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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is a general guideline to get you started on DIY polishing parts on the Fury or anything for that matter. I don't claim to know everything so if you have any tips or trick or just don't agree with something please feel free to post it. You should know right away that polishing can be a time consuming and dirty process but the payoff can be great, if you are expecting great results with little work this is not for you.


SAFETY:
First and foremost lets take care of safety, a polished bike does you no good if you are in the hospital. You will be working with power tools so eye protection is a must but dont try to cut corners and use sunglasses, go get some impact rated safety glasses. Next on the list is a good dust mask, polishing produces very fine black dust and it doesnt taste good when it comes back through your sinuses. I am going to also recommend ear plugs when running power tools for a extended period of time, they also help keep that dust out of your ears. Unless you just like getting dirty I would say to wear a OLD long sleeve shirt and gloves, this is optional but your clothes, arms and hands will be covered in black before you know it. That should cover the safety aspect of the job, remember that the only person responsible for your safety is you.


TOOLS AND MATERIALS:
You are going to need a few items to get started polishing, some you may have and some you probably don't if this is your first time.

1. My main tool for polishing is a high speed reversible corded drill. I stay away from cordless drills becasue they lack the speed and endurance for this type of job. If you are going to purchase a drill for this I would recommend getting one with a key less chuck that is covered in plastic/rubber, the teeth on a keyed chuck or any metal exposed on the chuck can chew up aluminum really fast. A way around this if you have a keyed chuck is once you mount your polishing wheel in the chuck, just wrap the chuck with a good layer of black electrical tape. I personally use a DeWalt drill and have had good luck with it. A air powered die grinder can be used in place of the drill if you have a large compressor and dont mind the noise.

This is pretty mush the model I use, you can see the knurled metal ring at the bottom, I have mine wrapped in tape.


2. There are many different versions of buffing wheels out there in various sizes, the job you do will determine what you need. There are four main types of wheels for polishing; sisal, spiral sewn, loose sewn and canton. Sisal is made for fast cutting of metals with more aggressive compounds, this is something you would start with if you have a rough surface or heavy corrosion. Spiral sewn, which I use a lot, is course buffing and can be used with aggressive and finishing compounds. Loose sewn is for finer buffing and is used with finishing compounds. Canton is a finishing wheel for very fine buffing and is used with the finest finishing compounds for final buffing or also called "coloring". For drill mount 2"-6" wheels are a good size, larger then 6" are usually for bench mount buffers. Don't forget to get a arbor to mount the wheels to the drill if they are not made on the wheel. I mainly use spiral sewn wheels for most general polishing, I sometimes finish with a loose sewn and have not had a chance to try a canton yet. The Eastwood company has a great selection of buffing wheels, compounds and arbors, I will post some links a little bit later.



3. Compounds are what do all the work in polishing. There are various compounds for polishing depending on that hardness of metal you are working on, there is even one for plastic. When polishing aluminum there are three to four compounds that are normally used; *black emery*, brown tripoli, white rouge and red jewelers rouge. The black is a very course compound for removing very deep scratches and smoothing rough metal, *this is mean stuff and should be used very carefully or not at all on aluminum unless very experienced*. Brown Tripoli or just Tripoli is still a course compound and usually the most aggressive you want to go on aluminum, it will remove most scratches and heavy oxidation and should still be used carefully. White rouge is the work horse on aluminum, it is a finer compound and will give a very good shine but will still remove light scratches and oxidation with a little work, this is the compound I use the most. Red jewelers rouge is the finishing compound, it is used after the white for "coloring" purposes to obtain the mirror like shine.



4. A flat screwdriver or hack saw blade or anything with a square edge on it. You will need this for removing compound built up and metal impurities from the buffing wheel.

5. Cleans clothes such as microfiber and cotton diaper clothes work really good for wiping down the parts for inspection. Terry cloth towels can scratch the highly polished aluminum so the are not recommend for finish work.

6. *OPTIONAL BUT RECOMMENDED* A metal sealer/protector can be applied when finished to help retain the finish for the longest period of time. Well know products with good reviews are Zoop Seal and Sharkhide. Pure carnuba wax and some cream metal polishes that have a small amount of wax in them can be uses to protect the finish as well but will have to be re-applied more often.


