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 Post subject: Polishing alloy advice
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:11 pm 
Old School Hero
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Location: Isle of Man
Can anyone tell me how to get a really good finish on aluminium parts ?

I want to get my cranks buffed to perfection but I'm struggling to get them shiny. So far I've used Salvo Autosol and a dremel. It's polished them a bit but I've mainly succeeded in plastering me and the surrounding area with autosol-shit-puree.

How can I do this at home, without resorting to specialist companies or equipment ?

any help gratefully received.

Cheers

James


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:15 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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HI,

Have a look here -

viewtopic.php?t=228672

there is oodles of polishing advice on Retro Road Classic.

Richard


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:25 pm 
Old School Hero
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Ace, loads of info


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:37 pm 
Retro Guru
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Location: not close enough to Wales...
Silvo tarnish guard silver polish works quite well and shed loads of elbow grease ! :D


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:42 pm 
Retro Guru

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A good start point is deciding if the cranks are anodised or not. If they are you've got to decide if your comfortable with the work to de-anodise them, and the debate about whether they'll be weaker/harder to keep clean.

I just did an old coda set for my daughter that were black anodised, and scruffy and they came up pretty well.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:43 pm 
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If anodization needs removed, here is a link to help with that process -

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=253317

Richard


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:17 pm 
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WD Pro wrote:
From Page 10 of my Marin build :

WD Pro wrote:

I have robbed my quote / response off another thread as I have been questioned about it a few times now :

WD Pro wrote:
Hi,

This is probably going to get really confusing now as I have been asked about polishing ally and ti via PM on a few occasions. I have copied / pasted my responses below but removed any personal info (names, love n kisses etc :lol: ).

The response about Ti was sent to ‘mousemat’ (and should appear in bold blue text).

The response about ally was sent to ‘guybe’ (and should appear in bold red text) although this is at the bottom it may make more sense to read this bit first.

To summarize quickly : Ally = easy but time consuming. Ti = ball ache and very time consuming. Note that everything I have written is based on my experiences / methods and achieving a chrome / mirror / blemish free finish. I have no doubt what so ever that there are other methods that work better / quicker / cost less / cost more etc :D

WD :D


Hi mousemat,

I wrote this (below the solid line) for another forum member (guybe) when he asked me about polishing stuff in reference to him doing his XT bear trap pedals.

I know a lot of it is irrelevant for you as you will be working on Ti but it saves me typing it out again :lol:

The Ti bits I did I followed the same method but compared to ally it is VERY time consuming … :(

Also bear in mind that the Ti bits I did I was only looking for a good (mirror) finish on a small area as the rest of the item was getting blasted. I would not like to tackle lugs / welds / dropouts etc.

What finish is on the Ti now ? My bars and post were brushed and these were the hardest bits to do. It seems the more you flat them off / polish them the blacker / bolder the lines from the brushed finish appear – then all of a sudden (just as you are getting really pissed off) they are gone :D

The bar ends were easier as they were just ‘natural’ so a quick flat and polish was enough to get them good.

Note that I still only used 1500’s to flat of the areas first – a rougher grade may have helped but I didn’t want to mess up / scratch the finish more than I could polish out with the NXT so I persevered with the smooth grades …

The polishing of ally is easy by hand just holding the components but the Ti is harder and hence takes longer. I found if I held the bits in a work bench (wooden jaws) and used a cotton webbing strap (like what you would fasten an apron with) easiest – cover it in NXT metal polish, drape it over the item and then holding onto each end use a push / pull motion to do the work. A lot of pressure can be applied so it works quicker (but it still takes a while).

On the post (the last item I did) I tried the felt bob and polishing soap (came free in one of those sample / selection boxes you get) on the end of the Dremel. It worked OK but still needed a final polish by hand, I am not sure if it saved time but it was certainly easier on the fingers / thumbs, and a bit more interesting.

