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Old 06-10-2009, 12:01 AM   #1
dammitmitchell
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Polishing metal stuff

ok gentlemen/women
a looong time ago i was the little man on the totem pols and spent my year of autoshop polishing EVERYTHING....
so here's my basic tips for polishing solid metal (not chromed) rims the majority of this process can be applied to chrome, but only if it's goooood stuff.. not the cheap crap..
this is all just my experience i am NOT a professional.. but i did alot of polishing.. and still do..

so to save time i'm just going to cut and paste from another forum i posted this on... thanks for reading.. OH and i know i suck at typing, i apologize in advance i DO put effort into this.. but if it helps, read it out loud...
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:02 AM   #2
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Re: Polishing metal stuff

dish soap, "dial" is what i use...
rags
bucket for water (cut a milk jug in half to be lazy and cheap)
http://www.mothers.com/02_products/05100-05101.html
http://www.mothers.com/02_products/05140.html
and various sand papers as needed
and a sponge
a pack(5) of microfiber towels
and http://www.rainx.com/Products/Waxes/Fast_Wax.aspx

it's easy.. step one CLEAN
step two take a gallon of water and start sanding.. depending on the finish of the wheel
(like brushed/textured aluminum SUCKS i never do it cause i dont have the patience)
but like polished aluminum or previously polished steel
start with 400g (if corrosion is present or if you have "dings")
or 800g if surface pitting, light rust, Fair wear and tear etc
then when you feel comfortable with a SMOOTH TO FINGER TOUCH (now sebring you'll learn this one) run your fingers completely around the rim without lubrication and "feel" for the texture differences.... serisously.... really i swear..
(dirty joke removed for Board decency)
then upgrade to the 1200 grit
NOW REMEMBER!!!!!!!!!!!
never you NEVER have to "push hard" when into the 1000's for sanding paper... it will "burn" and marr the surface..
if you want to take it easy and save your wrists.. wrap the paper around a dish sponge... seriously..
now.. for a suuuuuuuper smooth finish.. sometimes you can use wd-40.. but you better be ready to wash the hell out of that rim with dish soap anda microfiber..
ok.. last two steps
get the "mothers wheel/rim polishing ball" FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS ON POLISH
dont leave residue polish on surface.. it will suck to remove when you find it next week...
now start off with medium pressure... and keep it nice and even.. then move slowly to light pressure until you start being able to count your own boogers in the surface of the rim
now wash and rinse again..

get your super fancy microfiber towels and that same wax you used with the wheel ball.. LIGHTLY very lightly start blending the wax in.. remember.. if you do one section do ALL the duplicate sections with the exact same waxing motion...
(EX: centers done with the swirl ((wax on wax off style)) all centers need to be done with the swirl, you do the "lip" with long straigt, all lips done with long straight....)
now once all the polishing is done.. you can do the same steps over and over and over again until your date get pissed and walks away cause you are peeking up her skirt with it.. (ohh.. bad)
NOW.. last step..
get the rain-x water repellent wax, spray it on nd buff it off with a FRESH microfiber cloth..
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:02 AM   #3
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Re: Polishing metal stuff

NOW... heheh
simple "rules" for ALL waxing and polish and such..
NEVER;
use a dirty microfiber cloth
use ANY cloth with one or more wax/polish or chemicals present on it
Microfiber can be washed in the washing machine with towels.. (save cash yaaay)
on cheap ass chinese or back yard chrome jobs.... but on GOOD quality finish parts go for it...

NEVER EVER EVER!!!! sand on dirty surfaces that you are going to polish (if you get dirt, grime boogers what not) on the surface WASH IT AGAIN.. all those "oh it's no big deal, whatever, it's no big deal,specks of crap" will destroy your sanding and polish.. and youll be pissed at yourself until you start all over..

never ever ever use a STEEL wire brush on anything aluminum,or soft alloy, you plan on polishing, or even just period.... ever
use a "soft" wire brush like brass....
the wire brush needs to be softer then the surface you are trying to clean, it's still metal.. road grime will come off.. bu the scratches will take a long looong time to repair
ALWAYS
keep your surface clean, sandpaper, polishing towels.. everything clean
always take pride in your work
if you half ass that.. people wont respect you.. they will judge you and talk crap about your half assed work.. and.. older people will just tell you to your face and a polite but abrasive and derogatory way.. (thanks uncle paul.. jerk hahaha)
and if you do a highquality shine always "seal" your work with a good wax... not a "quick detailer"

OH.. and try to do this OFF the car...
and you can use a high speed buff wheel also (mothers ball)
or on a bench grinder (for bumpers etc)
or a dremel..
but remember always do it lightly.. it's the heat generated and the speed that smooths the surface(with the polishing compound ).. go to hard it gets too hot and you will burn and or marr your area...

