What’s The Difference Between Buffing & Polishing?

Buffing and polishing are two finishing processes commonly used in manufacturing. They all involve smoothing the surface of the workpiece to improve its aesthetics and physical properties. However, many people don’t know that buffing and polishing are different. Each finishing process has its own unique characteristics. So, what is the difference between buffing and polishing? How do people tell the difference between buffing and polishing work.

What Is Buffing?

Buffing is a process similar to polishing. Many people don’t know that they are actually two separate processes. Buffing is defined as a finishing process involving the use of loose abrasives on wheels. In order to polish the workpiece, the manufacturing company may use a grinding wheel covered with a grinding disc. The loose abrasive on the disc basically removes surface material and imperfections, thereby creating a smoother surface.

What Is Polishing?

To understand the difference between polishing and polishing, you must have a deeper understanding of each process. Polishing is typically done prior to completing a buffing finish.

Polishing is a finishing process that uses the safety sand belt on the grinding wheel to form a brushed or lined finish. Polishing can level the metal surface and remove defects such as pits, lines and scratches.

To successfully complete the first polishing process, you must use the finest abrasive possible.

Polishing, on the other hand, is a finishing process that involves the use of abrasives fixed to the wheel—usually with glue or other adhesives. Therefore, compared with buffing, polishing is considered a more aggressive finishing process. It can remove more surface material from the surface of the workpiece, resulting in a brighter and more polished surface.

Polishing And Polishing Abrasives

Both polishing and polishing require the use of abrasives. There are low-grain, medium-grain and high-grain abrasives. Low grit abrasives may only contain 60 to 80, while medium grit abrasives may range from 100 to 200. The particle size of the abrasive reflects its smoothness. Low-grain abrasives are particularly rough because they contain less grit than medium and high-grain abrasives. Therefore, the buffing and polishing process usually starts with the use of low-grain abrasives, and then uses high-grain abrasives.

When buffing and polishing, it is very important for the manufacturing company to use the correct type of abrasive. If the wrong abrasive is used—too little or too much abrasive—the workpiece may be damaged.

The Differences Between Buffing and Polishing

The main difference between buffing and polishing is that the former involves the use of loose abrasives on the grinding wheel, while the latter involves the use of abrasives fixed on the grinding wheel. In other words, the grit-based abrasive used in polishing isn’t glued onto the wheel. It’s loosely attached, allowing for quick and easy removal and replacement.

In addition to this subtle nuance, another difference between polishing and polishing is the grain size of the abrasive. Although there are exceptions, buffing usually uses low- or medium-grain abrasives, while polishing uses high-grain abrasives.

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