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need some some help on an aluminum polishing shopping list.

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  • need some some help on an aluminum polishing shopping list.

    last summer i removed the anodizing from my 2003 gsxr 600 frame as well as sanded down the rough cast areas on the rear portion. i have everything that i want polished done to the point where i can see myself in them, but they are still a little cloudy. i achived this shine by wet sanding from 400 grit al the way to 2000 grit. now that my arm and shoulder have healed i figured there must be a better way of finalizing th job. so my question is can somebody give me an idea of what i need to finish a 70% done aluminum polish job.

    what i need to know:

    wheel/compound combination
    how to know when to move to the next step

    if anyone says sandpaper i just might cry!
    also on this style bike it has 2 black plastic ram air tubes that i would like to have chromed. is there another method of doing this without having them dipped? i found a spray type chroming kit on this site a while back that looked exactally like an plating job, but i cannot find it again. any help would be appreciated.

  • #2
    To finish up your frame, you won't need a whole lot more.

    A decent drill
    2 4" sisal wheels
    1 4" spiral wheel
    1 4" loose cotton wheel

    Small bar emery (black) compound
    Small bar tripoli (brown) compound
    Small bar white (rouge) compound

    Read the online buffing manual to get an understanding of proper technique and then have at it.

    Sisal/Black should be your 1st step. This will remove the fine scratches and begin to bring a good lustre to the metal. It'll also be the most time consuming part of the polishing. Most of the polishing will occur with this combo. I sugest you move in a "cut" (against the rotation of the wheel) direction only at this point.

    brown/spiral should be your next step. Start with a cut direction, go over the entire surface and then repeat in a color direction. (Some people skip brown all together and move right to white. I've begun spending a lot more time with the sisal wheel and skipping right to white as well.. Seems to work very well.)

    finish up with white/loose in the color direction only and you should be good to go. Be careful with the loose wheel around edges and tight spots. Sometimes these wheels tend to grab and may cause you to scuff your part inadvertantly when the mandrel hits the part you're polishing

    Good luck with it!


    • #3
      WAIT!!!! Before you take that sisal wheel to that frame! You said you sanded up to 2000 grit, and by the way your talking about pain, you may of spent ALOT of time sanding. Hopefully your piece is very smooth with no scratches. I would first try using a spiral with the white, then a cotton loose with the white. If the results are very good, just go over the frame with this combo. If you have cloudiness still, then go back to the SISAL. I just don't want you back tracking and then progressing. I am not knocking Skiddz here, cause he is a pretty smart fella, but I have been where you are and I have done what I just said, with excellent results. If it doesn't work my way, you didn't lose much time and you can then proceed to the sisal and black. Good luck


      • #4
        That's a good point Fireblade. You can always add some "grit" to step back, but if the white is cutting enough to do the job, stick with it. if it's not, maybe step back to the spiral/tripoli combo and see how that works. Worse comes to worse, step all the way back to sisal/black.

        I think if I were to dive in with the white on a spiral wheel, I'd try to buff perpendicular to the sanding direction for starters and see how that goes...

        Good luck!


        • #5
          Another option that I use is:

          Sisal Wheel- Emery Compound
          Loose Cotton Wheel- Grade A-14 Aluminum Compund
          Flannel Wheel- Blue Compund

          All after sanding to 1000 grit with a random orbital sander, of course.

          I have acheived a mirror like polish using this combination.

          I'd love to post pics, but I haven't perfected my plating process enough to buy a digital camera


          • #6
            Last stage of frame......

            I'm in the last stage of my frame touch up from last year. It's a sweet mirror like finish, though not as clean and bright as I would like it. Can you recomend a dry compound. I'm thinking either.......GREEN ROUGE, HIGH LUSTRE - GRADE A-15, or HIGH COLOR COMPOUND (EXTRA DRY). Whats with this new white rouge liquid? Has anyone try'd it? If so.... how good is it? and hurry up the weathers starting to change


            • #7
              I haven't tried the high luster aluminum compound, but am very impressed with the A-14. I currently use the blue compound after the A-14. I have also used the white liquid rouge and got the same results. The liquid can be pretty messy but does work very well also.