Aluminum is a versatile metal that is used in a wide range of applications across various industries due to its excellent combination of strength, lightweight, corrosion resistance, conductivity, and recyclability.
The best way to prevent aluminum from dulling is through regular maintenance and cleaning, but if you haven’t been able to give your aluminum components attention until now, it’s not too late. In this article, the abrasive technicians at Binic Tools Abrasives have compiled this full guide on how to polish aluminum and keep its finish in prime condition.
TOOLS YOU WILL NEED
- Sandpaper: Sandpaper is used to remove scratches, stains, and corrosion from the aluminum surface. Starting with a coarse grit and working towards at will help to achieve a smooth and even finish.
- Polishing compounds: Polishing compounds come in various forms such as liquid, paste or powder and are used to remove scratches and oxidation from the surface of aluminum. The compound is applied to a soft cloth or a polishing wheel and worked into the surface of the aluminum.
- Buffing wheels: Buffing wheels are used in conjunction with polishing compounds to create a high gloss finish on the aluminum. The buffing wheel is typically made of cotton or felt and is attached to a rotary tool such as a drill or a bench grinder.
- Metal polisher: A metal polisher is a specialized tool designed to polish metal surfaces, including aluminum. It uses a spinning pad or brush to apply polishing compound to the surface of the aluminum.
It’s important to use the appropriate tools and techniques for polishing aluminum to avoid damaging the surface or creating further scratches.
Polishing aluminum is a process that involves removing any imperfections or scratches on the surface to create a smooth, shiny finish. Here are the steps you can follow to polish aluminum:
#STEP 1 CLEAN THE ALUMINUM SUFACE
Before you start polishing, it’s important to clean the surface thoroughly. Use a mild detergent and warm water to remove any dirt, grime, or grease from the surface. Rinse with clean water and dry completely.In most cases, a 320-grit abrasive will do the trick, but if you’re dealing with deep pits or gouges, you may need to go with a lower grit in the 180 to 250 range. Use progressively finer sandpaper as imperfections are cleared away and the aluminum surface prepared for polishing. In most cases, you can start with a 320, go to 400, and finish with 600, although you can go as high as 1500 grit for maximum polishing prep.
#STEP 2 SAND THE SUFACE
If the aluminum has any scratches, you will need to sand the surface using progressively finer grit sandpaper. Start with a coarse grit sandpaper (such as 220 grit) and gradually move to a finer grit (such as 600 grit) until the surface is smooth and free of scratches.
#STEP 3 Apply polishing compound
Apply a small amount of aluminum polishing compound to a soft cloth and rub it onto the surface in a circular motion. Keep adding more polishing compound as needed and continue rubbing until the surface is shiny.
# STEP 4 BUFF THE SUFACE
Once the surface is polished, use a clean, soft cloth to buff the surface to a high shine. Apply gentle pressure and use a circular motion to buff the surface.
WHICH MATERIAL IS THE MOST SUITABLE ABRASIVE TOOLS FOR ALUMINUM SANDING?
The most suitable abrasive materials for sanding aluminum are:
Aluminum oxide: This is a common abrasive material for sanding aluminum, and it is available in various forms such as sandpaper, flap discs, and abrasive discs. Aluminum oxide is a durable and versatile material that can be used for both rough and fine sanding.
Silicon carbide: This abrasive material is harder and more brittle than aluminum oxide, making it suitable for aggressive sanding of aluminum. It is commonly used for rough sanding, such as removing paint or rust.
Ceramic: Ceramic abrasives are highly durable and can be used for aggressive sanding of aluminum. They are suitable for removing heavy stock and rough surfaces.
If you use aluminum in your manufacturing process or simply have some aluminum components or items that you want to keep in the best possible shape, Binic Abrasives has the products you need to do a superior polishing job. This includes sanding discs designed for metalworking, buffing wheels that can bring out a mirror shine. All of our products are backed by over 20 years in the industry, so you can count on quality every time. If you have questions, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our contact form and we’ll be in touch.