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Polish Aluminum
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hdrider19  



Joined: 03 May 2016
Posts: 193
Location: Catawissa Missouri(40 mi sw of St Louis)

PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:20 am    Post subject: Polish Aluminum Reply with quote

Polishing aluminum is 99% sanding. You will have sore fingers by the time you are done. If you are doing wheels I would suggest sand blasting to remove any paint or finish from the metal before you start. This is a set of wheels I did for my Jeep.
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I know,pretty rough but I got them free! I used a wire brush to remove the flaking paint. Careful with this. Aluminum is soft and scratches easy. Never use a wire wheel on a drill. It will eat the metal surface.
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After you have a bare metal surface it is time to start sanding. If the surface is smooth start with 320 wet. If it is a flat surface use a sanding block to keep it flat. Sand the entire surface until it has a smooth even finish. If your wheel has curb rash or pitting it will need to be sanded with rougher paper first. Now switch to 400 or 600 and do it all again. Keep sanding with finer grit paper to at least 1500. The smoother you get the surface the more mirror like the finish will be. After all sanding is done wash all the residue off with soap and water. I use Mothers Aluminum polish and a soft clean cloth. Rub it in a small area and then buff it off with another soft cloth. I use an old bath towel for this. Don't let the polish dry on the aluminum. Keep working small areas till it is all done.
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I did these wheels in a weekend. Use a good wax after all the polishing is done. It will keep them looking great for a long time.
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hdrider19  



Joined: 03 May 2016
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Location: Catawissa Missouri(40 mi sw of St Louis)

PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ready for more? Finger tips not hurting yet?
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hdrider19  



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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hdrider19  



Joined: 03 May 2016
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Location: Catawissa Missouri(40 mi sw of St Louis)

PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am about to start polishing these 7" phone dials. Dropped them off at a sand blaster today. I will show step by step pics of the process as I go. The wheel on the right has a curb grind at the top in the pic. I will take it to a friend with a tig welder to fix that before I get started. I picked them up for $20 each.

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hdrider19  



Joined: 03 May 2016
Posts: 193
Location: Catawissa Missouri(40 mi sw of St Louis)

PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got my wheels back from the sandblaster. Why sandblast first? I think these pics say it all. They look like new castings. It leaves a grainy texture on the surface but it lets you see exactly what you are working with. I will prime and paint the back side of the wheel to seal the metal and prevent corrosion.







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hdrider19  



Joined: 03 May 2016
Posts: 193
Location: Catawissa Missouri(40 mi sw of St Louis)

PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After getting my wheels from the sandblasted they had some problems. 1 had some small pitting in the surface.
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The other 2 have larger pits(craters). I will take the better of them and see if they can be filled with a tig welder. This was hiding under the primer. The sandblasting left a grainy surface over the whole wheel.
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I had to start with 220 grit sand paper wet sanding to smooth the surface.
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I spent about 2 hours sanding this wheel and have most of it smooth now. It was starting to get dark out and I am doing this in my driveway so I had to rap it up for the night. I couldn't resist a little preview so I jumped ahead on 1 of the oval slots and put a shine to it.
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And I warned you early on about sore fingers. This was also why I stopped for the night. 220 grit will rub thru skin! A small sacrifice for polished wheels.
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jazz guy  



Joined: 26 Nov 2002
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Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm enjoying your thread. I know from polishing a set of 928 wheels how time intensive the process can become. Lot's of patience needed, along with a big dose of elbow grease and yes, plenty of sore fingertips. Good luck!
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ideola  



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hdrider19 wrote:
Ready for more? Finger tips not hurting yet?
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Nice mug
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hdrider19  



Joined: 03 May 2016
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Location: Catawissa Missouri(40 mi sw of St Louis)

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comments. Dan, I had just finished polishing the water neck and sat down with my favorite mug of coffee. I saw it reflecting on the water neck and had to take a pic. I finished wet sanding with 220 grit and then started over with 320. When hand sanding I cut the sheet of sand paper into 1/4s and then fold in half. After sanding the whole wheel again it is getting brushed finish and starting to reflect colors in the background.
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I rubbed in some polish in the area between the slot just to see how it is coming along and as you can see it is starting to show a reflection. You can still see the sanding scratches tho.
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This is the brand of polish I prefer.
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My wife brought these home from her office and I must say they help keep my finger tips where they belong.
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hdrider19  



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I picked up some 2" flap sanding wheels in 180 grit.
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They made quick work of smoothing out the oval slots.
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Next came a full resand with 400 and then again with 600.
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hdrider19  



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Next step is 800 grit. After sanding I rubbed on some polish to see how it was coming along. It got a pretty good shine but it still has a little cloudiness in it. I will sand it again with 1500 grit and see how it comes out.
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hdrider19  



Joined: 03 May 2016
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Location: Catawissa Missouri(40 mi sw of St Louis)

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's done now. After 1500 grit resand I rubbed on the polish and it looks pretty good to me. Now I need to do it all again 3 more times. Ouch!
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morghen  



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

very nice
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hdrider19  



Joined: 03 May 2016
Posts: 193
Location: Catawissa Missouri(40 mi sw of St Louis)

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did the same job on the center cap and then polished. Sand blasted first to get a good clean surface. I was thinking about painting in the logo after but I think I like the raw finish in it. I also left the lug nut holes raw so they go together.
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peterld  



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hard to believe it's the same wheel as at the beginning of your post!
Nice work.
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