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Old 03-11-2006, 04:17 PM
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Polishers - what am I doing wrong?

I've been sanding down my intake over the past few weeks and today had my first shot at using the buffing/polishing compounds and wheels I got from Eastwood. What a disaster. I hope someone can tell me from these pictures what I'm doing wrong.

Problem #1 I started with a 4" spiral sewn buffing wheel mounted on a drill (approx 1300 RPM at max speed). To test things out I began by touching the spinning wheel to a brick of 220 compound to load it up. The buffing wheel immediately began to disintegrate with fluff and string flying all over the place. I expected a "bit" of lint (as per the directions) but as you can see from the picture it tore things up pretty bad. The second problem, as seen in the picture, is that since the wheel is sewn in a spiral and since the material in the wheel furthest from the stitching lets go first, the wheel immediately goes out of round and the compound only adheres to the sections nearest the stitching which hold together the tightest. You can see in the first picture the green compound on the right and nothing on the left. It doesn't show in the picture but the green section where the compound stuck is right down by the stitching.



Problem #2 I then decided to give on the wheel for the moment test one of the felt bobs. I also decided that possibly the problem was with the 220 compound so switched to Tripoli compound. I applied the compound to the spinning bob in what appeared to be fairly uniform coverage. When I began to polish the manifold with the bob getting the results shown in the next picture below. A gob of black, hard, tar quickly formed and I could only get it off using 80 grit sandpaper. The third picture shows the bob itself after my attempted use.





I tried a couple additional experiments with the felt bob - running at faster speeds in my die grinder, running with more/less compound, and applying less/more pressure on the bob as I buffed. The only difference was that in some cases I could produce slightly less of the hard black tar on the manifold. But in all cases, it just made a huge mess of my nicely sanded manifold.

Obviously I'm doing something very very wrong and hopefully someone can steer me onto the straight and narrow.

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Old 03-11-2006, 05:07 PM
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I feel your pain on this one. I went through pretty much the same thing one time. I got so pissed I tossed the intake aside and bought one that was already polished. Eventual I used the screwed up one on a 4x4 crawler that I didn’t give a rats what it looked like. Its no wonder they say polishing is an art. I am surely no artist. Hopefully you get some good replies on this post. I am interested in learning anything I can on polishing techniques
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Old 03-11-2006, 09:38 PM
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Twisted, in talking to cboy about this intake (and seeing the truck before in person), simply replacing it with a pre-polished one is no option. It's not a SBC, so this is definately a DIY project. Big block Ford "glitz" parts just aren't being marketed. I'm not trying to sound bullish with you, so please don't take my comments too hard. Sometimes you just have no choice but to make due with what you have.


Dewey, Is it possible that the fairly low speed of 1,300 RPM for a buffer be too slow? I think Eastwood or H.F. have bench buffers that spin at around 3,200 RPM. Also, you had it mounted to the shank in the right direction to not "cut against the grain", so to speak, did you.

I got nothing more for you on the first pic, but I have got a thought on the second one. Is it possible that there is a chemical reaction ocurring between the felt bob-the compound- and the intake steel? Just a hunch, but any of those could aso not blend with any cleaner/degreaser you may have used as well. It would seem to me that the tar would not typically for without some form of chemical catalist.


In a while, Chet.
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Old 03-11-2006, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schnitz
Dewey, Is it possible that the fairly low speed of 1,300 RPM for a buffer be too slow?
That occurred to me as well so after sanding off the "tar" shown in the picture I put the felt bob on my die grinder (variable to 25,000 rpm) and tried running at different speeds...but got pretty much the same nasty result.

Quote:
Also, you had it (the wheel) mounted to the shank in the right direction to not "cut against the grain"
Whoa, I had no idea there was a "forward" and a "backward" - and nothing about it in the little buffing manual I got from Eastwood with the kit. I just mounted the wheel on the arbor and went at it. I can try another wheel tomorrow and mount it the opposite way. So you might be onto something here.

Quote:
... but I have got a thought on the second one. Is it possible that there is a chemical reaction ocurring between the felt bob-the compound- and the intake steel? Just a hunch, but any of those could also not blend with any cleaner/degreaser you may have used as well. It would seem to me that the tar would not typically form without some form of chemical catalist.
My take is that the "tar" is the typical black residue you always get when you use a wax or polish on anything aluminum...only multiplied about 100 times over for some reason... and then quickly hardening. There IS a notation I saw somewhere that if the buffer produces black residue you are using too much compound. But that notation also said to just keep buffing and moving the buffer around to "use up" and dilute the compound. When I tried to do that it just seemed to turn the the goo harder and harder. Also, regarding the cleaner/degreaser chemical reaction, the intake was first degreased with gunk and then run through my sandblaster, ground smooth with carbide burrs and then hand sanded with 50, 100, 180, and 320 grit paper. I can't imagine there being much of any cleaner/degreaser left. I also doubt there is any sort of incompatibility between the felt bob and the compound since both were included as part of the Eastwoods buffing and polishing kits I bought. I tend to think it has something to do with "human error" (uh, that would be MY human error) and not the materials or equipment.

