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buffing aluminum parts #143228 06/20/08 11:53 pm
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jays375 Offline OP
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Having a little problem with buffing my aluminum parts.I wet sanded them all the way up to 1200 grit.Then went to buffing them.The problem is my buffing wheel is leaving marks.My old buffing wheel was worn out.Don't know were it came from.Iv'e bought what was supossed to be a wheel for a mirror finish on aluminum.Well didn't work out too good.Need to find a good buffing wheel 6 inch 1/2 inch hole.Any suggestions were and what to buy?

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Re: buffing aluminum parts #143229 06/21/08 12:09 am
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KADUTZ Offline
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for local try Home Depot
for mail order google Eastwood Restoration
2c


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Re: buffing aluminum parts #143230 06/21/08 12:21 am
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Woody1911a1 Offline
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buffing wheel's too hard and/or wrong technique .

if you've wet sanded to 1200 , try just hand polishing with a good polish . more control , less agressive than a motor .

also , a great lube for wet sanding is mineral spirits/paint thinner . works way better than water .

Re: buffing aluminum parts #143231 06/21/08 12:42 am
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jays375 Offline OP
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Never had a problem with my technique.I know the wheels I have are the problem.The old one was really old.Just like to find a good replacement.

Re: buffing aluminum parts #143232 06/21/08 1:49 am
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Tom Sanders Offline
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Recommend you take a look at the Caswell website.

See http://www.caswellplating.com/buffs/.

To state the obvious, you can spend a butt load of bucks of metal polishing supplies -- all depends on how far you want to go with your project.


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Re: buffing aluminum parts #143233 06/21/08 2:35 am
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trumpetloon Offline
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After 1200 grit W/D you can attain a mirror finish with Mother's Billet aluminum polish and a Terry Cloth (face cloth) all cotton rag. Don't kill yourself now after all that manual labor! Try this before you get all hung up on machine work at this point. I almost guarantee you'll love the look!


1974 TR5T
Re: buffing aluminum parts #143234 06/21/08 3:38 am
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gib-go12 Offline
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You started buffing too soon for a mirror finish.

First I would suggest you continue to sand with 1500 grit followed by 2000 grit, both wet (lots of water with maybe a drop of dish soap). Sand at 90 degree angles using each grit until the "scratch" (the surface look that appears from cutting with these fine grits) is uniform in the direction you are sanding. Never sand with just your fingers, use a block of some sort.

Now you're ready to buff.

Use an unsewn or partly sewn cotton wheel not a hard solid, felt-type wheel or one that is sewn together very tightly, available at the sources mentioned above.

For aluminum try White Rouge to charge your wheel. Press the stick against the wheel a second or two. Ease the part onto the wheel, keep the part moving uniformly and ease it off, keep the pressure even and never press it too hard against the wheel. If the wheel slows you're pressing too hard. Let the buff and polishing compound do the work.

Cuts or scratches can occur if your wheel picks up sand or shop dirt. Briefly hold a wire brush against it while it's rotating to clean it and remove any caked rouge, then recharge it with compound. Use a wheel for only one type of compound.

Marks on your part suggest you may be overly aggressive in your buffing or holding it in one place too long. Buffing is the final polishing step easy does it. It's possible to polish up a badly scratched part, but wet sanding with ultra fine grit papers results in a uniform mirror finish.

Good luck. Be sure to post a photo of the finished product.

Re: buffing aluminum parts #143235 06/21/08 6:37 am
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The above advice is sound espescially since we're talking Triumphs here. The problem with some of these castings is that they have bubbles cast in the metal. That is, the molten metal begain to solidify before the bubbles could escape. As you are polishing you are revealing more of these bubbles. This is espescially true for pre-unit gearbox covers. Later castings ie. unit primary covers were die cast and as a result of this superior technique there aren't any bubbles in the metal. So, the problem is that the buffing compound gets in the tiny hole and as you are buffing this creates a groove. Its like a comet with a tail, sort of. The head is the hole with the compound inside it. The best technique with these is to progressively sand the covers with finer and finer paper unitl you can put a nice shine on it with only white rouge. Depending on your equipment and technique, you should be able to polish out sanding marks made with as coarse as 400 grit papaer with only white rouge. I can, but you need to lean on it quite a bit. I work covers with bubbles in them to 1000 or 1500 grit before using the buffing wheel. I use a dual action sander on really rough castings first using 150 grit to start. Saves huge amounts of time.
Bill


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Re: buffing aluminum parts #143236 06/22/08 3:45 am
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Jethro Offline
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I took my pieces to a professional shop with every type of belt sander you can imagine. Took them very little time, and I believe all the pieces were less than $200. I do a lot of work on my bike, but someone here on the forum suggested letting a shop do it, and for me I'm glad I did. Hey, when you are done, post some pics for us, k? Here are what mine looked like. They were a MESS before.

[Linked Image]

Re: buffing aluminum parts #143237 06/22/08 8:17 am
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Paul Burdette Offline
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i know everybody's got their tried and true methods they like best, but i found a shortcut to sanding that literally cut my polishing time by hours.

if i have clearcoat, paint, or anodizing to remove i use a coarse paint removing wheel in a drillpress. then i go to a medium scotchbrite pad (dark red usually) mounted on an arbor and also on the drill press. you can vary the pressure to either cut deep to remove gouges or lightly buff the deeper scratches. usually i can go straight to the buffing wheel from here, but the finer (usually white) scotch brite pads can be used as an additional stage.

on the buffer, i usually use green compound with a medium stitch wheel, and white with a loose wheel. the amount of time here makes a big difference.

[Linked Image]


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Re: buffing aluminum parts #143238 06/22/08 8:20 am
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Paul Burdette Offline
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by the way- that piece (yeah i know, it's not british...) was done kinda quick and dirty. there are still some visible scratches, but the guy didn't want mirror finish. work time was probably half and hour tops.