THE POLISHING PROCESS:
Once you have determined what part you want to polish it is time to get to work. If your part is painted you might want to strip or sand away the paint first but most paint can be removed with brown or white compounds, If the part is sand cast or has a rough finish sanding will probably be required. When sanding it is best to start with a course grit such as 200 and work you way up to at least 1000 grit before moving to compounds. Brown Tripoli will remove scratches of 220 grit but you run the risk of having a wavy finish since most of the cutting will be done with the buffing wheel. The smoother the surface the better the results will be so take your time. Once you have the surface to your liking it is time to start polishing with the buffing wheels and compound. Usually white rouge on a spiral sewn wheels is a great combination to start with. Mount the wheel to the arbor, if not made together, and chuck it up in the drill or die grinder. To apply the compound to the wheel simply get the buffing wheel spinning and touch the stick of compound to the buffing wheel for a few seconds and friction will do the rest. You want to get a good amount of compound on the wheel but too much will not really help/hurt you, you just have to get the feel for it. Choose a starting point on the part, I usually start on on edge, and begin polishing the part with even strokes. If you polish one spot at a time your finish will be wavy or have dips in it so try to move over the part evenly. You may or may not see instant results depending on the surface but don't give up because your time and work will be rewarded with a high shine eventually. After polishing the part for a while, wipe the part down and inspect it. If you see course scratches from sanding you may want to go over the part again with a finer grit sand paper to remove the scratches. Keep up the process of polishing and inspecting until you achieve the finish you desire or close to it. Don't forget to periodically clean the buffing wheel while polishing by running it against the screwdriver or hacksaw blade or such kind of object. If you are happy with the finish just apply some wax/sealer/protectant with a soft cloth and sit back and admire your work. If you are looking for that little bit extra then you still have a little bit more work to do. Mount a loose sewn or canton wheel in the drill and switch to the red jewelers rouge. Never apply two compound with the same wheel, you will always get the result of the courser compound. Again start polishing the part with the new wheel/compound combo and you should notice the finish to become more mirror like, continue the polish/inspect process till you are satisfied. As always, the more time you spend on polishing the better the results will be.



That should get you start in the polishing game so get out there and get to it and dont forget the before and after pictures. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
TIPS AND TRICKS:
Most hardware stores carry buffing wheels and compounds.

Use a sharpie to mark which polishing compound is on what wheel.

Brown and red compounds are really close in color and very different in cutting ability, make sure you grab the right one.

A hacksaw blade mounted in a vice is a good way to clean the buffing wheel.

If you are approaching the edge of the part you might want to reverse the direction of the drill (depending on which way you are going) so the wheel won't grab the edge causing the drill to kick.

There is no need to press down hard with the wheel, it will not make it work any faster and only make you more tired.

EDIT: 1-17-2011

I bought a 6" 1/2 hp bench top buffer from Harbor Freight today. It was $50 with a 2 yr. replace on site option for $10 more and I must say it seems to be pretty good for the money. I have only used it for a hour or so but it makes polishing small parts a lot easier.





LINKS:
Eastwood Buffing Kit
This kit comes with various wheels, felt cones and compounds and is a good kit to get started with. More kit selections can be found HERE.

Eastwood Buffing Wheels
If you need a wheel, they should have it on this page.

Eastwood Buffing Compounds
This is the page for compounds, look around and read the descriptions and you will find other compounds for polishing plastic or removing chrome bluing and many other things.

Buffing Accessories
The page for arbors, sealers and various other products.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
FORK POLISHING:

I did get a start on polishing the forks today and I can tell you a few things. I dont think the forks are straight aluminum, they seem to be a harder alloy. White will take off the coating with some work but brown on a spiral sewn wheel does the job a lot better. To get a super smooth surface it looks like there will be some sanding involved with fine grit sandpaper but the forks can look good without this step. (see pics below) In order to get all the areas on the forks, front fender a wheel removal will be required.


I hurt my shoulder some how in the last few days so I didnt get crazy polishing today, here are some pics of one fork tube with the front half about 3/4 finished in the polishing process. It is cloudy and raining here and my lens kept fogging up so the pictures could be better.



Update 8-15-10

I dropped the front wheel and wet sanded the fork tube starting with 400 then went to 600 then to 1000 grit. After that I buffed with white on a spiral sewn wheel and finished it with red on a loose sewn. The results are just what I was hoping for but I have to do the other side now. :D



Update 8-16-10

I finished the other side up tonight. It involves a little more work becasue of the extra mounting spots but it turned out just as good as the other side.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
SMALL PARTS:

UPDATE: 1-17-2011

I started on the switch housing tonight. I am using the new bench top buffer only, no sanding involved with these so far. Started with brown Tripoli on a spiral sewn wheel to take down the roughness and then moved onto a spiral wheel with white then finished with a loose wheel and red. The top halfs are going to be easy since they are pretty smooth but I might have to get out the dremel with some small wheels to get into some places on the bottom halves.

