Polishing aluminum?



13 replies to this topic
  • wayneoXCF

Posted October 03, 2002 - 04:38 AM

#1

I see some guys are polishing there aluminum parts like the skidplate, frameguards, etc. Does anyone know what to use to do this, and acheive the "chromey" look??? I have an orbital sandert, but dont know what to use for grit, etc.

  • jwriott

Posted October 03, 2002 - 05:37 AM

#2

It's a lot of work and you need to seal it with something like Extreme sealer when you are done. Otherwise, it will oxidize and look hazy.

First, check and see if the parts are anodized. If they are, you need to strip that off with aircraft stripper or something like oven cleaner.

Next, get some polish like Mothers, Semi-Chrome, Wenol, etc. and get a buffing wheel for your orbital sander. Even tiny scratches will show up so don't use sand paper unless you have to.

You can also go to a auto paint shop and buy liquid polishing compound in various grits up to 2000 grit.

I did it on my CBR900RR and it looks sweet but it took a long time. I made the mistake of sanding the anodizing off which put scratches in the aluminum and took forever to get out.

Good luck.

John
P.S. I kept a fridge out in the garage full of micro brews to pass the time, along with the Speed Channel.

  • Chaindrive

Posted October 03, 2002 - 06:06 AM

#3

I made aluminum u.s.d. fork guards for my son's bike. Stockers were cheap brittle plastic and expensive to replace. The homemade ones started as very dull 2" dia.Al tubing. VERY dull and rough. They shine like mirrors now.
I begin with fine and work my way to extremely fine (600grit or better) wet or dry (use it wet) sandpaper.
Follow with polish and elbow grease and a good sealer as previously indicated. Remember that the smoother and shinier you get it with the ultra-fine sandpaper, the less polishing you will have to do. As for anodized surfaces, rubbing compound and wax would be the limit for me, if I did anything at all. This is what works for me.

  • wayneoXCF

Posted October 03, 2002 - 06:22 AM

#4

Thanks guys! Do you think I need to use the sander, or
would I be ok w/ plain old elbow grease?

  • Tree_Crippler

Posted October 03, 2002 - 07:59 AM

#5

Wayneo I found the best way to clean up aluminum is with a scotch brite pad. It brings back the new look.

  • jwriott

Posted October 03, 2002 - 09:50 AM

#6

If you want to make things easier on yourself, use the sander with a cloth wheel. Machine polishing is much quicker and easier to get scratches out. If the areas are small, you can hand sand.

The other thing is don't get carried away. Do a small section first and learn from the mistakes you make. One friend stripped his entire frame and later realized that he didn't need to sand with such coarse material to begin with. It took him much, much longer to get the same look.

I hand sanded last time and I'll never do it again except on small areas. If I decide to polish anything on my Vmax, I'm going to buy a large bench grinder and put a cloth wheel on the side like jewelers use. That works fine for parts you can remove. If you want to keep them in place, the grinder works very well.

I also used 3M, Scotch bright rol-lock pads on a die grinder on my initial polishing to remove anodizing. It took a lot of hand polishing to remove the scratches.

I wanted a mirror finish on the end product.
CBR900RR Polished

  • freestyle111

Posted October 03, 2002 - 10:07 AM

#7

sand parts with 1500 sandpaper and get some good polishing compound and buffering wheel.thats it Posted Image

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  • Wyatt

Posted October 03, 2002 - 10:14 AM

#8

You mean like this

Posted Image

Posted Image

  • yamaha.dude

Posted October 03, 2002 - 10:50 AM

#9

If you have a decent bench grinder, then buy a stitched cotton pad, a stick or can of polishing compound to suit Alloys, and the arbour to put it on your wheel. The machine method is the best, esp for something like a swing arm or bash-plate.

Then, with any coating stripped off with chemical stripper, get to work with that cotton mop and get that alloy shining...

Finish with a product like POR15 Glisten, they have a range of strippers, cleaners and the clear coats like Glisten which are highly effective products.

Good luck,

David

  • wayneoXCF

Posted October 03, 2002 - 11:14 AM

#10

Wyatt, that looks awesome!! How much time did that take??
That finish is sweeet.

  • Blue...ByeU

Posted October 03, 2002 - 12:35 PM

#11

Very nice wyatt. Do you ever get to ride it? Mine hasn't been that clean since I took it out of the box! I see you have a aftermarket pipe. Do you still have the original? I would be interested in it for an 02WR426. Let me know. PM me

  • Wyatt

Posted October 03, 2002 - 01:01 PM

#12

Polishing all those parts probably cost less than 15 dollars. But, it takes a lot of time and elbow grease. The swingarm is polished inside and out top and bottom. The hardest part is removing paint from the parts. I used aerosol stripper and sanding. Bare alum. is easy to polish.

The key to a shine is in the sanding. Sand scratches will make a hazzy shine when polished. I sanded the swingarm with progressivly higher grades of sandpaper until I got to 2000 grit. each step be sure to remove all scratches from the previous grade. I then used rubbing comound with a machine buffer followed by polishing compound and finished with Mother's alum polish.

It is no harder to maintain than a set of alum wheels on your vehicle. i use mothers to keep it looking nice. The clutch cover is a different story. magnesium......it tarnishes when water or moisture hits it. It has to be polished every time I wash my bike.

Yes, i do get to ride it. I ride it often and it gets dirty. It was filthy last weekend. But, I never put it up without washing it. I'm kinda anal about that.

I have not decided what I am going to do with the stock exhaust yet. I will pm you if I decide to sell.

  • comp182

Posted October 03, 2002 - 01:14 PM

#13

FREESTYLE WHERE DID YOU GET THAT REAR TAILLIGHT

  • freestyle111

Posted October 03, 2002 - 06:41 PM

#14

denniskirk [UFO enduro fender w\light] part#61-4662 $43.99




 
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