Polishing Aluminum To a Satin Finish

Polishing a snowmobile tunnel here

I won't say that this is the only way to polish aluminum, nor did I take it to the mirror state.  But I did clean these shocks up rather nicely with minimal work.  Enjoy!

 

What I started with.  These were some HPG rebuildable shocks.  They come painted, but the paint is really poor on them, most the paint is missing in action after a rebuild or two.

I did develop a color to match the HPG paint if anyone wants it.  I just decided to be a bit different here.  I'll polish them!

  The Famous before shot compared to after!  
  c7 shocks  

 

Products that I used along with a 3 inch DA Sander. 
c7 shocks

First step is to clean and degrease the metal to be polished.

Sanded with 240 grit to get most of the scratches etc out.  Sanded with 320 to refine the 240 grit scratches.  Note, the 240 grit scratches must be eliminated. Sanded with 400 to refine the 320 grit scratches.  Note, the 320 grit scratches must be eliminated. Sanded with 600 grit to refine the 400 grit scratches.  Note the 400 grit scratches must be eliminated.
c7 240 grit c7 320 grit c7 400 grit c7 600 grit

 

I then just used some Waterborne wax and grease remover with the gray scuff pad and quickly hand sanded the shock to give it a fresh look.  Some use WD40, I don't like using it in my shop.  WD40 can cause fisheyes.
c7 shock finished

 

 

Tips

The most important tip, is not to try to "jump" to far with each grit.  The next step needs to be able to remove the coarser grit scratch.

A direct drive sander without any orbital action will remove imperfections better, but this is what I had, and it did what I wanted.

Sanding from opposite directions can help you see when you have removed the previous grit better.

Enjoy!

 

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