One other possibility might have to do with my shop temperature. I had the heat set at 63 while I was working but it had been much cooler in there overnight so the compound bricks were probably 45-55 degrees.
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Old 03-11-2006, 11:24 PM
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Some reading and study!!

Here you go.. http://www.caswellplating.com/buffs/buffman.htm

looks like too much pressure is creating the black tar look..Just a thought..

Start with a coarse compound and then a medium then the fine..about like 600 grit 1200/1500 grit then a 2000 then the polish..Don't worry you will get there.

Sam
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Old 03-12-2006, 12:13 AM
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I just got done polishing a 6-71 blower and a radiator, im sure I did it all wrong but heres what worked for me, don't laugh

Those little wheels are useless

Use the cones on a die grinder, I had 2 compounds from eastwood for aluminum. Go over everything with the coursest compound, get it black, covered in black, hey that way you know what you have done.

Use WD-40 to remove all the black

Go over everything again with a new cone and the lighter compound, make everything black again, WD-40 again (never use brake cleaner)

Go over everything by hand with a good polish, I like Bushe but its really had to find.

Good luck, Duke
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Old 03-12-2006, 12:20 AM
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cboy

I recall having the same problem while polishing a manifold for my wifes car. The black stuff kept building up during the initial polishing. It seemed like it would stick in the sanding scratches then get real thick and hard. I kept cleaning it off with lacquer thinner and continued buffing and the problem seemed to get better. I also found if I worked a larger area it didn't build up so fast. I didn't have much luck with the little bobs so I ended up using small cotton wheels. After that experience I gave up on polishing. Now I just sandblast or paint.

joe
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Old 03-12-2006, 01:12 AM
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[QUOTE=schnitz]Twisted, in talking to cboy about this intake (and seeing the truck before in person), simply replacing it with a pre-polished one is no option. It's not a SBC, so this is definately a DIY project. Big block Ford "glitz" parts just aren't being marketed. I'm not trying to sound bullish with you, so please don't take my comments too hard. Sometimes you just have no choice but to make due with what you have.

Hi Chet, hey I am so sorry if that is what was thought I was telling him to do. And Trust me I know all about making something due. I merely meant that is what I did. I lost my cool and was in a hurry on that project, I had no choice but to ditch the intake and get one that was all ready pretty. I am all for his completing the project and as I said looking forward to everyone’s input. Someday I would like to tackle some of my own stuff again. Again, very sorry….Troy
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Old 03-12-2006, 06:04 AM
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First let me say I'm no expert, I have polished several sets of aluminum mags and have learned a bit first hand.

First thing I see is that the intake is still too rough to be polished using the compounds you have. I usually wet sand to 1200 grit, this leaves the aluminum almost there, then go to Tripoli then white rouge, then a final polish by hand with Mother's aluminum polish.

Being that the intake is rough the compound is loading in the scratches instead of cutting the metal, creating a lot of heat and with the friction is making your black goo you can't cut.

Being that it is an intake with all of those nooks and crannys I would get some of Eastwood's greaseless ccompounds in say 220 and 320 grit (part #'s 13131, 13132) and cut with them first, that should really smooth it up being that compounds cut lighter than the same grit sandpaper, then go to the Tripoli and up.

The wheel coming apart is typical from what I have used and will quit shedding material and even up with a short amount of use.

Don't give up, it is a lot of work but once you learn the best method for you it can go pretty quick. Just remember that the metal almost needs to look almost polished before you start polishing, anything less and you will see nothing but polished sanding marks which don't look good at all!
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Old 03-12-2006, 01:07 PM
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Hi Chet, hey I am so sorry if that is what was thought I was telling him to do. Again, very sorry….Troy
Hey no problem Troy. It's soo hard to get the whole "idea and attitude thing" right when typing responses over the internet. I got into deep do-do with Hippie a while ago the same way I just did with you. I'm sorry as well. It's all good on this end. So, are we still cool?


Well, from the jist of what I'm gleaning from LanceM, DUKEOFBLUZ and your own comments especially....

