View Full Version : metal finishing: lapping to a mirror finish

06-29-2007, 09:33 PM
hello everyone,

this is my first tutorial ive written so this is a learning experience for me also :up:

well lets get this started..

as a modder, there may be several things you will want to have a mirror finish, from your blingin side panels to the bottom side of your heatsink, or even the top of your processor!

Lapping is a simply process of giving metal a mirror finish, like so

So here we go..


the obvious, what you are going to give your finish, for this i used a side panel(with metals that are coated like this panel you will need to sand through the coating):

Next you will need sandpaper, ranging from about 600 grit to 1200 or even 1600, in intervals of 200:

a sanding block:

Next you will need rubbing compound:

then you need your metal polish (i use a special mix that i got from my work's polishing company):

Paper towels for clean up and polishing:

And finally a polishing cloth:

First i sanded the area i was going to polish with some heavier grit sand paper(about 200) to get it down to bare metal:

then slowly worked the surface with my sanding block and sand paper:
(i only had 800 and 1200 grit around to do this)

After sanding with the 800 grit i had a surface that looked like this:

Then i moved onto using 1200 grit, leaving a finish like this:
see the sanding lines even after 1200?

this is the point where the rubbing compound comes in handy. Rubbing compound,along with polishing compound, is like a SUPER high grit sandpaper.

Using my paper towel and rubbing compound i ran over the surface again, bringing it to this finish:

Now i added some of my polish compound:

And using your polishing cloth begin to rub away

When polishing you will see your compound go from its original color to a dark grey, this is the metal getting worn, which is what you want:

then using a clean area of your polishing cloth, wipe away the polish and rub it a bit more to get it all clean and you will be left with a mirror finish:D

i hope this is informative to some of you and hope you will try it out!

thanks for looking in!

06-29-2007, 09:50 PM
Great info, thanks for posting. Question, what is in the polish you use and what would be a substitue?

06-29-2007, 10:12 PM
honestly...i dont know what is in the compound...but i do know it works hella awesome... its something that our polishers mix in house...all i have is a small sample of it

when in machining we used Mothers metal polish....it works very well.. it comes in a tub like turtle wax...

06-29-2007, 10:21 PM
Nice addition to the Modding Arsenal that is accumulating here!

06-29-2007, 10:30 PM
if you going to lap processors, heatsinks and waterblocks you must (if you want it to work best) use a flat surface. looking through the internet i have learned you should use a 1/4" thick sheet of glass or thicker. like b4i7 said above you should use from 600 - 1200(i would go to 2500, but you don't have to) grit sand paper. i also read on some sites that marking an X or lines on the processor, Heatsink, Water block will tell you if there are any low spots. here is a picture of a scrap processor i lapped then polished.


Links to some sites
PCViper UltraKit - Heatsink Lapping kit (http://www.3dvelocity.com/reviews/pcviper/ultrakit.htm) Review
EasyPCKits Lapping Kit (http://www.3dvelocity.com/reviews/easypckits/lapping.htm) Review
my thread (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8946) about lapping my processor

06-29-2007, 10:37 PM
yeah....marking it will help show where you are low and such...just like hitting a bondo job with a light coat of paint would...thanks for adding info spawn

06-30-2007, 09:59 AM
I would +rep you, but it says I have to spread it around again. Nice tut d00d!

06-30-2007, 02:01 PM
thanks, ill try to write a few more tut's for you guys on metal finishing

06-30-2007, 03:26 PM
See if you can find out what's in that polish at work unless it's a trade secret. I'd love to know.

07-01-2007, 03:54 PM
yeah...im pretty sure its a trade secret..sorry

07-01-2007, 04:43 PM
Great job man! +rep for sure.

09-07-2008, 06:51 AM
Good Info . .on Lapping. +Rep
I had no idea you could do this to SECC steel case panels.

Random Info.
SECC Stands for:

Sheet Steel
Electrolytically coated (with zinc, typically),
Commercial quality

They have three types of SECC steel.
They call them SECC1, SECC2 and SECCT.
The zinc content is labeled as ZZ10.