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ok, what am i doing wrong?please help a man out?

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  • ok, what am i doing wrong?please help a man out?

    This is my first try at polishing... to my surprize,It looks really good for my first time,but I am sure I am doing something wrong because I am getting a cloudiness on the flat area of my aluminum disk cover. These are my steps...(I'm using a 3/4 hp 3450 rpm craftsman)
    I start sanding by hand with a 320-1000 wet, then I use the Black with a 8" sisal. I touch the wheel every 3-4 minutes or so with more black.(works great) then I clean my piece with hot water and soap. I use a 8" spiral sewn cotton with the brown in the same manner as i use the black. I then move on to the white with the 8" spiral sewn cotton. (I also tried a treated cotton) i get a good shine in some areas but hazy or cloudy in most other areas. I am inclined to think i need to use the loose cotton wheel for the white. but I'm not sure. also,what amount of pressure to the wheel should I give with the piece. Can i clean off a wheel and use a different compound on it? how often should i rake? also should i be seeing some slight build up when i use the white? i can send pics if your inclined to help me out. please, any tips would be great! I just want to do it right.

  • #2
    Sounds like you need a little tweaking to your process.

    The 8" wheel on a 3450 RPM buffer generates a bit too much surface speed, but you should be ok. For aluminum, you want right around 5,000 surface feet per minute. A 6" wheel at that RPM nets you right around 5,400 SFPM which is close enough.


    Now, what I'm about to say is *MY* way of doing things and not the end-all, be-all method. It works for me and works well.

    The first thing you should do is apply compound a bit more often. Every few minutes isn't quite enough. I apply compound about every 30 seconds, but don't grind several metric tons of the stuff into the wheel. A 3-5 second touch is all I do. This keeps the wheel cutting and makes the wheel do more of the work.

    I don't do the sisal/black anymore. I've found I get better results by sanding extremely well then starting with brown on a treated, vented buff, then green on a tight spiral then white on a loose cotton or flannel wheel.
    I think you're on the right track when you mention using white with a loose cotton wheel. Most of the haziness I've experienced comes at this step. Pay attention to your direction of buffing. I use brown and green in the cutting direction only (against the rotation of the wheel) and rotate my pass direction 45-90 degrees between compounds. Cleaning between compounds is a very good idea as well.

    Once you get to the white rouge, slow down a bit. White doesn't cut worth a d*mn and you need to take some extra time with it. Moderate pressure may be required with the loose wheel, but don't press too hard. These loose wheels grab your workpiece quite easily and can (and will!) propel it across your shop at high velocity if they grab an edge.
    Again, add compound often and let it do the work for you. I polish with white in the "color" direction only. (move the piece in the same direction as the rotation of the wheel) and I do 2-3 passes, varying the direction of the pass 45 to 90 degrees between passes. (i.e do the entire piece one way, then rotate 45-90 degrees, do it again, then repeat once more) A little extra work, but I get really nice results this way.

    As for cleaning a wheel to try a different compound, I wouldn't recommend it. You'll never be able to get all the old compound off the wheel and you'll just make more work for yourself. With the low price of wheels, it's better to stock up on wheels and always use a particular wheel (or set of wheels) for a particular compound. I label all my wheels near the center holes with a Sharpie pen to indicate which compounds they should be used with. I have individual boxes for each set of wheels/rakes and compounds that comprise a "set" and I keep them sealed and far away from the buffer when I'm polishing. (Avoids cross contamination) I'll bet I have close to 40 wheels in varying sizes for just buffing compounds. I have close to that many for greasless compounds. (and I'm just a hobbyist!! eheheh)

    As for raking, I rake the tight spirals a little before beginning a new piece. Each compound has it's own rake (again, to avoid cross contamination) and it's labeled accordingly. I rarely rake my loose cotton wheels as they really get torn up in the raking process. I almost never rake my treated wheels. When they get grungy, I run 'em on the buffer and press an old terry cloth towel to the face to clean 'em up a bit. Just be careful the rag doesn't get caught up in the wheel and pull your hand into the buffer. Better if you have to walk across the shop to pick the rag up off the floor.

    You will see buildup on every wheel you use to polish with - it's normal. Just try to keep cross contamination to a minimum and you should be fine.

    Sorry I was so long winded and I hope I didn't make it all sound harder than it really is. Unfortunately there's no "magic" method to maiing it all work. Everyone has their own methods and tricks. Practice and patience will help. Also, preparation is the MOST important step. If the part looks like it's been chewed on by a pack of rabid ferrets, it's not going to polish up very well. Sand it until it's scratch/ding/nick free, then sand it some more. I usually stop at 400 grit unless I really see a need to step up to 600 grit. I never go any further than that and get a mirror-like shine almost every time.

