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Old 11-23-2004, 12:26 AM   #1
Murco
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Photo-etch detailing 101

I've done this trick for some time and seeing as you guys have started to use more photo-etch goodies I thought I'd share the technique of polishing the photo-etch. The original reason I started doing this was to prep the etch for nickel plating, which I still do, but the results of polishing the fret without even chroming is pretty dramatic. This works for any non-ferrous metal so use it on aluminum, brass, copper, nickel, tin, and pot-metals.
First, collect your equipment and parts....
1- Photo-etch - Perfectly flat, attached to the tree with no bends!!
2- Dremel tool - The battery powered one is better but I use a multi-speed) with buffer arbor and buffer wheels (many)!!
3- Metal Polish - Any will do, I prefer Wenol (scarce) or Mother's Billet polish as used here.
4- FLAT surface - Glass or mirrors are best, tables will do.
5- Working room - This is a bit messy! Cover anything within 6 feet and wear a mask!!
The P/E I'm using is one of the first test-shots for the 1/12 Camaro set from MCG (notice the reversed "SS" emblem on the lower right?) and I'll be using this on "The Ultimate Camaro" project. This set is unique in that I specified it be thicker than normal P/E sets (the production versions are as well) and that can cause more hang-ups and eats through buffers faster. I will be nickel-plating the set afterwards as well.
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Old 11-23-2004, 12:36 AM   #2
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Once you are set-up take your finger and dab some polish over the fret in various places. As the saying goes, a little goes a long way! Once it's fairly well covered dab some around the buffer pad as well, but just enough to make a film around it.

Turn you buffer on THE LOWEST SETTING you can and gently run the pad across small sections of the fret a little at a time while checking your work frequently. It's working when you get a black film on the piece (that's the outermost layer) so keep running across in small motions until the pad removes most of the film and you can see the gleaming shine. When you are not getting the black film but the section isn't shiny enough you need to reload the buffer with polish and do it again. If you don't reload you'll overheat the pad and the fret!! You will learn to get a feel for when to reload with practice.

Move on to the next section and repeat for each one unitl you have a uniform shine, then turn the fret 90 degrees and start all over...
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Old 11-23-2004, 12:45 AM   #3
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When you've polished the piece in both directions (to remove any surface grain) the piece should be filthy with pad dust, black residue, and you should be able to see a brilliant shine in between the crud!



Looks like total crap but believe me, it's going to be amazing!
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Old 11-23-2004, 12:50 AM   #4
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Now get your favorite cleaner-degreaser (I prefer simple green or 409) and spray the fret until it's saturated, then allow it 5 minutes to sit.

After letting it soak take an old SOFT toothbrush (you do keep retired ones, right?) and GENTLY scrub the fret while spraying additional cleaner as needed.
Then......................
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Old 11-23-2004, 12:58 AM   #5
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Rinse off the residue, pat it dry with a paper-towel, and behold!!

The picture doesn't do the shine justice, but it truly gleams!!

A few notes...
1- This WILL tear-up super-fine scripts (notice tiny ones missing?) so avoid dwelling on them with the pad, just quick glances on them!
2- This must be done with a mask (very dusty)
3- You should try this first on an unwanted P/E set, but it must lay flat!
4- MCG and Studio 27 P/E both have more nickel in them, which shines brighter!
5- DO NOT clearcoat over these! They will dull immediately!

Enjoy guys!!!
Live long... Build them all!!!
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Old 11-23-2004, 02:52 AM   #6
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Great "How-to!" Definatly worth a shot for my '69 Camaro (1:25) PE parts set.
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Old 11-23-2004, 02:57 AM   #7
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Re: Photo-etch detailing 101

Thanks for the great How-To, I will definatly try this for future projects involving PE.

JeFF
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Old 11-23-2004, 05:50 AM   #8
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Re: Photo-etch detailing 101

Very good tutorial Thanks for sharing.

It must be added to the 'How'to' thread.
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Old 11-23-2004, 02:15 PM   #9
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Would using NevrDull be as affective? It would probably be a lot less messy, since you're buffing by hand...
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Old 11-23-2004, 02:59 PM   #10
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Re: Photo-etch detailing 101

Quote:
Originally Posted by 99civichic
Would using NevrDull be as affective? It would probably be a lot less messy, since you're buffing by hand...
The NevrDull I'm familiar with is a wadded-fiber product that would catch every little piece of P/E on a fret. If their is a paste or liquid form you could use it but doing this by hand - yikes!! The pressure you'd have to use to remove the outermost layers of metal would destroy the P/E. If you want to polish them by hand I'd try using a nail buffer (the ones that feel like leather - super fine) and using it in gentle parallel strokes. I'd try that dry before I added any polishing media.
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