metal grinding 'jewel' look requirements list



(added as examples of what I've done over the past few months )...

Kinda putting this here as a placeholder for an inclusive purchasing list of items required to do aluminum (or steel or whatever) grinding to be followed by C(k)andies and other art. I hope this will be a FAQ style list.

What you need

1. metal plate of some flavor. It seems the 6061 aluminum plates at .40" are the standard. I found this place online ( ) that seems to have good prices. Coast airbrush is the standard go to for everything, but I can only find black or white panels there, no mill finish.

2 Something to grind the metal. I think this can be generally anything really, but a high RPM rotary tool with a medium grit wheel seems to offer the best results. 4 1/2" or 7" angle grinder, a drill with a wheel attachment, etc. I'd love to hear about other experiences and experiments here.

3 A clear coat of some flavor. 2k vs 1k seems to be matter of 'highly protective' (eg, outside) or 'protective, but won't stand up to elements').

4 paint. Urethane SEEMS to be the win here. See below for questions.

5. Spray gun ? I can't think this is absolutely required, but maybe it is. Opinions needed.

6. Sand paper. I'm hearing 800 grit wet and a semi hard sanding block + misted water is the way to go.

7. More clear coat.

So, process and options :

I have some process questions here and OPTIONS questions.

Safety equipment is assumed here folks, use goggles, use a mask, use gloves. As I say to my kids, don't do dumb things.

Step 1 : Grind
Step 2 : ...
Step 3: Profit!


Step 1: Clean your metal! Hit it a mild to medium cleaner/degreaser of your choice. Should get surface dirt off.
Step 2: Grind your metal. I don't think it really matters HOW you do this. Go nuts, make patterns, spirals, whatever. Use small and larger diameter wheels of varying hardness. Don't DIG into the metal though, it'll only make for pain later.
Step 2.1 Clean your metal again! Do a good job of getting all the crap you just ground off. Get the dust off!
Step 3 : Discussion here please: Clear now ? C(K)andies now ? Some say that you absolutely MUST clear first, to even fill in/even out the depth of your grinding to so it's smooth. Some just apply C(K)andies to the bare metal. I don't have an experience based opinion here yet. I lean towards paint and then clear, vs clear and then paint. Reasoning being I don't want to put ANOTHER coat of clear on after I apply paint. Maybe it should be clear then paint then clear....?
Step 4 : Sand with 800 grit wet so the clear is nice and dull. Wipe off/tack cloth fairly gently.
Step 5 : paint other stuff. Now, the question is, if you HAVE cleared, can you switch paint systems ? Say I HoK Kandie the bare ground metal, put 2-4x coats of 2K clear on, sand....can I switch to Wicked or AutoAir without destroying it ? I would lean towards yes, AFTER the clear has set.
Step 6 : 2-4x more coats of the clear of your choice.

What'd I miss ?

On supplies, what are general quantities like ? Will a 4oz Kandie cover a 24x36" slab of aluminum ?

I'll update the OP as comments arise. I'll also drop a shopping list with links based on what people say, and my own researches....
(+ links to example photos or vids of process or end result).

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