I bought 220, 400, 600, 1200, and 1500 grit sandpaper, as well as some 3000 grit lapping compound, a felt bob, and a cotton bob. With my polishing kit ready, I cut ten pieces of the 1/2" dia. PC and ten of the 1/4" dia. PC with a band-saw. Then I started with the 220 and progressed to the finer grits. To remove the burr raised from sanding, I put each stud in a drill press and filed down the burr. Then I flipped the stud over, and did it again.
For the buffing, I put the felt bob (I found it worked better than the cotton one) in a drill press, applied some of the lapping compound, turned it on, and buffed the ends of the studs. They came out much clearer than before, but still kinda hazy.
So then I took the heat gun and carefully heated up the each end, making sure to take the heat off before the PC bubbled. The final result were ~.45" long PC studs that you can read text through. Then I pressed them into a hubcap with an arbor press. Check it out:
|Random sheet of paper I found. You can see the circuit diagram through the PC.|
However, it wasn't nearly as easy as I just made it sound. The whole process took 4+ hours (yes, I'm blowing off work). That's just for 1...I still need to do 3 more. Ahhh, not enough time.