Forum Donations
Search
VTF Google Search
 Click Here

Aluminium Polishing (at my place)

Share tips and tricks on how to make your bike shine!
  • Advertisement

Post a reply

Aluminium Polishing (at my place)

PostAuthor: Artie » Mon Oct 17, 2016 5:14 am

A while ago, someone asked about polishing the aluminium parts of their engine and whether or not it can be done while the bits are on the engine in the bike.

Opinions were varied, knowing I was about to do a whole heap of polishing soon, I thought it might be a good topic for a thread....so....

Here's how I go about it....

All my bikes are 81 models (yep all 4 are early 81's) so they are ALL 35 years old and I'm willing to bet they've NEVER been alloy polished! So grungy..

The method I use is simply like painting, the result is only as good as the surface prep.... 35 year old aluminium has corrosion, pits, dings, crap and all manner of stuff on it.... so I sand them first, starting with 180 grit to remove the imperfections, and then finish with 220 grit.

Then I use car paint cutting compound and the grinder mounted buff. When I'm happy with that I move to the buffing soap (white grade) and finsh off with a designated aluminium metal polish....pics below.....

This takes ages, tonight I did the 4 rocker covers, 2 hours of mind numbing boring effort...but the results are worth it....

Heres what I started with....
RC1.jpg


First sand stage....
RC2.jpg


Second sand stage....
RC3.jpg


All done by hand....
by hand.jpg


Then on to the cutting compound and buff....
Buff.jpg


Then the soap and afterwards the metal polish.
Polishes.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
Artie
Senior Membership
Senior Membership
 
Posts: 411
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:51 am
Location: East Coast of Australia - Bateman's Bay New South Wales Flag
Bike year & model: 1981 xv750 virago x 4 (too many??)
1983 Ducati Pantah
1954 Triumph Speed Twin (sold)
Sex: Male

Re: Aluminium Polishing (at my place)

PostAuthor: Artie » Mon Oct 17, 2016 5:29 am

The result...
RC4.jpg


4 Stages .....
RC5.jpg


Finished items....
Rocker Covers.jpg


Also did the fuel cap from the Duke, cam covers and a few other bits and pieces.
Fuel Cap.jpg


cam cover.jpg


A lot of bloody messy 'fun'....
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
Artie
Senior Membership
Senior Membership
 
Posts: 411
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:51 am
Location: East Coast of Australia - Bateman's Bay New South Wales Flag
Bike year & model: 1981 xv750 virago x 4 (too many??)
1983 Ducati Pantah
1954 Triumph Speed Twin (sold)
Sex: Male

Re: Aluminium Polishing (at my place)

PostAuthor: SBG71 » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:06 am

Great job, I keep putting this off, I know the work and time involved.

SBG71
Junior Membership
Junior Membership
 
Posts: 43
Images: 2
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:23 pm
Location: santa barbara, CA Flag
Bike year & model: 1982 xv750 Virago
Sex: Male

Re: Aluminium Polishing (at my place)

PostAuthor: o c t o r » Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:45 pm

. . I can see scratches . .
I use increments up to 2500 grit . . . no scratches for shore . . just sayin'

octor
aka. octor Virago
aka Doctor Virago
But you can just call me Doc
Image

ImageImage
User avatar
o c t o r
Silver Membership
Silver Membership
 
Posts: 1224
Images: 11
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:06 am
  Flag
Bike year & model: '81 XV920 Roadster
'84 XV1000, Stock Bike
'84 XV1000, Custom in the Works
'82 XV920, Custom in the Works
1982 XV920RJ Stock
1-750 engine
2-920J engines
Sex: Male

Re: Aluminium Polishing (at my place)

PostAuthor: chrismalm » Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:09 pm

:yup:
I thought 180 was too aggressive to start and 220 wasn't fine enough to stop.
I do like your results. I can appreciate less hand sanding and more buffing.