    Keep at it and you'll figure out your own method. Good luck!

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    • #3
      Thank you so much for taking the time to drop me line...
      I'll try your process and see if it works out for me.
      Im going to try it out on me swing arm for my Hon 450.
      ill post a pick when i get it down. Thanks again, I have read many of your other posts in the forum and those have been helpfull aswell! ill let you know how it turns out.

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      • #4
        Dose it kind of look like this when you are done :

        i have the same problem with this.. i get a nice shine and when i clean it go's cloudy .. i polished with white it went cloudy ,,, this is a bad metal mixture ... it will not hold a shine .. i even cleaned it with hot soapy water instead of putting in in the dishwasher like i normaly do....

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        • #5
          C&S, didja try cleaning with with some brake parts cleaner or laquer thinner? I know here in CA the water is so mineral laden it's almost worthless for a final wash.. (Not to mention drinking) Maybe you're getting some mineral deposits

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          • #6
            Originally posted by skiddz
            C&S, didja try cleaning with with some brake parts cleaner or laquer thinner? I know here in CA the water is so mineral laden it's almost worthless for a final wash.. (Not to mention drinking) Maybe you're getting some mineral deposits
            i tossed it in the part washer and redid it i got a great shine to it now almost like chrome but polished ... now i need a good cam to get a pic ... i may hang this one on the wall of fame ... along with some other part's that came out great .....

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            • #7
              You guys ever think about buying distilled water to use for wash water? It wouldn't take much. Got a question about buffing. Is there any problem with running the wheel parallel? I mean, imagine holding a drill like a gun and moving it parallel to the ground, from front to back of the part and not up and down? Does that make sense?
              You don't stop riding because you get old, you get old because you stop riding

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              • #8
                I've tried that and found it difficult to get uniform results across the piece. Might just be me though. I've found varying the direction of the work piece between steps works best for me. Imagine polishing a rectangular piece. I'd start going "lenghtwise" at the 1st compound, then "widthwise" with the next one and so forth. I've started doing two to three passes with the white rouge, varying direction between passes to really knock down the scratch possibilities with good results.

                As for distilled water, I've thought about it and I've also thought about reverse osmosis for washing, but I'm having good luck with regular old HOT tap water mixed 50:50 with Castrol Super Clean.

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                • #9
                  i havn't had the time to mess with it yet. im still waiting to get some green compound and a six inch wheel. ill let you guys know as soon as i try again. i relly appriciate all the posts its a big help and a confidence booster...I CAN DO IT!!!

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                  • #10
                    I just noticed, thats a cover for a GSXR. COOL. i wondered if I could do that with my 2001. the cloudyness is very simular. mine tends to look splochy like its cloudy in some areas and mirror in other spots. Im trying to figure out how i can get a photo on this thread. im havin a hard time finding a url to put it on to. anyway i have been using regular water to, im also in cali so ill try some distlled next time. as far as soap, i use Dawn and HOT water. i read in another thread that when you sand wet you can include some sort of polish in the water. I'm thinking of the stuff you can use like commet for tubs but its for pots and pans like copper or stainles steal. good idea or bad?[/img]

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dgc187
                      I just noticed, thats a cover for a GSXR. COOL. i wondered if I could do that with my 2001. the cloudyness is very simular. mine tends to look splochy like its cloudy in some areas and mirror in other spots. Im trying to figure out how i can get a photo on this thread. im havin a hard time finding a url to put it on to. anyway i have been using regular water to, im also in cali so ill try some distlled next time. as far as soap, i use Dawn and HOT water. i read in another thread that when you sand wet you can include some sort of polish in the water. I'm thinking of the stuff you can use like commet for tubs but its for pots and pans like copper or stainles steal. good idea or bad?[/img]
                      yep same cover you have ... and a paint to polish ... i conversed with lance and from what i got the best way to do these cover's are to nickle plate them ... but i got a great shine then when i washed it down it look's bad ... good luck on your cover

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                      • #12
                        I dunno about using anything but water or kerosene as a lubricant when you wet sand. I used to use this cleanser like stuff called Cameo to "polish" copper pans when I worked in a restaurant. Dunno how it'd work on aluminum or other metals.

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                        • #13
                          OK, I think i have been able to rid the cloudyness, when I go to white.
                          Ill post a second pic in the album section under dgc187. I still have to do the frame. Ill post those pics as soon as I have it ready. Thanks everyone!

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