Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
fool goin up, joker down
Joined
·
615 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know it anyone saw, but in a recent Mountain Bike Action, there was an article about a 22 lb. Cannondale Rize project.
While reading the specs. I noticed that alot of the parts were, "polished" and looked very very good. I was wondering if anyone knew how to do it or if its even a do-it-yourself job.
Any input would be great.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
19,198 Posts
Polishing aluminum parts is a very labor intensive process , especially without appropriate equipment .
 

·
Stay thirsty my friends
Joined
·
885 Posts
They sell polishing kits for 6" bench grinders and hand held grinders at Princess Auto and in the US at Harbor Freight, its nothing more than a selection of wax based polishing compounds and cotton buffing wheels, each type of material requires a different compound to get a high polish.

Below is a common type of kit available for die grinders,

http://www.princessauto.com/surplus/hand-tools/8090805-18-pc-deluxe-polishing-kit
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
937 Posts
Don't polish, the aluminum anodizing on bike parts is there to prevent corrosion, and stress corrosion cracking. I saw the article too, it looks cool in a magazine, but in the real world it's a good way to hurt yourself.

Cheers,

Sopwithcamel
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,903 Posts
aluminum is probably the easiest metal to polish.. get a dremel with a polishing drum, some metal polish, and have at it.

if its a machined, dull finished part, it'll be high polished mirror shiny in about 3 seconds of polishing. if its a textured rough finish, you'll need to sand it down progressively with a finer grit.. like 220-400-800-1000-2000, could even use the dremel again with a sanding scroll.

but yeah, it'll corrode and look like hell quick, needs frequent repolishing.
 

·
fool goin up, joker down
Joined
·
615 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
ok so it sounds like I shouldn't try this if I expect to keep my bike for years to come, yes?
 

·
CEO Product Failure
Joined
·
1,932 Posts
Order your bike with a ball burnished finished or chromed. My old '89 Zaskar is ball burnished as was one of my newer Ventana's. The finish will cloud during the season. The secret to returning it to a glassy-mirror like finish is NeverDull. You can find it in most auto parts stores, I think EagleOne makes it. Ball Burnishing, while cool, is quite toxic to the environment. So finding frames/manufacturers who offer this option are few and far in-between.

The other option is chromed. I believe my SASS, bianchi's "Shiny Arsed Single Speed", was chromed chromoly. Very shiny. To polish this beauty, I used windex or if I really, really wanted it to shine...REM Oil. Yeah, the same aerosol stuff used for gun maintenance. Also works well on chrome fenders/bumpers. Just fantastic.

DO NOT attempt to polish your rotors though. If you do, a trip to the dentist or ER will surely/sorely follow.
 

·
Stay thirsty my friends
Joined
·
885 Posts
bingemtbr said:
Ball Burnishing, while cool, is quite toxic to the environment. So finding frames/manufacturers who offer this option are few and far in-between.
Ok I'll bite...how does dropping/shooting little ball bearings at a frame toxify the environment? :skep:
 

·
It's all ball bearings
Joined
·
223 Posts
pretty general statement

I get all the polishing supplies I use from this company, they have everything. They have alot of other cool stuff as well (primarily auto restoration stuff)

http://www.eastwood.com/buffing/metal-buffing.html

As far as reducing strength, I dont understand this point. I can understand potentially reducing wear resistance if a hard anodized surface is buffed away. However, polishing/ buffing only removes a very small amount of material, and to some degree the smoothing involved could eliminate stress risers in the material.

Is this not correct?

I polished racecar chassis components for many years, and worked with other teams who did the same. Can't say that I ever saw a part fail due to polishing

My .02

good luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
643 Posts
If you do end up polishing the metal, there is an amazing product called "Blue Magic" that's sold at Walmart & other places. It's a blue liquid you rub on like car polish, and then buff off. I had a polished aluminum rear swingarm on my trusty old Y-33 (the crazy yellow color it debuted in) and that stuff made it look AMAZING.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,015 Posts
I've polished alot of aluminum over the last few years and can tell you this: Its hard work, it looks great, its not going to ruin your parts.

I've found Mother Aluminum and Mag polish to work the best for me, and everything I've done has been done completely by hand with a rag.

My first polished frame https://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=393245

My latest work https://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=503257

Now here is something important to know about aluminum and corrosion. Bare aluminum (i.e. polished aluminum) will begin to oxide with the oxygen in the air immediately, so every few weeks you'll have to do a quick polish job to keep it looking great. However, the very thin coating of aluminum oxide (corroded aluminum) will protect the component from any further corrosion, so your parts will not corrode away and fail and there will be no reduction in strength. No parts I've ever polished have failed (except the first GT frame which was by no means related to the polishing) so rest assured and get polishing.

