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Motorcycle Aluminum Wheel Polishing

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  • Motorcycle Aluminum Wheel Polishing

    Have no clue where to start!
    I have two HD Fat Boy cast aluminum (solid disc) wheels I would like to polish. The wheels are in new condition with machined lips and "dimpled" cast center. Hand tool and kit suggestions to get me started would be greatly appreciated. I do already own a variable speed Metabo 3/8" drill. If at all possible I would prefer to polish with the wheels and tires still mounted.

  • #2
    Read manual:

    Greaseless 80,120,140,240 on cotton sewn.

    Wetsand to 600 or use emery on sisal.

    Tripoli on cotton sewn.

    If not satisified, use white on loose cotton.

    If you are trying to get rid of machine lines, make sure to cut against the grain.


    • #3
      If you have access to a sandblaster, I would recommend blasting the wheels with glass beads. It saves a ton of prep time and you are less likely to "gouge" any part or surface of the rims. It also effectively removes machining lines and other castind marks. It is safe, quick, and easy. Because sandblasting is directional, it will not harm the tire as long as you do not hit the tire directly for a long period of time. I would reccomend reducing the air pressure in the tire during the balsting period as well.

      I would then go Sisal/Emery, Tripoli/Sewn, White/Cotton. I just started using a sandblaster on all the metal that I am polishing and I am getting chrome-like results. Not to mention, saving a ton of time.

      By no means am I a professional. But this is the process I have been using and I am getting stellar results. Hopefully the same will happen for you.


      • #4
        What do you think is the grit equivelent of the glass beads? Do you think regular sand would work?


        • #5
          I am not sure on the grit equivalent but I would have to guesstimate about 200-300. After beadblasting, I am able to switch to a Sisal/Emery and smooth out the piece to a nice shine with a few quick passes.

          I am new at blasting but what I have heard is that sand blasting is to coarse for softer metals. So much so that it has been known to heat the part up and even warp the metal. Save the sand for ferrous metals and heavy rust removal. It is much better suited for that.

          Glass beads are very effective and safe for the metal. It is incredible how quickly it works. It also leaves a nice, fresh color to the aluminum. It took me an hour to do 2 very detailed rims.


          • #6
            Yes be very careful when blasting thinner pieces of metal in a bead blaster as it will bend and distort the metal.That's a neat idea about blasting first I bet it does polish up quick!