Polishing Plastic


Wet sanding- removes deep scratches, produces a matte finish 

Buffing- to produce a high luster, removing all scratches and depressions

Operation Sequences:

Initial Surface Preperation

1. Secure plastic by placing in a vice.

2. Remove all trimming or rough areas by using a scraper or file.  Continue until surface is smooth and free of any loose material.

Wet Sanding

1. Place the plastic under running water while smoothing surface with wet dry abrasive.

2. Start process with a coarse grit sand paper.  With the wet dry abrasives start off with a 400 grit sand paper.

3. Before moving on to a finer paper, be sure all scratches or marks are removed from the plastic.

4. Continue sanding with a 600 grit sand paper.

5. Once plastic is free of marks and is smooth to the touch, dry off plastic with a piece of towel.  It is now ready for buffing.
NOTE: Neither of the above processes should take very long.


1. Apply coarser abrasive and wax compound to the buffer, be sure not to over load.    Place the plastic in contact with the revolving wheel.

2. Repeat the following process with the next wheel but with a finer abrasive and wax compound.

3. Plastic should now be polished and free of any scratches.


1. Wear safety glasses while working in the lab.

2. Keep all articles of clothing, dangling jewlery and long hair away from moving parts of the buffer.

3. Securely hold the work piece.

Prepared by Mike Picone 3/16/98
Reference used: Steele, G.L. (1977). Exploring the World of Plastics. Illinois: McKnight Publishing