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Polishing Techniques - It takes soooo long

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I'm slowly rebuilding my 1997 XR and am putting a lot of TLC into it. As the bike is pretty old its looking a bit scruffy and is in definite need of a polish. 

 

I've bought a Dremel and ended up using the Aluminium oxide grinding stones on the carb before polishing it with the default polish, which gave me good results but still took about 5 hours. 

 

Now i'm on the forks and it's taking an absolute age, and i'm worried the grinding stone is leaving small marks on the fork. I then used wet and dry sandpaper (without wetting it) through the gradients before i started to polish it but it's literally taking forever. 

 

I figure i need to get my hands on some bigger parts for my drill to take on the bigger jobs like the swing arm, forks and main engine bulk. 

 

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

 

 

Photos Here

 

http://s1168.photobucket.com/user/lwhite89/library/

 

 

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I'm slowly rebuilding my 1997 XR and am putting a lot of TLC into it. As the bike is pretty old its looking a bit scruffy and is in definite need of a polish. 

 

I've bought a Dremel and ended up using the Aluminium oxide grinding stones on the carb before polishing it with the default polish, which gave me good results but still took about 5 hours. 

 

Now i'm on the forks and it's taking an absolute age, and i'm worried the grinding stone is leaving small marks on the fork. I then used wet and dry sandpaper (without wetting it) through the gradients before i started to polish it but it's literally taking forever. 

 

I figure i need to get my hands on some bigger parts for my drill to take on the bigger jobs like the swing arm, forks and main engine bulk. 

 

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

 

 

Photos Here

 

http://s1168.photobucket.com/user/lwhite89/library/

You're gonna need the right buffing/polishing equipment & compounds to polish that metal properly. This link will give you a start. Regardless, buffing/polishing is all manual labor & will take a lot of time...especially for the beginner.

 

http://www.caswellplating.com/buffman.htm

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Yes, there's no way a dremel could compare with a buffing wheel on a healthy electric motor.  if you're going to do more polishing projects than this one, I'd suggest shopping for one. (At least for projects where you can bring the work to the wheel - not frames).  I have one with the tapered "wheel screw" so changing buffing wheels is super easy.   BTW-  It's also messy as he!!.  Don't plan on really doing much in the house.  They shed lots of threads off the wheel as well as the compound. I have one of those portable work stand/saw horses that can clamp work and put a 2x4 on the bottom of the motor.  If I have to do buffing, I clamp the motor to the table outside.  

Note: You can polish aluminum parts so smooth and shiny, you can scratch them by touching them with a bare finger.

Edited by motoxvet
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Polish them, then clear coat them, personally I prefer the non shiny look of stock of parts, Enzo Ferrari once said having shiny stuff on a race car is not desireable, Id bling up a Harley not a dirtbike.Jennifer01_03.jpg47ac15205281effa67a68a97eddeb1bb.jpg5925.jpg

Edited by cr-dude3
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I'm slowly rebuilding my 1997 XR and am putting a lot of TLC into it. As the bike is pretty old its looking a bit scruffy and is in definite need of a polish. 

 

I've bought a Dremel and ended up using the Aluminium oxide grinding stones on the carb before polishing it with the default polish, which gave me good results but still took about 5 hours. 

 

Now i'm on the forks and it's taking an absolute age, and i'm worried the grinding stone is leaving small marks on the fork. I then used wet and dry sandpaper (without wetting it) through the gradients before i started to polish it but it's literally taking forever. 

 

I figure i need to get my hands on some bigger parts for my drill to take on the bigger jobs like the swing arm, forks and main engine bulk. 

 

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

 

 

Photos Here

 

http://s1168.photobucket.com/user/lwhite89/library/

I checked out your pictures. Hey, so far so good! 

 

Don't let your impatience blow the project. Take your time, have the right tools, do it right. Right now you are INVESTING in that bike. If done right, your pride in the investment will pay dividends long after you forget how much work it was!

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Yes, there's no way a dremel could compare with a buffing wheel on a healthy electric motor.  if you're going to do more polishing projects than this one, I'd suggest shopping for one. (At least for projects where you can bring the work to the wheel - not frames).  I have one with the tapered "wheel screw" so changing buffing wheels is super easy.   BTW-  It's also messy as he!!.  Don't plan on really doing much in the house.  They shed lots of threads off the wheel as well as the compound. I have one of those portable work stand/saw horses that can clamp work and put a 2x4 on the bottom of the motor.  If I have to do buffing, I clamp the motor to the table outside.  

Note: You can polish aluminum parts so smooth and shiny, you can scratch them by touching them with a bare finger.

Thanks For the advice, would this also get rid of the Aluminium oxide? I'm currently using the Dremel Aluminium Oxide grinders then switching to polishing tools. 

 

Also i'm not sure which polish would be best for the aluminium

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it will clean up oxidized aluminum IF it isn't so bad that there is actually metal pitting.  Similar to rust, if  there is a hole or bad surface rust, sanding that won't hide the damage.  For which compound for aluminum, check some buffing supply web sites.  They will recommend which compound - probably by color - and even which wheel to use.  It's actually kind of fun to polish parts because you can make them look SO good but it would be more fun if it wasn't so messy.  

Just like CR-dude says above, I polish a lot of parts and then clear coat them.. It takes a little of the shine away but bare aluminum discolors and gets ugly pretty quick.

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it will clean up oxidized aluminum IF it isn't so bad that there is actually metal pitting.  Similar to rust, if  there is a hole or bad surface rust, sanding that won't hide the damage.  For which compound for aluminum, check some buffing supply web sites.  They will recommend which compound - probably by color - and even which wheel to use.  It's actually kind of fun to polish parts because you can make them look SO good but it would be more fun if it wasn't so messy.  

Just like CR-dude says above, I polish a lot of parts and then clear coat them.. It takes a little of the shine away but bare aluminum discolors and gets ugly pretty quick.

Thanks For the Advice, got on a buffing wheel and it's getting through it. 

 

I'm now starting to think about clear coat, will it always have a gloss finish, or can you get satin and matt?

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