(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.
- 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 :-/.