Satin Finishing Wheel for Your Dremel/Foredom Flexishaft/mini-drill




Introduction: Satin Finishing Wheel for Your Dremel/Foredom Flexishaft/mini-drill

About: I consider myself a "craft scientist". I love experimenting- that's the best part of making anything.

(note: this instructable assumes you already have some basic metal-smithing knowledge)

Satin finishing wheels are great for getting, as the name suggests, a satin finish on your metal projects. They are also great for bringing out texture details on the metal.

Depending on the brand and quality of the wheels, they can cost anywhere from a dollar to 6 dollars per wheel for a 7/8th mandrel. My main problem was that I couldn't find them locally, and ordering online would have taken a couple of weeks- and if I'm anything, it's impatient.

While doing the dishes, I realized that the 3M scouring pads I was using looked to be of a similar material to the wheels, and on further research, it turns out that 3M also manufactures satin-finish wheels commercially.

The cost of a scrubbing pad also works out to be waaaay cheaper than a commercially available satin-finishing wheel.

So if you're short on time, or you're cheap, or poor, or just economically sensible, then this instructable is for you.


- scouring pad - I found two grades - regular and heavy duty. You can use whichever, or both. The heavy duty has a coarser bite than the regular- this means more material will be taken away from your metal piece at a quicker pace.

- Scissors

- Screw mandrel. If you already own a Dremel, Foredom or any other mini drill, then you probably already have a mandrel or two.

- Sharp pointy object, like a needle or an awl

- A coin of any size that suits you. I'm going to use a quarter for this demonstration.

Step 1: Let's Do This!

Let's do this!
Hold your coin against the scouring pad.

Now cut the pad around the coin.

You can make the wheel as big or small as you want, depending on your needs.

Cut out a couple of circles if you want a thicker wheel. You can stack two or three layers. Don't worry if your circles aren't perfectly round- they will even out once you start using your wheel.

Also, the wheels will get smaller over time as the material wears out with use.

Step 2: Make the Hole!

With your sharp pointy object, poke a hole through the middle of the circle. You should be able to see a small through the pads when you pull out the awl. In this case, I've stacked two layers to make a thicker wheel.

Step 3: Screw It!

Put the little screw of the mandrel through the hole you've just made, and push it in until you see the end of the screw on the other side.

Now fasten the wheel to the shank of the mandrel.

There you go - you now have a satin finishing wheel- a cheap, quick addition to your shop tools!

Note: Always wear eye protection and a dust mask when working with shop tools. Don't use this wheel (and any other fiber based wheels) on items that can snag. Also, when using your newly made wheels, move the wheel towards you (rather than away from) - this will prevent your piece of art from flying off and smashing into the wall. I know this from experience :-/.



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    26 Discussions

    The large
    diameter pads used by custodians on floor machines are perfect. They range in
    size from 13”to 22” in diameter. They come in different levels of stiffness and
    aggressiveness. The dark ones (black and maroon) are used to strip wax, the
    lighter ones red and green are for polishing
    and white or yellow are for buffing. Most have a 3”diameter piece in the middle
    that pops out before you mount the pad on the machine. If you have a friend who
    is a custodian, ask him or her for a few of the small pieces, they just throw
    them away. The pads are about an inch thick. I bought one today 17”diameter at
    Home Depot for $7.

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    i used very fine metal wet sand paper. and car pollish. it dose not tase good. so keep mouth closed, or i to ruff side of leather and stuck it to metal cut out from soda can for regggggggggity. also needs lubricant, but as i was told my a old master crafst man, on wood you use a scalpe blade. and acctualy shay the particals off. thaks for your time. ta rolf


    2 years ago

    great instructable.


    2 years ago

    Thank you Sugarimp, this is a great idea. I can't afford to buy the fancy polishing wheels online. I have used the green scrubby pads by hand but didn't think of cutting them to use them on my Dremel. I haven't used my Dremel much yet, I admit. I've been too busy fostering Cairn Terriers to do much metal smithing but now I think I'm ready to switch unless they get really desperate for a foster home here in Ohio.

    2 replies

    Get a cat next time! ;-) J/k, but (older) cats are perfect workshop mates because they'll just stare at you while your work. Glad to be of service!

    Good try, Sugarimp. ;) Unfortunately, I'm pretty allergic to cats. I stay clear now that I've had "death rattles" after being in a relative's house with her siamese. LOL Cairn Terriers have human hair rather than pet hair and don't bother me. But having 5 dogs including our two and three fosters and the fosters all had health issues as I work with those, just takes more energy that I had.

    Thanks ! I have some small areas to prep on my car and I cannot break out the grinder where I live.

    1 reply

    Thank you very much.

    I am going to try it right now.

    1 reply

    Awesomesauce! Please wear goggles when using. And a dust mask.

    Great way to save money. I also make similar pads to use on a 100mm/4inch grinder sanding pad holder. Great for stripping paint and satin finishing metal on larger areas and way cheaper than buying the ready mades.

    1 reply

    Works great on small surfaces too. When I found out, I was like, d'oh! I should have figured it out at least a decade ago.


    2 years ago

    I use hollow punches to cut out little discs. It goes a lot faster than using scissors. Plus I'm not dulling scissors by cutting abrasives with them. Also to keep your discs from fuzzing out so bad you you might consider sewing them together a little, before you run them. Sandwiching some heavy cloth between the layers of Scotch-Brite might toughen your discs up too? Or maybe even on the outside? Now I'm wondering what dipping the discs in some finishes might do? Like say shellac. Of course let the finish dry, before you try to run the disc. But doing that might give your discs some more body too. Although there is a lot to be said for running softer mops when polishing.

    I use the big 3M rust and paint removal discs a lot. They're pretty stiff. The hand pads are a lot softer. So 3M is dipping that material in something to make the rotary tools. Maybe even alternate the discs? Like put two dipped ones on the outside, then leave one untreated in the inside? There is a lot of potential for variations here.

    3 replies

    Hi, thanks for your suggestions! Wouldn't you dulling your punches instead? Having a punch would be awesome, but I have a very small work space, so I'm putting off collecting too much equipment until I upgrade. I'm not too worried about dulling my (cheap) scissors - we still have traditional neighborhood scissor sharpeners here.

    I didn't mention it in my steps as I wasn't sure where people would find them easily, but I have brass sequins that I sometimes sandwich the pads between if I need to do very small areas (or I just mask).

    In this case the wheels are for finishing small objects, so I think the softness of the pads works, but let me know if you've tried the dipping and alternating discs. I might try it when I have a "tool cleaning" day, but so far the red scouring pads have worked just fine without any added stiffness.

    punches are easier to sharpen than scissors are. But if someone else is doing the sharpening that is immaterial.

    Oooh! How do you sharpen the disc cutters? A manufacturer (that supplies high quality tools to some well known tool sellers worldwide) keeps offering me one that a buyer returned because of a defect on one of the blades, which the owner of the company clearly mentioned. I had a bad experience with a previous purchase (from a different manufacturer) so am hesitant to buy one again.