Quote:
There IS a notation I saw somewhere that if the buffer produces black residue you are using too much compound.
, maybe the issue is the manifold just wasn't ground smooth enough initially and the black tar is just the result of a bit too much compound and too rough of a basic working surface.


Quote:
Whoa, I had no idea there was a "forward" and a "backward" - and nothing about it in the little buffing manual I got from Eastwood with the kit. I just mounted the wheel on the arbor and went at it. I can try another wheel tomorrow and mount it the opposite way. So you might be onto something here.
This is just a hunch, particularly with me having exactly zero eperience with buffing or polishing. But, if it works out for you, I'l learn to do it right at the expense of your buffing wheels.... LOL!

In a while, Chet.
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Old 03-12-2006, 03:32 PM
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[QUOTE=schnitz]Hey no problem Troy. It's soo hard to get the whole "idea and attitude thing" right when typing responses over the internet. I got into deep do-do with Hippie a while ago the same way I just did with you. I'm sorry

Oh no way, you are so on my **** list now forever. Lol . Just kidding.
Of course man, hey **** happens. You said it exactly right. With only words to look at, sometimes actual interpretation is misunderstood.
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Old 03-12-2006, 03:36 PM
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Thanks for the input so far. I'm taking the afternoon off to watch the 400 - but Monday I'll do some more experimentation with all your ideas. Any additional ideas would be welcome.
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Old 03-13-2006, 08:51 PM
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The Monday Update:

Things still not going very smoothly but here are the results of my further experimentation.

1) I reversed the sewn spiral disk as suggested by Chet and it did seem to improve the way the disk loaded up the compound and reduce the disintegration effect. On the minus side, the actual application of the compound to the manifold still produced a very uneven effect with the compound still clumping and leaving black tar like residue. I tried LanceM's suggestion that I first "cut" the surface with greaseless compound. I tried 220 grit (which had almost no visible result) and then tried 80 grit just to see if I could make any sort of visible progress. The brick of 80 grit was much softer in texture than the other bricks and as a result the buffer really slung a lot of residue all over the walls, me, and the manifold. The problem with that was that these little drops and particles of residue leave a stain on the sanded aluminum. I could not find any cleaning solution that would take out the stains and ended up having to sand them all out again. Oh, and the 80 grit where I was polishing just loaded up with black gunk and left a very uneven effect on the aluminum. I quickly gave up on that route.

2) Following Dukeofbluz's suggestion I switched from the small wheel buffer to a cone buffer as shown in the following picture. Duke, is this the way the cone usually looks after a bit of use? As you can see it quickly loads up with the black aluminum residue.



3) Following LanceM's observation that the manifold was still too rough and needed additional sanding, I tested one runner on the manifold by hand sanding from 320 to 400 to 600 and then 1200. I then attempted to apply Tripoli compound with a cone buffer mounted on a drill. I'm including a picture of the Tripoli brick to see if it might give some clue as to what I am doing wrong and then a picture of the result. A huge black tar "skid mark" left on the runner.





4) I then tried Dukeofbluz's tar removal method using wd40. I found this to not work for me at all. First, the wd40 had no effect on the tar and worse, the oil residue from the kerosene in the wd40 left a residue on the aluminum that kept kicking up as I proceeded with further sanding/polishing. Duke must get this to work somehow- but it was a minor disaster for me.

5) Next I just scratched away at the tar with a fingernail and when I got most of it off I resanded the area back to 1200 grit and then tried the cone/tripoli once again being very careful to stop polishing as soon as I saw any black build up and immediately scraping it off by hand. Then polishing a bit more...then scraping off any residue. It is a fairly slow and tedious process (and doesn't seem at all correct according to everything I have read about polishing) but here is the result on the experimental runner (the one n the foreground).





6) The above pics were actually taken after not only the tripoli polish but a going over with rouge which was applied with a felt bob. I am attaching a pic of the bob after the application to see if this is the way it ought to look (blackened).



While I can see a bit of improvement here in terms of the results, I'm still miffed about the process and am quite certain either there is something amiss with the compounds I got from Eastwood or (the much more likely conclusion) I am still doing something quite wrong with the technique(s) I am using.
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Old 03-14-2006, 04:34 AM
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Hey Dewey, one runner down, 7 to go. Betcha you're wishing you had a 3 cylinder now, ehh??


You know, sometimes what's supposed to work just doesn't for whatever reason. You new method seems to give a great looking finish, so stick with it.



In a while, Chet.
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Old 03-14-2006, 05:41 AM
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I showed Dawn your pictures and she says that when she played handbells and they polished them their polishing clothes always turned black. So, the black on the felt bob is probably a good thing.

In a while, Chet.
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