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brush or polish aluminum(8 posts)

brush or polish aluminumsweathog
Aug 22, 2003 11:45 AM
I'm getting an unpainted aluminum frame - any suggestions on how I could brush or polish it to make it pretty? Thanks in advance.
mother's polish and lots of elbow grease! nmgtscottie
Aug 22, 2003 1:15 PM
2nd the Mother's, but it's a never-ending jobcory
Aug 22, 2003 1:35 PM
Mother's or Simichrome polish will really make that sucker shine--but it won't last forever. The aluminum gets dull over time, so you'll need to touch it up occasionally. For that reason, I like a brushed finish, but I strive for no maintenance at all. If you don't mind buffing it up now and then, the shine is fine.
Whoa there Nellie!MB1
Aug 22, 2003 1:59 PM
Better check with the builder before you touch your aluminum frame with polish.

If the frame or part is made out of 6000 series aluminum it may be o.k. to polish it. 6000 series aluminum is fairly corrosion resistant and is not normally clear anodized so natural color frames can be polished. If it is a colored frame polishing will remove the color.

If the frame is made from 7000 series aluminum it has been anodized. 7000 series aluminum contains copper and must be anodized to prevent corrosion, if you polish it you will remove the protection. Then you will have to polish it all the time.
Speaking from experience.....Jervis
Aug 22, 2003 4:13 PM
I just finished polishing my aluminum frame a couple of weeks ago and it was a real pain in my a$$. I don't know how much of a shine you want on it, nor do I know how good of shape the finish is in, but you might be in for one hell of a project. I started out with 220 grit to get all the heavy stuff worked out, then I worked the finish from 320 all the way up (in order, by 200) to 2000 grit, then to a polishing wheel on a pnuematic grinder. You could check your makeup/hair in it by the time I got finished with it, but it doesn't last. Already after two weeks of riding (few hundred miles) the finish is noticably deteriorating, though still slightly shiny. I would hightly reccomend clear coating it, but then you can't polish it. It will look sweet for a while under the clearcoat but after a while it will just start peeling off (again speaking from experience, very frustrating). The brushed finish is pretty hard to get right, but it will look sweet as hell if you can pull it off, plus if you decided to it will have a rough enough surface to put a bit of clearcoat on it. As far as protecting bare, polished aluminum, a buddy of mine reccomended this stuff called Blue Magic. It puts a great shine on the metal and leaves some sort of silicone film on it protecting it to some extent and preventing corrosion. You might also try and simply put a layer or two of good Mothers or Maguiars carwax on it. I don't know if it will keep your frame from corroding, but it will definetely protect it. Good luck.


P.S. - I spent 70+ hours on the thing (I lost track at 35 or so) so make sure you know what you're gettin into.
bare aluminum is BAD...C-40
Aug 23, 2003 5:05 AM
As others noted, only 6000 series will retain a luster for very long and even then, every fingerprint will show. I know, I had a polished Litespeed Ti frame, what a pain in the ass to maintain. The polished Al frames that from C'dale are clearcoated to maintain the shine.

The bottom line is, don't waste your time, a good paint job is the way to go.
Aug 23, 2003 10:38 AM
The polished Cannondale frames are only ball burnished, which also hardens and sort of seals the surface of the metal. They don't go for a complete a mirror finish and there's no clear coat. It doesn't mark all that easy and it's simple to touch up with a damp cloth. For tougher more pronounce marks toothpaste works well for removing them.
maybe currently...C-40
Aug 23, 2003 11:43 AM
But they certainly sold fully polished frames a number of years ago.