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  • Alumium rim polishing, not the best outcome?

    So I polished a set of rims for my car last season and want to possibly give it another go this season.


    I polished the rims last season as best as I could get them, but wasn't fully satisfied with the outcome. There were still very fine scratches as well as a slight haziness that I could not get rid of.


    My process:
    Striped the wheels with aircraft stripper, multiple times.
    Started sanding at 320, 400, 600, 800(wet sand), 1000 (wet sand), 1200 (wet sand) 1500 (wet sand), & finally 2000 (wet sand)
    After the sanding process I used various polishing attachments using a drill. I started with the dark brown/reddish compound and then went to white and finally finished with mothers polish.


    I repeated this process twice on each wheel after noticing I still had a slight haze, fine scratches and like blotchy marks on the face of the rims. Now I figured instead of giving 450$ to get them professional polished first, I was hoping it would be a simple fix in my technique to make them truly shine.


    The absolute only thing I can think of for not getting the perfect shine is because I used only a drill with attachments. If that is the case what should I use that would be easy to handle when polishing rims? I was thinking a grinder, da with buffing attachments if they make them, a 3" orbital sander (which I already have, for the tight spots) and then maybe a die grinder with buffing attachments for inside the spokes and such.


    If anyone can help me I would truly appreciate it.


    If I used a DA or orbital sander for some of my sanding stages, say 300-600 which that be okay?

  • #2
    Re: Alumium rim polishing, not the best outcome?

    Can you post up some pics? Hopefully Baz will chime in but in the meantime I would think you could skip the brown after wet sanding to 2000, Did the rim look hazed over after wet sanding? The problem may lie there.

    Laters,
    Ken
    Once over dust, Twice over rust. ~USN

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Alumium rim polishing, not the best outcome?

      without pictures it is almost impossible to help you , would need to see what those scratches look like and also that haze. .
      to tell you what tools you need i would have to see what the wheels look like .
      what did the wheels look like before your first sanding step ? 320 seems very fine for a first sanding step if they were natural cast .
      was your sanding done by hand or with a sander
      http://www.peintureenpoudrepb.com
      http://www.polissagepb.com
      http://www.powdercoatpb.com
      baz

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      • #4
        Re: Alumium rim polishing, not the best outcome?

        I do not think I will be able to catch the fine scratches with my camera, but I can try. This is the face of the wheel right after I stripped it and the lip has already been polished, if you look closely to the right of the lip of the rim you will see the "haze" that I am talking about, almost like swirl marks.:



        This is after doing all the steps I listed above:






        Im just not getting that "mirror" shine like I thought I was suppose to get. The only time the wheels look pretty good is when its very sun outside, but if there is no sunlight out they just look almost painted silver.

        If you need more pictures I can do what I can, but I can't seem to find any pictures showing the scratches I speak of only the haziness/dullness to them. Also sanding was done by hand only, sometimes using a sanding block. I used a kit like this with a drill I have for buffing Aluminum Polishing Tool Kit - 14 Piece. I used separate pads for each compound and even used a mothers powerball to apply the mothers polish as well.
        Last edited by Jesse Caruso; 02-29-2012, 04:21 PM.

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        • #5
          Re: Alumium rim polishing, not the best outcome?


          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Alumium rim polishing, not the best outcome?

            Same wheel, looks almost silver:



            I apologize for the multiple posts, but I wanted to show you more images.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Alumium rim polishing, not the best outcome?

              first thing you should know is that some aluminium castings do not polish to a nice mirror shine , i came across a few set of wheels that no matter whar i tried i could never get a decent finish. this said i tried to enlarge the pics but it is not clear enough to pinpoint the problem , but my guess is not enough of everything , more sanding . your first sanding step should remove any and all pinholes, scratches and casting defects you should have a very smooth uniform surface before going to next step. the next step should remove ALL sanding marks left by previous steps and so on til about 800 grit then you could use a tripoli or some other good cutting compound with a buffing wheel .
              at this point you must use a buffing wheel hard enough to be able to apply enough pressure to generate friction heat, if the buff is too soft,
              if your rpm is too slow or the drill not strong enough you will not be able to generate enough friction heat needed to get the job done .
              a good orbital sander and a 7 inch variable speed polisher sander with a few good buffing wheels should get you there .
              i said a 7 inch VARIABLE speed sander , by all means do not use those angle grinders they spin too fast and they are a real danger .
              Last edited by baz; 03-01-2012, 12:04 AM.
              http://www.peintureenpoudrepb.com
              http://www.polissagepb.com
              http://www.powdercoatpb.com
              baz

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Alumium rim polishing, not the best outcome?