For a guide I reckon I put 2+ hours into the four small sections that I polished for where the stickers were going …

In all honesty (and probably not what you wanted to hear :( ) I probably wouldn’t tackle a full Ti frame (I ‘might’ be tempted on ally). I think I would bite the bullet and pay for it to be done professionally. The metal polisher I have used for my car bits charges his time out at £25 per hour and has the correct machinery – but I would guess he would be quoting 3 hours + to do a frame ‘properly’ – I have seen some very poor work done by some renowned professionals - Some bits look good from a distance but you can still see sanding marks close up. To me, a proper polished surface (especially if you’re paying a pro) should look like and be as smooth as a mirror, even upon close inspection 8)

I hope you get on well with it and make sure you post some pictures up

WD :D


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

First things first – I am no expert on it but with patience you can manage most things ! :lol:

I was actually after some of those pedals until I saw how much they went for second hand and then I decided on SPD’s.

If I got some my original plan was to :

• remove the cages
• Polish the bodies by hand
• Flat off any big scratches on the cages by hand
• Get the cages re (hard) anodized in satin black

This would have meant losing the white lettering (but that wouldn’t have bothered me) but got me something that looked almost new. The only give away would have been the missing logos and on close inspection – some marks under the anodizing.

I defo wouldn’t want to mirror polish the cages by hand as I think that would be a lot of work due to the complex shapes and holes etc :shock:

I have polished anodizing off by hand but its hard work and that has only been on basic shapes …

If you do choose to have a go use a rougher grade of paper but switch to a much lighter grade as soon as the anodizing starts to thin / fade so as not to mark the soft ally. I used 600’s (this can be got from B&Q) to break though the anodizing.

I know you can remove it chemically (saw a thread on the forum) but I have never tried it and don’t know how easy it would be to polish up the etched surface.

The bodies would be dead easy to polish – an hour max per body – sat in front of the TV 8)

Looking at your picture I would go straight in with the NXT polish (from a good car shop for about £8. Any light scuffs / gouges should be removed with wet n dry. I favor 1500’s or 2000’s (about 30p per sheet from a car body paint suppliers) as even though it feels like paper it works very quickly when used wet on bare ally and the matt finish it leaves polishes up very quickly with the NXT.

As a guide I cut the sand paper into small pieces (1” x 2”) for curved shapes as it seems to go further that way and I would estimate 1 piece max per pedal body. If I use bigger pieces I just seem to waste it :lol: Use it dry and it will clog very quickly rendering it useless :(

In my experience a course grade will work quicker but you spend longer overall trying to polish out the marks that it leaves – Some of the pictures on the forum (NOTE FROM WD TO MOUSEMAT – There was a thread on some BMX pedals that had been done – they looked really good) have obviously been done by a professional with the right equipment to quickly remove the initial sanding marks :wink:

A standard green 3M kitchen pad will also leave a nice matt even finish if that’s what you are after.

If you look on my Marin thread the x lite caps are the finish the 2000’s leaves when used wet. They were done on the kitchen work surface – clean the top (no Crumbs ! :lol: ) wet the top – Stick a full sheet of paper down – worked wet and just rubbed the cap in straight lines until the anodizing, logos & scratches had completely gone. Probably about 20 mins per cap. Leaves a lovely black residue to clean up …

The X lite bar ends were done under the tap, small pieces of wet n dry and finished with a 3m pad. They took much longer to do as I had to get through the anodizing first. Seemed like longer but probably 1 hour, maybe 1.5 per item.

Cheers,

WD


Cheers,

WD :D


WD Pro wrote:
From page 3 of the ProFlex build :

WD Pro wrote:
Thanks for the comment :-)

Well ‘elite504’ came up trumps with a new faceplate for the Ringle 8) he also supplied a new clamp assembly (as I found a crack in the old when cleaning it up :( ) and a set of instructions so I have the correct tightening torques for the rebuild. All cleaned and ready for ano :

Image

I was looking around for some bar ends and came across these RooX items from ‘Jamis Diablo’ :

Image

I know nothing about RooX (are they any good ?) but they caught my eye as their appearance / construction suggested they were made from billet and machined to shape (rather than having any bonded or welded joints etc). I figured any company that went to that extent must be making a quality product ? :?