THIS IS SAFE FOR MOST TRIM, MOST SOLID WHEELS, QUALITY CHROME, PLASTIC (yes seriously like headlights, stupid fords...)
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Last edited by dammitmitchell; 06-10-2009 at 12:03 AM.
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Old 06-10-2009, 11:40 AM   #4
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Re: Polishing metal stuff

OK.. to pose myself a challenge, but do something small at the same time, im polishing the aluminum alloy tip of a AH64-d helicopter tail rotor blade..
the tip had flat black blade carc, green anti corrosion inhibitor, and then it was POWDERCOATED (that thats from the factory bottom layer)
and it had some splotches of "pink stuff" (as we called it) 9309* aviation adhesive.. (bondo eat your heart out.. jb weld go away..good stuff)

to start i sanded with 100 grit.... (i cheated and used a palm sander)
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Old 06-10-2009, 11:42 AM   #5
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Re: Polishing metal stuff

then i did a wet sand with 400 grit


then moved to hand wet sanding with 600 grit..
then promptly realised i have no more polish or 1200g sand paper..
so off to the store i go tomorrow and i'll finish this up.. all chrome like..
now remember THIS IS POROUS ALUMINUM ALLOY..
so if i can get this done up pretty... you can do it to steel no problem..
p.s. that's my truck torn apart in the reflection


everything from this point out will be done by hand

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Old 06-12-2009, 04:06 PM   #6
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Re: Polishing metal stuff

thanks for the tips this worked great
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Old 06-12-2009, 04:14 PM   #7
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Re: Polishing metal stuff

crap good for a first try!...
dang good!
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Old 06-12-2009, 04:18 PM   #8
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Re: Polishing metal stuff

thanks i think im going to redo it i didnt have any 800 grit and i finished it off with 1200 next time it will be either 1500 or 2000
and i will use a buffer instead of doing it by hand
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Old 06-12-2009, 04:26 PM   #9
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Re: Polishing metal stuff

yeah.. bufferwheels.. remeber LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT.. ehhehe.. it'll burn the finish..
hey.. use a sanding block on your edges it will give you a lolid consistant bevel...
=-) stil nice though.. i thought nobody was gonna mess with this..
(it does wonders in steering wheels)
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:34 PM   #10
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Re: Polishing metal stuff

ok ladies and gents. here's the final product! i finally got off my but and got some 1000+ grit..
and a new buffer wheel..
i sanded that bad boy a little more and here we go!

total time to do this tip including masking is under tow hours.. a little over one hour..
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:37 PM   #11
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Re: Polishing metal stuff

p.s. this started as powdercoted aluminum alloy....
yummy

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Last edited by augie; 04-19-2011 at 09:43 PM. Reason: im a tool that's why
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Old 06-15-2009, 11:01 PM   #12
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Re: Polishing metal stuff

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...873&lpage=none
and right next to that will be buffer pads for it...
dont forget to take your time and let the metal cool.. cause it'll burn like a mofo!
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Old 06-15-2009, 11:20 PM   #13
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Re: Polishing metal stuff

does this process work well on aluminum wheels? the wheels on my truck were neglected by the previous owner of them and i spent hours with a power ball to get them half way nice looking. but i want them to look like new again. just curious if this works on polished wheels before i got sanding on them. thanks for the tips man.
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Old 06-16-2009, 12:21 PM   #14
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Re: Polishing metal stuff

i did the ones on my dads car and the outer edge came out great but the center had ridges and wouldn't polish
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Old 06-16-2009, 02:16 PM   #15
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Re: Polishing metal stuff

sand it.. put the 400g on a palm sander and go to town.. jsut keep the paper wet..
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Old 06-21-2009, 11:21 PM   #16
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Re: Polishing metal stuff

new project...
tired.. "worn out" heat treated steel..
this is a bolt carrier group from a 30mm chain gun off an apache..
it is time for it to leave my closet and go on my wall of "me"...
heat treated steel...
the "carrier" is powder coated and will jsut be repainted.. but the bolt and retaining/pivot pin will be high gloss..

wish me luck!


p.s. this thing has some serious rounds through it...
was used 6mo in iraq hehehehe
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