If I want to remove metal, like rounding fin edges, I'll start with 220 (180 is ok too), then I usually do 400, 800, and 1500 before buffing. I do all sanding wet to minimize the chance of inhaling aluminum dust. I'm no expert, just throwing my :2cents: in.
Chris Malm
User avatar
chrismalm
Mod
Mod
 
Posts: 1179
Images: 21
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: Laguna Hills, CA Flag
Bike year & model: 1982 XV750 (project)
1982 XZ550H
1982 XZ550H (project)
1972 Mercedes 250C (project)
Sex: Male

Re: Aluminium Polishing (at my place)

PostAuthor: Artie » Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:20 pm

Like I said, that's at my place, the fuel cap needs doing again but there aren't many marks on the other covers, the cutting compound takes the place of the finer grit finishing.

The point of the thread wasn't to show perfection, but to give those who haven't given this a go some guidance on what's involved.
User avatar
Artie
Senior Membership
Senior Membership
 
Posts: 411
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:51 am
Location: East Coast of Australia - Bateman's Bay New South Wales Flag
Bike year & model: 1981 xv750 virago x 4 (too many??)
1983 Ducati Pantah
1954 Triumph Speed Twin (sold)
Sex: Male

Re: Aluminium Polishing (at my place)

PostAuthor: chrismalm » Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:33 pm

Agreed. Bikes only need two mirrors. Polishing is an inexpensive (but labor intensive) way to make your bike stand out and it's the owner's choice as to the amount of labor to invest. I personally like a combination of satin or buffed finish and semi-gloss black. I once repaired a bike for a quick flip and roughed up the aluminum with 400 to show the prospective buyer the difference it makes and to let him finish it.
Cheers !
Chris Malm
User avatar
chrismalm
Mod
Mod
 
Posts: 1179
Images: 21
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: Laguna Hills, CA Flag
Bike year & model: 1982 XV750 (project)
1982 XZ550H
1982 XZ550H (project)
1972 Mercedes 250C (project)
Sex: Male

Re: Aluminium Polishing (at my place)

PostAuthor: Naspc » Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:23 pm

Love the write up. Any tips on the cylinder fins? :bg:
1982 Virago xv750 In progress
Rebuilt Carb with dyno jet kit and pilot jet enlarged with a #76 bit removed Currently running with a stock XV750 Carburetor.
Front End conversion: YZF R6, forks, woodcraft clip-ons D12 grips, throttle, brake and clutch levers done
Acewell 3915 speedo & tach: done
Starter: Box'O'Rocks - Dr. Virago Pete Fix done(still sound like crap)
4 brush starter: Arrowhead SMU0072 done
Air Box to Pod Conversion done
ACCEL Super Coil 140408BK & New Plug Wires with NGK Caps done
Autolite ap63 Spark Plugs done
Ballistic Lithium Ion Battery Evo2 12 done
Grounding Mod done
SirDocWolf 2nd Gen rear wheel conversion 150/90/15 done
BareBone Wiring Harness with Motogadget M-Unit, M-swithces and mini M-swithcesdone
Realm Ram Mono Shock done
This is my Experience:
Image
User avatar
Naspc
Jr Mod
Jr Mod
 
Posts: 1654
Images: 34
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:03 pm
Location: Harrison, New Jersey Flag
Bike year & model: Customized 1982 Virago XV750
Sex: Male

Re: Aluminium Polishing (at my place)

PostAuthor: Artie » Tue Oct 18, 2016 5:31 pm

Thanks, I can only think of the Dremel or similar??? They have grinding and polishing attachments.
User avatar
Artie
Senior Membership
Senior Membership
 
Posts: 411
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:51 am
Location: East Coast of Australia - Bateman's Bay New South Wales Flag
Bike year & model: 1981 xv750 virago x 4 (too many??)
1983 Ducati Pantah
1954 Triumph Speed Twin (sold)
Sex: Male

Re: Aluminium Polishing (at my place)

PostAuthor: Stobrien » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:04 am