Anyhow, once the paint came off there was good news and bad. Good = one piece CNC’d construction :D Bad = corrosion due to no surface prep / bonding of the original paint … :(

Image

A bit of patience, elbow grease, wet n dry and NXT came to the rescue though quite nicely :-) Added a polished Ti bolt :

Image

Old v new :

Image

Both finished :

Image

The end plugs will be some blingy carbon jobbies I have spotted on eBay to match the stem top cap :oops: The problem is, I am not sure what to do with these, leave polished or ano with the other stuff … ?

A couple of arty farty shots now, I should title these “WD’s Workshop – View From A RooX” :lol: :lol:

Image

Image

WD :-)


WD Pro wrote:
From page 14 of the Marin build :

WD Pro wrote:
fingers wrote:
Amazing...

The brazing work tooks top draw, excellent job!


Thank you, the best work I have done on it that no one will see :cry: :lol:

Well sorting through the bits to build it up (itching to get the forks back :lol:), I was reminded about the QR’s which had a bit of a story …

I originally had Ringle holeys (silver) on the wheels and these were striped, cleaned up and sent for black (hard) ano with other bits, unfortunately though they ‘suffered’ a little with hidden corrosion (mentioned way up this thread somewhere) which was highlighted by the re-anodisation process. Two of the three levers were good but one leaver and the nuts / washers didn’t look pretty enough for me to put on the build. The new bits I made for the seat came up really good :

Image

Image

Image

And are defo on the build to stay but I ended up with a new set of USE ti spin sticks on the wheels :?

I had been keeping my eye out for a wheel set of ringles to complete the look of the Marin but didn’t have much joy. They would need to be in black A1 condition so I could use them ‘as is’ or another colour in A1 condition so I could get them re-anodised in black again without fear of the same problems as last time :? Also I didn’t want to pay for another batch of ano until all the bits off the ProFlex are ready to go so I could get it all done at once.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier but Mum’s orange had come to the rescue with the temporary loan of the USE ti post - and it also had black ringles … 8) Dad (who really owns mums bike :lol:) spotted the brand new spin stixs and actually wanted them to keep so the deal was done and I ended up with a ‘pretty good but not mint’ set of black ss holeys 8)

Should I clean them up ready for ano or should I use them as is until I can get them done with the ProFlex bits ? hhmmm, well my impatience got the better of me and I went to work with the wet n dry to remove a few scratches to go down the ano route :lol:

Looking at the first one part way through the process got me thinking, I could really bling them up without having to go through the cost and delay of fresh ano ;-) A few hours later and I was pretty pleased with myself 8)

Black / polished alloy, new Ti rods (bought for £4 off here ages ago on the off chance that they may come in useful :lol:) – chopped to perfect lengths and polished ends, polished barrels and new O rings :

Image

Image

Image

Image

They are now assembled and loctited. I think they will actually be easy maintenance – If I scratch them (so long as I don’t take a chunk out of them) I can just strip, flat and re-polish as all the vulnerable parts are now silver / bare alloy anyway – Its seems a win / win situation all round as they actually suit the build better to !

I am now looking out for one black holey in good condition (doesn’t matter if it’s a seat or wheel QR) – I can flat / polish the lever to use on the seat QR and this would give me two good levers in full black hard ano to use elsewhere / keep as spares / possible sell etc.

Just the rear derailleur to assemble (its all in bits) and spruce up now, shouldn’t take long - if I can remember how to put the springs and o rings back … :lol:

WD :D


WD Pro wrote:
There are probably quicker methods - but the above works for me :D

Hope it helps,

WD :D


WD :D


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:16 pm 
Gold Trader / PoTM Winner
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WD in the buff.... ain't nothing finer :wink:

G


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:15 am 
Old School Hero
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Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:39 pm
Posts: 233
Location: Isle of Man
Thanks everyone, loads of help


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:54 pm 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
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The trick to this gig is the scratches have to be incredibly small. What was your final grit before finest grade steel wool.

The/It look fantastic :D All you have to do it get over the horror of seeing a fingermark on it. :lol:


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