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Re: buffing aluminum parts #143239 06/22/08 12:07 pm
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jays375 Offline OP
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I start with a sctoch brite pad on my parts too.Sometimes the parts I do quick look really good.Makes you mad when you take time on something and doesn't look as good.Iv'e sanded up all the way to 2000 grit and then taken mother's to the part.I have done this on a complete jap sportbike frames that way.It's not that I don't have the experience just need to find a good wheel.The wheels I had could have been around for more than twenty years.My original buffer was made along time ago.

Re: buffing aluminum parts #143240 06/22/08 6:08 pm
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Paul Burdette Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by jays375:
I start with a sctoch brite pad on my parts too.Sometimes the parts I do quick look really good.Makes you mad when you take time on something and doesn't look as good.Iv'e sanded up all the way to 2000 grit and then taken mother's to the part.I have done this on a complete jap sportbike frames that way.It's not that I don't have the experience just need to find a good wheel.The wheels I had could have been around for more than twenty years.My original buffer was made along time ago.
i don't know the grit value of mother's, but everytime i've tried to use it after even the green buffing compound, it dulled the piece. i got a similar product from a place online that worked great though, and has waxes to protect the finish. it was from this site:
http://www.englishcustompolish.com/usca/aluminum.html (not affiliated in any way).


1972 Norton Commando Combat
Re: buffing aluminum parts #143241 06/22/08 11:59 pm
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dale karger Offline
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if i have clearcoat on a piece i use paint stripper to get it off. then i dress the nicks and other defects with a file. start with 40 or 80 grit and work my way down to 1200. take the time and dont rush switching to a smaller grit. i bought the caswell kit and it works quite well. it gives you a nice selection of wheels and compounds. I putzed around with a piece off my honda and it came out really nice. just make sure your motor isnt going too fast. you will cut the metal and leave marks if not. i learned by polishing gold for several years and you aquire a touch for polishing and pick up tricks of your own.


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Re: buffing aluminum parts #143242 06/23/08 3:26 pm
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Eddy 55W Offline
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Never saw Simichrome mentioned. Used to use it all of the time on everything from Matchless fenders to Triumph cases. Looks like chrome if you apply enough elbow grease and patience.
Ed J.


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Re: buffing aluminum parts #143244 06/24/08 3:57 pm
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Bill McCullough Offline
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>Need to find a good buffing wheel 6 inch 1/2 inch hole.Any suggestions were and what to buy?

I get most of my supplies from Jestco (Claude Jester) www.jestcoproducts.com.
Good folks.
They'll send you a catalog with your order.

Re: buffing aluminum parts #143245 06/24/08 5:22 pm
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slofut Offline
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Jethro and Paul,
Now for the real question, and I know it's been beat to death but it may still deserve some discussion ... confused So how do you keep it looking like that? POR-15 makes a clear they call "Pellucid". I've used it on chrome wheels to good effect.
Bill


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Re: buffing aluminum parts #143246 06/24/08 6:11 pm
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trumpetloon Offline
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Slo... clears chip, peel and look like crap. The only way is regular maintenance polishing; like every third wash job or so. But re-acquired patina looks nice as well, just rub the white smut off with WD-40.


1974 TR5T
Re: buffing aluminum parts [Re: trumpetloon] #216165 09/30/08 5:45 am
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Mike Cornwall Offline
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You've gotten the scoop from the wise men but... since the question was where to get supplies I thought I'd mention I've found a lot of good tools and supplies I hadn't known about from little shops in the Jewelry district near my house. Those guys are serious about polishing stuff, I guess.

I spent about half my 20th year doing nothing but polishing guitars on a production line and the only training I got was "let the buffs do the work." That turned out to be true on wood, paint, metal, plastic, etc. You should have a buff rake to get the hardened rouge and lint off the end of the buff, those things are meant to last for years. If you do end up needing a new wheel, I have noticed a 10 incher does about a million times more work than a 6. It doesn't sound like you're lazy about wet sanding so you should be able to get a great look. The guy I get parts from is really high on Autosol for polishing cases, I have some coming tomorrow and we'll see.


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Re: buffing aluminum parts [Re: Mike Cornwall] #216206 09/30/08 12:29 pm
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I recently had a devil of a time trying to bring back some corroded flanged aluminum rims and hubs that had sat outside for many years. I bought the spokes and could build the wheels but the polishing was hanging me up. I found what is called "Scuff Balls" at Harbor Freight. I chucked the lightest, 400 grit, into my drill press and adjusted the belts for the highest speed. Now were talking. The scuff ball spining at 3400 rpm really did the trick. I even tried some spray penetrating oil on the ball to see what it would do and got a nice dull mill finish. Check out scuff balls for the initial clean up of the surface and go from there with any hand sanding with ultra fine paper. I went straight to the buffing wheel as I didn't care how perfect the polishing job is going to be. These wheels are from an XS650 to be used as a transportation mule.

My buffing wheel is a cheap 6" grinder I got on sale. I pulled the stones and covers and bolted on some 6" polishing wheels. i found bolting two wheels side by side made a wider and better polishing surface.

Tom Graham

Re: buffing aluminum parts [Re: tomterrific] #216568 10/02/08 11:21 am
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In the airline industry, we use a kit called "Micro-Mesh" to polish out micro scratches in aircraft acrylic windows. In the kit is sanding sheets ranging from 6000 grit all the way down to 1200, and a tube of plastic polish (I dont use). But I start out with the 1200, using it the longest in duration, and working up to the 6000 grit. Like everything else, the longer you spend on it, the better the results....My 1972 T120 finished up factory new...


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2016 Triumph Bonneville America LT

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