How to get a mirror finish on aluminum

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awerby

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I'm of the opinion that if it's truly a better product, its beauty will shine forth. I'm not talking about superficial surface treatments, but the object - or theorem or theory's inner logic showing itself for what it is.

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty,"--that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

John Keats
 

adolfgalland

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I'm of the opinion that if it's truly a better product, its beauty will shine forth. I'm not talking about superficial surface treatments, but the object - or theorem or theory's inner logic showing itself for what it is.

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty,"--that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

John Keats
While on the subject of aluminum finishes does anyone know of any mild chemical solution that will change the color or texture of the finish. I have found that using the water and alum solution that guys use to remove a small broken tap will affect some grades of aluminum. I enjoy making miniature auto valve covers and like the results I got but found out that some grades aren't affected like others. The 3 valve covers all went through the same procedure but all turned out different with the big block chevy staying shiny, the 409 darkening a fair amount and the Boss 429 darkening some and getting a very noticeable change in texture which I like. Gary
 

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Badhippie

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Rocket man
It’s called eye candy and is as old as dirt. This is what every used salesman use to sell anything used. This even applies to women from the beginning of time it’s called makeup for them. With good eye candy a lot of things are overlooked
 

dsage

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Glass bead blasting can give anything from a coarse to satin finish depending on the grade media. The result (best I can tell) looks pretty much like what you show.
 

Drawfiler

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I glue the polishing cloth to a wooden board, wet and dry in grades down to about 800 grade and then use emery cloth for the last bit, I rub in the same direction for each grade.
final finish is with Brilliant Polish also used with a piece of cloth on a board but finally by hand.
if the job is small the paper can be stuck to a piece of hardwood stick used like a file but larger work is moved over the board
this is a slow job you must remove all previous marks before proceeding to next grade of paper, lubricate with WD40 or paraffin and wipe the work and wet and dry paper with disposable paper wipes using them only once.
After lots of work you get a super finish with no ripples.
 

dsage

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A tip I can offer for aluminum is:
After you go through all the grits suggested (which all leave scratches of some sort) use steel wool in 0000 grade (very very fine). Steel wool "shaves" the surface and does not leave scratches like the papers. You'll notice a much better shine right away. And then follow with your polish best applied with a buffing machine of some sort. I've found hand buffing not very effective and tiresome.

I agree with the comments above to sand with a flat board or something under your paper. If you sand by hand you are likely to round over edges and your fingers will likely distort the flat surface.
 
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