Restore a vintage reflector?

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manithree
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Restore a vintage reflector?

I’m setting up a vintage light for Mrs. Manithree for mother’s day. The one thing I want to do, but have no ideas on, is restoring the reflector. It’s not at all reflective right now:

It works ok now, and I think she’ll like it. But I would like to get a few more lumens out the front if possible. Any ideas?

Nooner
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What material is the reflector? Doesn’t matter too much I’m just curious. Kinda looks like stamped steal.

My idea would be to use a foam buffing ball chucked up in a drill. They sell them at auto parts stores for car rims. The right compound would definitely make it better (not gonna get worse)

Or maybe chrome paint. I don’t think they are super reflective, more metallic looking. But it might be an aesthetic improvement.

manithree
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Nooner wrote:
What material is the reflector? Doesn’t matter too much I’m just curious. Kinda looks like stamped steal.

My idea would be to use a foam buffing ball chucked up in a drill. They sell them at auto parts stores for car rims. The right compound would definitely make it better (not gonna get worse)

Or maybe chrome paint. I don’t think they are super reflective, more metallic looking. But it might be an aesthetic improvement.

Looks like stamped steel to me, too. Aesthetic improvement would suffice. I’ll stop by the auto parts store Monday.

Thanks!

moderator007
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If it is a steel reflector I might suggest trying this stuff.
It will polish steel or aluminum to a high shine with out too much elbow grease.
A aluminum pill for a flashlight I made polished with mothers, that’s a Callie’s Kustoms battery that’s in the reflection.
.

Nooner
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If its in really rough shape maybe a cloth wheel with a hard compound (jewelers rouge) might be a necessary first step.

You guys have Harbor Freight in the States. They would have a drill attachment kit cheap.

Pulsar
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Maybe do a good polish of the reflector and then silver plating. If its just stamped steel, I would worry about oxidation an/or pitting.
I dont know much about the properties of materials for reflectors, but I would worry about upkeep on a bare steel reflector

neo71665
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Instead of chrome paint I suggest mirror finish paint. You can find it at most hardware stores or even wal-mart. It’s not as durable as the chrome paint but it’s a reflector and not a car bumper. It’s a bit more reflective.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Rust-Oleum-Mirror-Effect-Spray-6-oz/54018997?...

Either is a good aesthetic choice but don’t expect the factory chrome reflection effect.

manithree
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Awesome! Thanks all! Looks like I came to the right place Cool

There’s an Advance Auto and a Wally World (and Harbor Freight) on my way to work. This could be fun, and anything will be an improvement over the flat, non-reflective reflector I have now.

Again, thanks!

manithree
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Turns out my son (who just finished his “Machine Tool Technology” course at MTEC knew all about this. The “Mother’s” worked great.

dhvl1357
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Do tell what he did to it. Looks great.

Slow is smooth; smooth is fast.

neo71665
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dhvl1357 wrote:
Do tell what he did to it. Looks great.

looks like he said they used the suggested mothers mag polish

ImA4Wheelr
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Nice work.  It will oxidize (like it was) without protection.  Renaissance Wax works real nice for that.

manithree
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Yeah, we don’t have anything to coat it with yet, but the Mother’s and a 20g shotgun bore brush chucked into the drill got it this far. That was enough to affect the beam significantly.

Again, thanks, everybody.

Nicolaas
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In my view this is even better then a brand new reflector modern style.
You now have a better working light and it still has its original style, very nicely done!

Grtz
Nico

manithree
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Nicolaas wrote:
In my view this is even better then a brand new reflector modern style. You now have a better working light and it still has its original style, very nicely done!

Thanks, that was exactly the point of this refurbish. I got two hosts at the gun show a few weeks ago:

They were $1 each, and the top one is the one that ended up being workable.

I put a Niteize LED bulb in, replaced the tailcap spring, and got a couple of tenergy D cells. I wanted the heft. My son gave it a vinegar bath to clean out the old alkaleak mess, and it works now.

It’s definitely old school.