 

·
It's all ball bearings
Joined
·
223 Posts
Cleaning/polishing vs buffing/ coloring

Those frames look great. One thing for people just starting into this obsession should understand is that there is a difference between cleaning/ polishing the material using products like mother's and blue magic, which are cleaning products containing very mild abrasives, and the process of buffing the material itself.

Cleaning products such as Mother's and Blue Magic products work to produce the shine by removing oxidation or tarnish from the material, leaving a clean and shiny surface

When you buff or "color" the material using polishing rouges and polishing wheels, the surface of the material itself is actually smoothed and a small amount of material removed. This smoothening increases the brilliance of the light reflection from the surface. The surface change from buffing will last a long time, and can be cleaned and maintained using products like mother or blue magic. Parts can also be re buffed to touch up scratches or abrasions.

Buffed surfaces can also be clear coat painted to stop surface oxidation, but this introduces the possibilities of paint chipping, peeling, and discoloring. I haven't had much luck clearcoating using consumer products.

I most often buff my parts using 2 grades of rouge. Coarser rouge such as tripoli rouge is used first to remove scratches and imperfections, then finishing using a fine compound like jeweler's rouge, to eliminate any buffing scratches. (these products are all on the eastwood website mentioned in my last post and can be purchased at many tool dealers including harbor freight, who stock alot of stuff cheap)

I maintain using mother's to shine stuff up-
Buffing in my experience produces a more brilliant and pleasing finished product. The downside is the materials and equipment needed. Polishing with Mother's or Blue Magic type cleaners will shine the material with minimal investment, but this requires alot of elbow.

Hope this helps
Bad thing is once you start either, it's hard to stop!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,839 Posts
RatchAttack said:
I've polished alot of aluminum over the last few years and can tell you this: Its hard work, it looks great, its not going to ruin your parts.

I've found Mother Aluminum and Mag polish to work the best for me, and everything I've done has been done completely by hand with a rag.

My first polished frame https://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=393245

My latest work https://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=503257

Now here is something important to know about aluminum and corrosion. Bare aluminum (i.e. polished aluminum) will begin to oxide with the oxygen in the air immediately, so every few weeks you'll have to do a quick polish job to keep it looking great. However, the very thin coating of aluminum oxide (corroded aluminum) will protect the component from any further corrosion, so your parts will not corrode away and fail and there will be no reduction in strength. No parts I've ever polished have failed (except the first GT frame which was by no means related to the polishing) so rest assured and get polishing.

Did you also know that polishing will help prevent metal from cracking!



 

·
fool goin up, joker down
Joined
·
615 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
did yall that have polished frames before use the methods mentioned and if not what method did you use?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,839 Posts
I started with raw frames right after heat treatment and alignment. I was able to get them at under half price that way. I used 0000 steelwool and wet sanded. The 0000 actually gives it a nice satin finish. I always wet sand so there is no dust, and it gives a more even finish, and the paper can bend aroung curves better. I also let the paper soak in water over night before sanding. Be sure to always wear gloves what will keep the Aluminum off your hands. Then I do the same with 500, 1000, 1500 and then 2000 grit paper from an automotive paint supply store. The paper is pretty cheap, like fitty cent a sheet. The 2000 grit paper will actually leave a very dull looking finish. Then I hit it with the Mothers! The Mothers makes it shine like a mirror. 2000 grit can be used to take out clear coat scatches in your car paint, if you know what your doing. They had finer paper, I think it was 3000, I was going to buy some, but they only sold it in packs and it was about $30, so I didn't buy it. I can only imagine what 3000 would make it look like! I tried the buffing method with pads and an angle grinder and compounds. I had absolutely no luck doing it that way, and it was very messy, spatter all over the place. Polishing by hand is not hard if you know how to do it. It is time consuming. But come on, most of us could spend an hour a day less on the couch for 3 or 4 weeks.

Here is another frame I did. It's been a couple years since I touched it up and it needs it really bad.

 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,015 Posts
Mountain Cycle Shawn said:
Did you also know that polishing will help prevent metal from cracking!
Really? I had no idea, learn something new everyday ;)

That Mountain Cycle is like a mirror man, nice work!
 

·
It's all ball bearings
Joined
·
223 Posts
Those do look great. I have used sandpaper on my stuff in the past as well to remove scratches before buffing. That wet sand paper at 2000 is almost smooth enough to wash your face with.

I should have noted that in buffing I almost always uses a pedestal mounted buffer, like a bench grinder. buffers turn slower than traditional grindres. Ive never tried an angle grinder. I also use air powered die grinders w/ cone buffs to get inside tough places. Angle grinders typically turn too fast for buffing, and cause the wheels to fly apart, and the compounds to fly everywhere.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top