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Old 11-26-2003, 06:10 PM
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Polishing aluminum

How do you polish alumminm sheet metal (noob lol) because im making a custom switch plate to fit in my ash tray (91 camaro).

any tips would be greatly apprciated.

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Old 11-26-2003, 06:48 PM
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Dreadlord,

Depending on how many scratches are in the metal start with about 320 wet/dry emery paper. Keep it wet and use small circles keeping the part moving.
Then go to 400 W/D again using water and small circles.
Then use 600 W/D wet and circles again.
Now you need a cloth buffing wheel attached to your bench grinder or hand drill.
You will need to go to harbor freight and buy some tripoli buffing compound. It looks like a big brown brick. Turn the buffer on and put the buffing compound against the cloth wheel. The wheel will turn brown. You just need a small amount so do'nt go crazy.
Now using both hands and starting below the center line of the wheel push the metal into the wheel. Do not stay in one place too long and remember this thing is going to get HOT fast so have a place to dip it in water to cool it off. The motion you want to use is, you got it, small circles. Take your time and it will come out looking like it was chromed.
If, when you push the metal into the wheel the metal turns "black" this means it still needs 600 grit W/D emerying in the water.
Once it is the way you want it clean it with lacquer thinner and then spray it with clear paint. If you don't paint it over time it will oxidize and you will need to do all that work again.

Have Fun
Scholman
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Old 11-26-2003, 06:58 PM
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Thanks dude that helps a bunch
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Old 11-26-2003, 07:50 PM
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When I made the step plates for my truck I did like scholman said but I took the sanding a little farther (saves albow grease). I went right up through 1500 grit on a soft pad with my DA. It this point it's got a nice shine on it and a little work with a polisher and some metal polish (I used Blue Magic) the plates shined right up. You really don't need to paint them beacause they are pretty easy to take care of now. A little polish on a microfiber towel keeps my plates nice and shiney...
Mark
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