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  • Polishing costs too much!

    Hey all, I was quoted $75 from my polishing guy to do a rim lip. I think that's too much! I have a bunch of stuff that needs polishing and I'm just thinking of learning and doing myself. Is it difficult? I have a bench grinder that I modifyied way back and threw a buffing wheel on it. My friend and I tried it, but now I know we had the wrong compund. I think the kit came with a blue bar. I've done my reseach and it seems that the aluminum polishing kit would get me started.
    My other question is: can I sandblast the aluminum rim with any type of media? Right now I have glass bead in the cabinet. How hard is it to go from sandblasting and a rough surface to a smooth polished surface on an aluminum rim? What about small spaces?
    I'm trying to do a rim with powdercoated spokes with a polished lip.

  • #2
    Re: Polishing costs too much!

    First off if the lip is not powder coated you shouldn?t have to blast it I think the aluminum kit would work fine for what you are doing for tighter spaces I use a drimal my self im sure everyone has there own methods . When talking about blasting I still have not found anything that works better than baking soda but if you need to bast glass beads will work good also I would not recommend sand blasting aluminum http://www.caswellplating.com/buffs/buffman.htm this page will help you with buffing and polishing
    Jim Eaton

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    • #3
      Re: Polishing costs too much!

      Thanks for the help! Since posting this I've been doing a little research and it's really nice to have this forum to refer to when you need it. I just purchased the aluminum kit and am looking forward to getting started. I don't know what rpm my bench grinder is, but I think it's freakin fast. My biggest question would be with a aluminum rim weighing about 27 pounds, what would be the best way to prep, buff and polish. I can't see holding that baby up to the wheel for any long periods.

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      • #4
        Re: Polishing costs too much!

        How much does the bench grinder weigh? LOL
        I've used a high speed drill, 4 1/2" grinder, 8" buffer, and die grinders. Each have their little things they do best and they work different for different people. You'll probably have to play around with whatever you come up with to see what works best for you.
        If the rim is in good shape, you can probably wet sand with 320-400-600 and start buffing. Just don't go any rougher than you have to or you'll be sanding your sanding scatches out for a long time. Of course then the rim would be lighter to hold it up for the bench grinder. Best of luck. SS

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        • #5
          Re: Polishing costs too much!

          While it might be more than you want to spend...

          Keep track of the time you spend 1)teaching yourself how to do it, and 2) Actually doing it (right). Then multiply by whatever hourly wage you think is fair, throw in the cost of supplies and equipment, and see what you come up with.

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          • #6
            Re: Polishing costs too much!

            Originally posted by mpierich
            While it might be more than you want to spend...

            Keep track of the time you spend 1)teaching yourself how to do it, and 2) Actually doing it (right). Then multiply by whatever hourly wage you think is fair, throw in the cost of supplies and equipment, and see what you come up with.
            Absolutely you must understand that not only do you have to cover the time you spend but also the supplies to clean and polish I charge $30 per hr
            Jim Eaton

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            • #7
              Re: Polishing costs too much!

              Originally posted by jimcarry
              Absolutely you must understand that not only do you have to cover the time you spend but also the supplies to clean and polish I charge $30 per hr
              I don't charge nearly that much; but I quote by the piece, not by the hour. After not quite two years at it, I'm still learning - if I actually charged by the hour, nobody could afford it. Which is good incentive to keep practicing to get faster - the faster I get, the more I make per hour.

              I figure by the time I retire in ten years and go full-time, I'll be pretty good at it, lol...

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              • #8
                Re: Polishing costs too much!

                Originally posted by Heavykote
                My biggest question would be with a aluminum rim weighing about 27 pounds, what would be the best way to prep, buff and polish. I can't see holding that baby up to the wheel for any long periods.
                If you hang your bench machine upside down, you'll have clearance under it to work. I do rims by sitting on a kitchen-type stool with a stepstool in front of me. Put one foot up on the stool and support the rim with my knee. Works fine.

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                • #9
                  Re: Polishing costs too much!

                  Sounds like good advice to me! Like I said, I only am doing the lip. How hard can it be.lol
                  I know better than to say that one. I'll take it slow and see how she goes.
                  BIG QUESTION: Should I buff and polish the rim lip first or should I powdercoat it, THEN buff and polish?

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                  • #10
                    Re: Polishing costs too much!

                    personally bro i would polish first then mask it off. this is contrary to most peoples thoughts but i reason this way. if you polish first then degrease and mask then powder, after cure you are done. if you pc first then try to buff you will be spraying compound and grit from the lip all over the fresh powder and asking for it to get scratched. also if the wheel from the buffing grabs and it probably will, then that could cause a nice little run or burn in the pc job also. this is just my 2 cents though. best of luck.
                    when in doubt polish it out/ why replace it when you can refinish it
                    G2 Polishing and Powdercoating

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                    • #11
                      Re: Polishing costs too much!

                      Then that's the way I'll go. I'm still waiting on the kit to come, but when It does I'll be ready. I'll post when I'm finished. Thanks guys!

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