Beautiful job

Stobrien
Junior Membership
Junior Membership
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:02 pm
Location: Calgary, Alberta Flag
Bike year & model: 1984 Xv750 virago
1985 Vmax
2003 Vmax
2012 Suzuki Bergman
Sex: Male

Re: Aluminium Polishing (at my place)

PostAuthor: Cusstout 1100 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:16 pm

I did the front fork legs for the project I'm working on. Starting with stripping the clear coat Yamaha puts on them. Followed with wet-sanding 400 to 2000 grit, then buffing with two different grades of compound, finished with a good chrome/metal polish . As stated above, much hand labour involved but here's a side by side comparison before and after.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
My Ride, '97 XV1100, +14, 10" over forks, progressive rear, Jardine forward controls, cobra slip-ons, K&N Filter, Dyno Jet Stage 1, Kuryakin grips, heat demon heaters, custom fabricated seat, chrome side covers, bullet signals, risers, custom modified rear fender with modified FZ1 tail light, sectioned and reversed front fender, custom paint...

Image

Cusstout 1100
Silver Membership
Silver Membership
 
Posts: 761
Images: 7
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:37 pm
  Flag
Bike year & model: 1997 xv1100 Virago
1987 xv535 Virago
1985 xv1000 Virago

Re: Aluminium Polishing (at my place)

PostAuthor: chrismalm » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:16 pm

The textbook correct procedure to produce a near-mirror finish and the results prove it.
:GJ:

I blame my complete lack of guitar skills on countless hours of hand-numbing wet sanding aluminum parts so I'm always interested in a shortcut.
Chris Malm
User avatar
chrismalm
Mod
Mod
 
Posts: 1179
Images: 21
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: Laguna Hills, CA Flag
Bike year & model: 1982 XV750 (project)
1982 XZ550H
1982 XZ550H (project)
1972 Mercedes 250C (project)
Sex: Male

Re: Aluminium Polishing (at my place)

PostAuthor: Peternieber » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:25 am

Thanks for a great write up,Artie,and the pics are the proof in the pudding,

Peternieber
Senior Membership
Senior Membership
 
Posts: 132
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:23 pm
Location: Derry,new hampshire Flag
Bike year & model: 1982 Yamaha viragoxv750j
Sex: Male

Re: Aluminium Polishing (at my place)

PostAuthor: Artie » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:27 am

Thanks guys, there really is no easy way...its laborious...but worth it in my opinion...nice job on the fork tube cusstout 1100!
User avatar
Artie
Senior Membership
Senior Membership
 
Posts: 411
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:51 am
Location: East Coast of Australia - Bateman's Bay New South Wales Flag
Bike year & model: 1981 xv750 virago x 4 (too many??)
1983 Ducati Pantah
1954 Triumph Speed Twin (sold)
Sex: Male

Re: Aluminium Polishing (at my place)

PostAuthor: Cusstout 1100 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:39 pm

Thanks Artie; and you've got it right! "A labour of love" comes to mind.
My Ride, '97 XV1100, +14, 10" over forks, progressive rear, Jardine forward controls, cobra slip-ons, K&N Filter, Dyno Jet Stage 1, Kuryakin grips, heat demon heaters, custom fabricated seat, chrome side covers, bullet signals, risers, custom modified rear fender with modified FZ1 tail light, sectioned and reversed front fender, custom paint...

Image

Cusstout 1100
Silver Membership
Silver Membership
 
Posts: 761
Images: 7
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:37 pm
  Flag
Bike year & model: 1997 xv1100 Virago
1987 xv535 Virago
1985 xv1000 Virago



Post a reply


  • Advertisement

Return to Motorcycle - Appearance and Detailing

Who is online

Registered users: Acethis, Baidu [Spider], fex1979, Google [Bot], grandavemoto, Majestic-12 [Bot], mlgower, tymck7, ViragoAndi, Yahoo [Bot]