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They didn't do all that by hand did they?

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  • They didn't do all that by hand did they?

    I've seen custom bike shows on TV and some of the bikes have very large ornate aluminum parts that have a high sheen luster in every nook and cranny. If they were done by hand polishing, you guys are my hero.

    I want to know if there is an electro polishing or chemical dip method that is used to get that highly polished look on complex aluminum parts?


  • #2
    Perhaps those parts are stainless steel. Stainless can be electro-polished.


    • #3
      If you are referring to the actual motor cases, cylinders and heads.....they are done by hand. It takes many hours, but as with that time frame costs a pretty penny.



      • #4
        They are not always done by hand; there are automated polishing machines for wheels (Caswell has a basic wheel polishing machine) with up to 12 axis cnc controls (ultra expensive) as well as cnc polishing machines for smaller parts. These machines are usually used for production parts like brass hardware (ie door handles).
        I have also seen companies that advertise perfect mirror polish using powders in vibratory tumblers. You can buy polishing powders (usually aluminum oxide); look for rock tumbling supplies. You may want to try that in a small vibratory tumbler (I've seen them as low as $60 on eBay).
        For polishing small parts by hand there is one other type of machine that makes polishing easier. It is similar to a belt sander (with a long belt) but has a wool belt which is not supposed to grab and throw the parts as badly as convential polishing buffs. Unfortunately, the only thing you can try cheaply is the vibratory tumbler.


        • #5
          If you dont use those methods you can also use cartridge sanding rolls. I use 120 to 400 grit sanding rolls in the corners of intakes and other parts. It does take some skill to keep the aluminum straight and not look like a hurricane in the ocean. The use felt bobs to polish the unreach able areas. I did this a few weeks ago,