Author Topic: polishing aluminium  (Read 4902 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline nickgavriel

  • Posts: 2
polishing aluminium
« on: April 20, 2016, 04:25 PM »
Hi what are the best abrasives/polishing pads to use to polish bare aluminium (hammond enclosure) to a mirror finish. I'm thinking Vlies, platin or maybe a polishing sponge? whats peoples opinions? thanks

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 3462
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2016, 04:08 AM »
I do not know what a hammond enclosure is, but just old fashioned rubbing compound.
We use to take to parts with 600, then 1200, then a course rubbing compound and then a finer compound.
The last step would go from a black goo to bright with the rag hot and black from the goo.

It seemed pretty mush the same as polishing the paint on a car.

Offline Petey83

  • Posts: 93
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2016, 04:14 AM »
when I have done it i usually start at at as coarse of a grit as i need to get any scratches or surface imperfections out and then work up through the grits. I use a good quality wet and dry paper and usually go up to between 3000 and 5000  grit depending on how it has progressed. I then finish with a liberal helping of autosol and a rotary tool (for small items) or a bigger rotary polished if its a large area (only once as has usually been small items to polish)
MFT 3 | TS55 | Domino DF500 | CXS | Carvex PS420 | OF1010 | OF1400 | Kapex KS120 | PDC 18/4 | CTL Midi | Rotex RO90 | CMS GE + Sliding Table | CMS OF Insert | CMS TS55 Insert..............Mirka Deros......Fein Multimaster 350 (iN YELLOW & ORANGE SYSTAINERS!!)

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 2887
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2016, 09:16 AM »
@nickgavriel
When working on automotive & motorcycle parts, like others have said, I'll work thru the grits using Wetordry™ sandpaper while using plenty of water as a lubricant.
http://3mcollision.com/products/abrasives/sheets

The final step is always the application of Simichrome Polish available in a can or a small tube. Simichrome makes the difference if you want a brilliant shine. It's manufactured in Germany. [cool]
http://www.simichrome-polish.com

Be aware that all aluminum isn't created equal, some grades of aluminum polish up better than other grades.

BTW...what's a hammond enclosure?

Offline nickgavriel

  • Posts: 2
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2016, 09:40 AM »
hi thanks for the input all, hammond is a brand that make boxes and what not. i use this, 

http://uk.farnell.com/hammond/1590bb/enclosure-diecast-119-5x94x34mm/dp/930003

style box to make guitar effects pedals (fuzzes, overdrives etc) i have previously polished them with a drill attachment kit which had three fabric disks of different firmnesses and using a brown block polish, this did a good job but is hard work, and if i slipped id scratch the box. i recently purchased a RO125 and thought there might be an easier way using this.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 2887
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2016, 10:50 AM »
I like the cast aluminum box, seems better than the plastic ones that I'm usually stuck using. The Rotex should work well, there are a variety of foam pads available for it.

I'd be interested in seeing the finished product when you're done. [cool]

Almost forgot... [welcome] to the FOG!
« Last Edit: April 21, 2016, 10:53 AM by Cheese »

Offline mkasdin

  • Posts: 112
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2016, 12:29 AM »
If the item is small you can do it by hand. Try scotch Brite pads. They have various numbers like 7447, 7446 ,etc. which correlates to the steel wool numbers. The maroon 7447 = steel wool 0 as they wear they become less aggressive and they can be used with compounds, water, mild solvents etc. I would try it on a test piece first. I think they go down to a very fine grit like 2000?
I'm currently deglossing walls and ceilings with the industrial scotch Brite pads by hand. Lots of fun.