                Thanks for the help, I guess I will give it ago again.

                Do you think I should drop down to a lower grit sand paper? I was thinking of doing this:

                220 on electric orbital sander/die grander for the small sections
                320 on electric orbital sander/die grander for the small sections
                400 on electric orbital sander/die grander for the small sections
                600 wet sanding by hand
                800 wet sanding by hand
                1500 wet sanding by hand
                2000 wet sanding by hand
                Rouge Compound (dark brown/reddish)
                White compound
                Mothers Polish

                Anything I should change, skip or do instead?

                Now I found this Sander/Polisher - 7 Speed Electric Sander & Polisher buffer where do I go about geting pads from casewell, also what types of pads should I be looking at?

                I was also thinking about picking up this bench buffer for the lips of my wheels?
                6" Buffer


                Basically I have the determination to get these things right and the satisfaction of doing it myself, but just not sure what I messed up on last time. Considering its about 350$ or more to have someone polish my wheels, I think I rather try it again and spend say 150$ or less on materials instead.

                I really appreciate all the help and wish I could actually capture what I am talking about in pictures.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Alumium rim polishing, not the best outcome?

                  the sander looks ok . caswell sells an adapter so you can use their buffing wheels with that polisher.
                  Buffing Adapters - Buffing/Polishing - Caswell Inc
                  if you are good at making stuff you could make some kind of a jig to hold that polisher on your work bench or on a vise,that could save the cost of buying a bench polisher and use the spare money to buy some good six inch buffs , get the ones that has more stich rows they are harder and you will be able to apply more pressure.
                  with a better polisher and better wheels you will be able to skip the 1500 and 2000 grit steps and maybe even the 800 .
                  what grit to start sanding ? you are probably the only one that can tell , if the 320 removes all defects in the actual finish in a reasonable amount of work then you are ok ,if not then go down to a coarser grit.
                  http://www.peintureenpoudrepb.com
                  http://www.polissagepb.com
                  http://www.powdercoatpb.com
                  baz

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Alumium rim polishing, not the best outcome?

                    Appreciate that, I am actually feeling confident going forward.

                    My last question though, if I stop at 1000, 1500 or 2000 what compounds should I use?

                    I was thinking this:

                    Jeweler's Rouge Large - Standard Buffing Compounds - Buffing/Polishing - Caswell Inc
                    and then finishing with this:

                    White Buffing Compound Jumbo - Standard Buffing Compounds - Buffing/Polishing - Caswell Inc


                    Should I use a third one or different colors or something?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Alumium rim polishing, not the best outcome?

                      like i said before ,with the right tools you don t need to sand to 1000 grit and up , i never had to sand with those in my opinion it is a huge waste of time when you know that a good polishing tool with a good compound will remove any sanding marks of 600 grit and up .
                      i don t really know about the compounds from caswell but reading the description of the red rouge that is not what you need it is mostly a coloring compound for precious metals .
                      i would suggest more like a brown tripoli that is more agressive followed by a white .
                      all the compounds from caswell have a description of the product so you should select what suits your application.
                      http://www.peintureenpoudrepb.com
                      http://www.polissagepb.com
                      http://www.powdercoatpb.com
                      baz

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Alumium rim polishing, not the best outcome?

                        Just to cement what Baz is saying. (trust me, if he says buffing naked helps, try it) I was skeptical of the compounds and wheels. Trust me, after buying the aluminum buffing kit from Caswell, it made a believer out of me. A sewn wheel and black compound can make short work on even the roughest aluminum. I tried a sisal wheel and I honestly believe that I could have cut the piece in half if I wanted to. It has been almost a year and the only time I grab sandpaper is when I am restoring a gun stock.

                        Laters,
                        Ken
                        Once over dust, Twice over rust. ~USN

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Alumium rim polishing, not the best outcome?

                          Jesse, your rims look like they were prepped quite well. Myself I use a two speed (1900 and 3400 rpm) converted grinder. I think the brown Tripoli may be a bit aggressive for what you have. If you can get some green med wet rouge go with that first at 1900 and a sewn buff then follow with the white bar at 3400. I generally sand to 1000 and lots of times do it dry not wet. A trick that a lot of people use is to lightly spray the surface with a little var-sol or naphtha to give some lubricant to the polishing process. Sometimes polishing dry can cause more scratches. The metal needs to get warm so it will "flow". After you use the green wipe the surface down with corn starch and a soft rag to remove the black tags. Then switch to a loose buff and the white rouge at 3400rpm. Wipe it down again with corn starch. You will have to do some hand polishing around the rivets.

                          Kevin Cullen
                          Metal Polish Shop

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