Top half is polished and the bottom is still factory finish...

 

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Reserved for Mental.:)

Listen to Big John-He knows his stuff.
LISTEN and READ his SAFETY SECTION.
I also recommend goggles and mask- gloves, earplugs, old clothes, old shoes. You are polishing aluminum and creating a fine aluminum dust, down to single digit microns, which can LODGE in your LUNGS and getting in EYES will SCRATCH them. It is best to do outside, because that dust will settle, and every time you walk by, back in the air,so you don't want that in garage. Or use a fan. Another reason, the remains of compound and dust goes everywhere, and I mean everywhere! Cover your bike well, if doing on bike. If you are doing flat areas of rim on bike, hook up a small electric motor with a pulley, mount on 2X wood stock and weigh down, place pulley against tire, and spin, spin.

You will be black, head to toe, and please take off your shoes before entering your house, or you will be doing carpet cleaning next weekend!!! And every thing you touch will be black!

If you are doing lower forks, OK, if you are doing flat parts of rim, OK, if you plan on doing spokes and flat areas on two rims, PLAN ON 2-3- days of dirty work. It is not hard, but time consuming, and tedious.

Get the right wheels, cotton, no wool, right compounds to get it done in best possible time. Also do some research on the INTERNET.

Eastwood Auto Supply is a good supplier, beware of knock offs- yes, they make that in polishing compounds to.

Caswell Electroplating is another, they have a hourglass shaped polishing wheel designed for pipe
Use this for finally polishing and also when you are removing Bluing from exhaust with Blue Job, no hard scrubbing required. Also a very good tutorial, parts and supplies. They have the most interesting stuff there!

To remove excess black from rim, tools, or some thing you touched, sprinkle with baking flower and wipe with rag.

Do not use Mothers Metal Polish on polished surfaces, it has anhyd chemicals, and will cloud finish.

But Read Big Johns POST! He is experienced and posts good directions.
 

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Yes John, they are an alloy for strength, and have some carbon in them and have been annealed. You are getting there John. You will probably end up being able to read 1/4 inch letters sharply in them when finished. Do you think, that without removing wheel, just fender, you could finish inside areas with a dremmel and or a flex shaft in a drill with small polish wheel? After you do white are you going to do red, polished with a Canton Flannel and then India ink, or just more white from where you are now?

PS I have an idea, just got to go find it. YES!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I plan on pulling the front wheel really soon and finishing them up. The crazy hot weather and crazy work hours hasnt left me much time or desire to finish them right now.
 

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http://www.zoopseal.com/

Once you guys do this, or any aluminum for that matter, you need to invest in some Zoopseal. It is a bit pricey but it does what it advertises. Once you get your parts polished to the shine you like, you seal it and it stays that shiney for up to 2 yrs according to maker. I've used it on some new aluminum wheels on my trans am about a yr ago and still haven't needed to polish them. I just clean them with a cotton cloth and some PH neutral car soap and it's all good. They still look almost as shiney as chrome!

1. The best place to buy it is summit. A few things you need know though is the big kit comes with enough to treat 48 car wheels according to them. I don't see how but that's what they say.

2. The application is a bit tedious. It consists of a few steps with a drying time in between but no special tools or harsh chemicals to deal with.

3. It's a bit pricey at $100 for the master kit that includes everything you would need. It would be best if you could buddy up with a few people to offset the cost cause your gonna have enough for quite a few bikes!

4. It does have a shelf life of about 1 year after opened.

I know that sounds like a pain in the ass but i swear by this stuff! It is well worth it in the time your gonna save not repolishing your parts every other week after they oxidize!

ZoopSeal Aluminim Sealer
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks a lot, I am VERY pleased with the results. I cant wait to get the other side to match. I am thinking about doing the rotor and caliper while I have it apart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I finished the other side tonight and I must say that the results are very nice. I think I might have to polish the rotor while I have it off...

 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Wow... having second thoughts about the chrome now... GOOD JOB BigJohn!
Thanks a lot RSS, I am getting the polishing bug again which is good for my wallet but not so good for my girlfriend. :eek:

My mind is going wild with things I am probably going to polish next. Switch housings, kick stand maybe, wheels have crossed my mind but I will probably just chrome them, I have something planned for the calipers that I think will turn out pretty nice.
 
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