Online leakyroof

  • Posts: 1844
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2016, 09:20 PM »
If the item is small you can do it by hand. Try scotch Brite pads. They have various numbers like 7447, 7446 ,etc. which correlates to the steel wool numbers. The maroon 7447 = steel wool 0 as they wear they become less aggressive and they can be used with compounds, water, mild solvents etc. I would try it on a test piece first. I think they go down to a very fine grit like 2000?
I'm currently deglossing walls and ceilings with the industrial scotch Brite pads by hand. Lots of fun.
. Curious, are you prepping for painting?  If you own a 150mm /6" Festool or other similar sander, you could use Vlies abrasive discs and save the hand work for corners and other tight spots:
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline FOGNewbie

  • Posts: 129
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2016, 07:31 PM »
I remember Googling how to polish an Airstream Trailer. Some of the links were very informative.
 Seemed like many were fond of Nuvite.  It's a polish for airplanes.


http://www.perfectpolish.com/nuvite.html
Forgot to mention that Nuvite is what they use to polish the older airplanes. BTW Rollite is another polish. Not so familiar with this product.  http://www.topoftheline.com/alexpol.html
https://www.google.com/search?q=polishing+an+airstream&oq=Polishing+an+A&aqs=chrome.0.0j69i57j0l4.10265j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

http://www.airstreamguy.com/polishing_info

I'm guessing the Festool buffing compounds would get you there as well.

Doubt you'd have to go this high, but Festool rubbing compounds/ polishes do go to 11000 grit

https://www.festool.com/Products/Accessories/Pages/Detail.aspx?pid=492427&name=Polishing-agents-MPA-11000-1

That should give you a metal mirror.


https://www.festoolusa.com/search/?q=Polish
« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 06:11 PM by FOGNewbie »

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2037
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2016, 10:32 PM »

Just finished making a door strike plate out of aluminum for my son's bathroom renovation.  It's an old home so I had to CNC a new plate because the door had settled.

Polished it with an RO-90 and a progression of grits.   It was surfaced on a mill first and after the milling, I went through:

Platin - 500 grit, 800 grit, 1000 grit, 1200 platin, 1500 platin, 2000 platin


Then switched to Festool polishing compounds and a felt pad progressing from 5000 to 8000, 9000, and 11000.

It's a mirror finish on the metal now.  Should look great with his chrome bath accents.

First photo is the original finish off the mill.  Quite a difference from the final shine.

Neil
« Last Edit: May 02, 2016, 10:39 PM by neilc »

Offline Bohdan

  • Posts: 686
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2016, 10:40 PM »
How are you stopping it from tarnishing?

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2037
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2016, 10:43 PM »
How are you stopping it from tarnishing?

Spraying it with lacquer is one option.

I just refinished a brass carriage clock with a similar method of polishing.  Sprayed it with satin quick drying lacquer and it will last for years with no surface deterioration.


Offline FOGNewbie

  • Posts: 129
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2016, 10:58 PM »
How are you stopping it from tarnishing?

Spraying it with lacquer is one option.

I just refinished a brass carriage clock with a similar method of polishing.  Sprayed it with satin quick drying lacquer and it will last for years with no surface deterioration.

Would Opticoat work? I've heard of car guys using it on metal. Never tried it myself.

Offline Mort

  • Posts: 347
  • World's Tallest Midget
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2016, 09:28 AM »
Will lacquer work with keeping copper from tarnishing also?
I hate signatures.

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2037
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2016, 09:41 AM »
Will lacquer work with keeping copper from tarnishing also?

There is a product CopperLac made for this.

From the web...

COPPERLAC is an air-dry lacquer, engineered to provide highly durable interior and exterior protection on color copper. The addition of UV and corrosion inhibitors to COPPERLAC assures endurance in harsh conditions such as arctic freezing, desert heat, beachfront salt air, and acid rain.

The satin finish is just right - neither too glossy nor flat. It has been discovered that even a blow torch cannot discolor a brass fitting protected by COPPERLAC.

COPPERLAC air dries to touch in less than 5 minutes and dries hard to durable finish in about 3-4 hours.
COPPERLAC should give satisfactory interior/exterior protection for at least ten years under normal conditions. Considerably longer life is expected.
1 quart container covers (35 sq. ft.) or 1 gallon container covers (130 sq. ft.)

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 2887
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2016, 10:14 AM »
@neilc
Nice job on the door strike...is that stainless?

