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What's the best method of creating a transparent, protective coating for custom aluminum coasters? Answered

I have 4x4 inch metal coasters (for placing drinks on) which are made of aluminum and I don't want them to get scratched.  What's the best type of protective coating I can place on top of the metal to prevent scratching? 

The coating would preferably be less than 2mm thick, be smooth, and dry very hard.


It should be noted that solid aluminum in a normal environment is _always_ covered by a transparent protective coating of aluminum oxide...

How badly do you really expect them to be abused? Might be worth just trying them first to see what happens.

I sometimes use old CDs as coasters. Haven't particularly noticed them getting scratched, and they're probably softer than the aluminum. -Minum. Mum. Yeah.

1. A sticky clear plastic film such as used to protect books.
2. A spray / paint on clear lacquer / varnish
3 nothing will totally protect the aluminium and be clear. A glass ring is about the closest you will get to a totally hard surface.