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How To: Polishing Parts to a mirror finish

This is a how to for DIY pro grade polishing. This is not hand polish. This method and tools will give you a professional finish.. and yes it will cost alot less then to have a pro do it. You can also polish just about anything once you have tools, and believe me once you find out how easy it is, you will be tempted to polish everything.
This how to is for aluminum, but brass and stainless can be done the same way with different polishing compounds.

First off, You WILL get extremly dirty.
The polishing compound is going to be going everywhere in dust formation, the cotton wheel will be spittin threads full of compound. It collects on everything like a thick semi sticky soot. Ive gotten it up the sleeves, up my shirt, all round my neck,face, hands.. everywhere. And its not the easiest to get off. This stuff will literally turn you black in minutes. So wear some clothing you dont like and that will keep debri from floating up your clothing. Also wear goggles, not a mask or saftey glasses. A dust mask will help to. The stuff isnt toxic, it wont hurt you if you dont do this, but trust me it makes the end of the job alot more enjoyable.

You will need to sand your part down if it is in rough shape. I recommend starting at 80 grit and working up to 400. From there is a ok polishing point. The higher the grit you go, the clearer the finish will be.

You will need these tools: (links provided are examples and my choice of tool brand)

A high speed angle grinder, You can use the home/garage hand held style, or the large industrial style I have in the pics. The difference between the 2? The smaller ones tend to get hot fast and burn up quick. Ive never had a big one burn up. Also the bigger ones are alot easier to control and hold on to, alot less vibration. You can also use a bench grinder for small parts.

Rouge bar of your choice, Brown/Green is for aluminum, Black is for stainless steel and white is a brightner for both.

Liquid hand polish, this will be used to remove blemish's and burns
Ive been using Wizards metal renew aluminum polish

Cotton polishing wheel, I use 2 8inch wheels on my grinder. If you have corners or hard to reach edges consider buying a cotton cone.

Heres your tools:



First off, after the cotton wheels are on the grinder, you want to get the grinder at full speed and get some compound on it, I apply a little pressure to the compound and let it grind into it for about 5sec. No longer, to much compound is hard to apply and gets messy, it also waste's alot.





Then apply the compound to the part by applying a little pressure to the part (grinder at full speed). In the position im holding it make passes right to left.. slowly..the slower you got the more shiny. You will know its time to apply more compound to the wheel when it starts to get dull or make dark burn spots. The burn spots can be repolished out with more compound, so dont worry. :












Back for another pass:


When polishing any edges, make sure the edges are alwase facing away from you. If you polish the edge closest to you, the grinder will catch it and shoot it away. So make sure the grinder is alwase pulling the object towards you.

When done, There may be some dark burn spots from to much pressure or not enough. It basically looks like dark soot. It wont rub off easy, so you need to apply some liquid polish. Rub the liquid polish over the entire part untill it starts to get black. Then wipe if off and buff it till it shines. There also may be haze marks that are visible on big objects, this can be identified because it looks like you can see the lines where you polished. This can also be removed with hand polish..

In the end of all this polishingyou will have this result:


(my hand held over the part)



any questions?
 

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How do I do that with carbon fiber? lol. Metal is easy. But epoxy is less forgiving that aluminum. I loved working with aluminum. The good ol days.
 

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so do you recommend that we degrease the intake manifold and then use a polish like that??? i don't wanna take out the IM b/c its a PITA plus i would immobolize my car.......

would a 500Watt drill do the trick with the correct bit?
 

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Excellent write up King6, people if you are going to try this, pay attention to the guidance on protective items, don't forget the gloves, it took me weeks to get the black s**t from under my fingernails! lol.

Nice one King6, karma fer u.
 

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thanks gr8fx

fel0ncod3 said:
so do you recommend that we degrease the intake manifold and then use a polish like that??? i don't wanna take out the IM b/c its a PITA plus i would immobolize my car.......

would a 500Watt drill do the trick with the correct bit?
no a dill wont work.. to slow.
also you will need to sand the manifold first.. the polish wont do anything to the casting but make if black..
 

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honestly, this is the first step by step metal polishing walkthrough i've seen here (correct me if i am wrong, anyone)

definitely a big :tup: - i'm copying this to projects (man i need to get that section in order.. too little time ugh.)

you deserve some karma for this also - but i'll have to owe you... need to spread it around some first.
 
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