Here's a quick post explaining how to step by step use my kit to polish aluminum. also have my related video at the bottom.
Before the Polishing process.
This step In my opinion is the secret to clarity, the most important of all the steps.
The Depthness of the shine you will have will be in direct proportion to the sanding you do. So with that said… depending on how far, how much work and time you want to spend on sanding will determine how close to a perfect mirror your surface will become.
Choosing the grits: 95% of my jobs are done with 320 followed by 400 and finishing with 600. Some jobs will require a bit more work and time, Older and much more pitted surfaces will need to be sanded with 120-180 grit first, I very rarely go lower then 180 on aluminum it will just create more unwanted work and loss of time to get all the marks done by the harsher grit. So 180, followed by 320, 400 and finished with 600 grit, you are now ready for the polishing step. I use a 5 inch DA/Orbital sander but use 6 inch paper, so when I do corners and stuff the paper folds up around the sander so I can get the edges easier with no scratching from the edge of the sander.
Now for Polishing
- Cutting use the Kwik cut (orange/yellow) wheel with Green Menzerna bar
(if using a 3000 rpm polisher 2 cutting steps might be required)
Explaining this is very hard, it’s like reading about how to drive… you can’t really know until you do it yourself. The best tips I can give are first always polish in the direction of the grain of the aluminum. Second always start from the bottom and work your way up chasing that black product residue line, going side to side in a slow and even motion. When you apply compound touch the edge of the wheel for about a second or less, with Menzerna less is more. putting little compound and doing 2-3 passes in a 2X2 section for example will not only save you in product but will give you a more even shine. I use 15 amp 6000 rpm Dewalt grinders they weight a little over 13 pounds so there’s no need for a lot of pressure, I’d say 5-10 lbs of pressure using less and less as you get to the top of the tank. the ideal is to have about 2-3 inches of the pad touching the surface when polishing.
2. Finishing use the White/blue untreated wheel with Blue Menzerna bar
Repeat the same process with the white pad, but move faster on your side to side motion. on certain grades of aluminum the surface will have more then others when this happens try dropping you're finishing step to 1800-2200 rpms it often helps minimize the buffing lines. Using the rake a lot on this step is also crucial to a nice clear finish. Just remember aluminum if a soft metal and pretty much impossible to get 100% flawless. you'll drive yourself crazy trying, I know I do!!!
3. Clean up This step is not always necessary! Once the machine work is done. you want to use a liquid metal polish I use Blue Flash and/or White Diamond those are the 2 that I’ve found give the best finish and shine. Always use cotton flannel sheets on tanks and flat surfaces any other surface plain cotton rags will work. Again always work in the direction of the grain with an up and down motion, a good amount of pressure using a flat hand removing some of the fine scratches and marks left by the polishing process. If you drop your rag on the floor toss it and use a new one dirt is your biggest enemy when doing the final finish.
Here's a Video explaining all this, Enjoy!
thanks for reading and watching, if you want more details on how to polish rims
Denis - Owner, Master Detailer