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2037
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2016, 10:34 AM »
@neilc
Nice job on the door strike...is that stainless?

Thanks!  No - that's a piece of stock anodized 1/8" aluminum milled down to 1/16" thick.  Reverse side is still anodized.

Online leakyroof

  • Posts: 1844
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2016, 06:31 PM »
Will lacquer work with keeping copper from tarnishing also?

There is a product CopperLac made for this.

From the web...

COPPERLAC is an air-dry lacquer, engineered to provide highly durable interior and exterior protection on color copper. The addition of UV and corrosion inhibitors to COPPERLAC assures endurance in harsh conditions such as arctic freezing, desert heat, beachfront salt air, and acid rain.

The satin finish is just right - neither too glossy nor flat. It has been discovered that even a blow torch cannot discolor a brass fitting protected by COPPERLAC.

COPPERLAC air dries to touch in less than 5 minutes and dries hard to durable finish in about 3-4 hours.
COPPERLAC should give satisfactory interior/exterior protection for at least ten years under normal conditions. Considerably longer life is expected.
1 quart container covers (35 sq. ft.) or 1 gallon container covers (130 sq. ft.)
. Anyone local selling it?  Interesting stuff from your description . Wonder if it would hold up protecting the Brass Mail slot on my exterior door better than the Wurth Clear Lacquer that I previously sprayed it with.... [blink]
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2037
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2016, 07:51 PM »
Copperlac is available online -

http://www.colorcopper.com/copperlac-copper-lacquer-12oz-can-satin-gloss/

Have never tried it, so have no idea how it compares to your Wurth lacquer.  How long did it last for you?


Here's a similar product available from Amazon -


http://www.amazon.com/Behlen-Brass-Lacquer-13-oz/dp/B003BG53EI/ref=sr_1_2?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1462319410&sr=1-2&keywords=permalac



« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 08:16 PM by neilc »

Online leakyroof

  • Posts: 1844
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2016, 02:44 PM »
Copperlac is available online -

http://www.colorcopper.com/copperlac-copper-lacquer-12oz-can-satin-gloss/

Have never tried it, so have no idea how it compares to your Wurth lacquer.  How long did it last for you?


Here's a similar product available from Amazon -


http://www.amazon.com/Behlen-Brass-Lacquer-13-oz/dp/B003BG53EI/ref=sr_1_2?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1462319410&sr=1-2&keywords=permalac
  The Wurth Lacquer didn't do well at all. One winter and you're back where you started with that familar white corrosion forming under it.
 I had planned on having an Auto Body friend spray Automotive Clear Coat on it once I buffed the brass back to a clean state, but I think I will try the Copperlac instead.  [thumbs up] [thumbs up]
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline Mort

  • Posts: 347
  • World's Tallest Midget
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2016, 09:16 PM »
That copperlac sounds interesting, but for $35 for a rattle can, I think I'll just take my chances.
I hate signatures.

Offline Darcy56

  • Posts: 2
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2017, 06:25 PM »
Thanks neilc, i am polishing the tool deck on a 1933 roadster, it is sheet aluminium and i would like to mirror finish.  It is already close so maybe just the final festool or other polishes with the pad?

Regarding the CopperLac finish, does that discolour or discolour with age.  I also live on the coast and would love a clear protective finish for a number of items.

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2037
Re: polishing aluminium
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2017, 08:05 PM »
Thanks neilc, i am polishing the tool deck on a 1933 roadster, it is sheet aluminium and i would like to mirror finish.  It is already close so maybe just the final festool or other polishes with the pad?

Regarding the CopperLac finish, does that discolour or discolour with age.  I also live on the coast and would love a clear protective finish for a number of items.

I would start with the 11000 grit if you have it close to a mirror finish with a foam pad.   

I have not used Copperlac.  I have used Lacquer with very good results over an extended period.  Can I assume the tool deck won't get any wear - it's mostly a showpiece?  Aluminum is soft and any finish on it could be abraded with any kind of stepping or sliding of items across it.

Good luck - share some photos!