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Prepping aluminum for the ano shop ?

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  • Prepping aluminum for the ano shop ?

    I am a metal polisher here in Kansas. I am new to the forum and was hoping for some quick advice. I will be having some new parts coming to my shop that are aluminum and my job will be to only prep them for the ano shop. I'm wondering if I can just buff these parts on my buffing lathe like I have for Chrome dipping in the past? That's what I'm hoping for anyway. The parts were made on cnc so I know I will need to do some sanding to remove mill lines and whatever else. But can anybody tell me if I can just buff them with a smooth dull finish? Or do I need to do some other method to win these parts. Thanks so much for any advice! 🤒

  • #2
    Yes, you can buff them to the shine you want.
    Jason Vanderbroek
    315 946 1213 x116


    • #3
      Sounds like a vib finisher with synthetic media then treated cob will be better suited


      • #4
        Yes, I seen in my research that people do use tumblers for this process. Unfortunately, I'm not in the position to purchase one of the caliber I would need. So I'm really hoping that I can figure out a satisfactory method with what I have to work with in my shop. Then maybe later purchase a Little Giant tumbler setup. I have seen and read of people just buffing the parts and it works. Figure I will need to give them a good warm Dawn soap bath with a micro fiber towel to remove any and all polish residue. I'm with you though on tumbling.. That would save me a lot of time and work as well. But Monday I am supposed to be getting some parts. I should be picking up a raw finished part.. And a prepped part... As well as a anodized finished part. Like you, I have quite a bit of metal finishing experience.. So I'm thinking when I see a prepped part, I'm fairly confident I can duplicate a finish. One way or another. Hopefully. But yep, dropping several parts in a tumbler and pushing start then coming back in an hour while I'm doing something else seems the way to go eventually. Thanks for the help, I really do appreciate it gardenhackle!
        Last edited by It'llbuffout; 03-30-2018, 05:02 PM.


        • #5
          Originally posted by gardinhackle View Post
          Sounds like a vib finisher with synthetic media then treated cob will be better suited
          Thanks for the reply Sir. I think I replied to you in the wrong place. Anyway, hopefully you agree that it's possible for me achieve a satisfactory finish the hard way for now as well. Lol.


          • #6
            It is possible to polish aluminum with a buffing wheel prior to anodizing, it's done all the time, I still do it as required as well. Care must be taken when selecting a compound as does the method for which you attack the part on the wheel or you will suffer at the anodizing stage for a host of reasons, one being as you said residual compound being left behind (That's actually the least of your worries). It's best to sand the parts with varying degrees of abrasives up to at least 1000 grit prior to polishing. As you know this will take a lot of time. If this is something you plan to do regularly then an investment in vib equipment is an absolute must regardless of cost. I do however agree that the machines are ridiculously priced for what they are. If your handy you can do as I did and make your own. I made mine for 3/4 less than the price they sell them for. It's best to run two, one for synth cone and one for cob, below is a pic of my treated cob unit.

            Vib finishers free up your time but it does take longer than an hour (as you wrote) to achieve results. My Syth cone machine can run as long as 4 hours on parts depending how they look coming out of the machine shop. The Treated cob can take up 16 hours depending on part geometry and the level of shine required. There are other factors to consider but they are advanced, no need to clutter your head now.

            I do still use a buffing wheel if I want to focus on a section of a part that requires additional attention such as inside concaves of a part as that's a tough spot for the vib finishers to reach when it comes to treated cob! One thing you can't achieve with sandpaper and buffing wheels is the way a vib finisher addresses the edges of the parts. It breaks the edge leaving a more professional look to the parts. There are times were you want the hard edge to remain and it's possible by making protective fixturing and the use of silicone plugs.

            Good luck in your quest. In the end of you are serious you'll end up having all the right equipment.