Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum


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dtherren
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Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby dtherren » Thu May 20, 2010 7:55 am



Just so you know, I am giving up trade secrets here that are used in a variety of fabrication shops. No big deal. Just so you know this method is tried and tested previously for the best results. This will be difficult for me to explain in print, so bear with me while I attempt to do so. This will be rather long also. Please don’t criticize my writing (or lack of) writing skills….

As always when working with machines, use all the necessary safety gear. Safety glasses, gloves, and even a face shield. Big jobs such as this



everything about you will be black, or whatever color wax you are using before you are done.

When you are done you should have a finish that looks like the diamond plate on my Wing,



or like the set of wheels I polished for a friend. One of these is a new wheel, the others I polished. Which one is the new wheel?



When you are done, the desired finish should produce near mirror images of any reflections.

The most important step in the process is the final cleanup so I will start with that. Others may have their own way of doing this, but this is what works best for me with less effort involved. When you are done, if properly cared for, this shine will last up to a year.

You can do touchup by hand if necessary with this: http://bluemagicusa.com/index.php/blue_ ... cream_jar/
just remember, a little bit of this goes a long way. Wipe on, buff with soft cloth, and wipe off.

The second most important fact is if the finished metal gets wet by washing it or by rain, do not let the water stand on the finish and dry. Like any finish after wet, it will spot and after it is dry it is hard to remove the water spots. Just take a shammy or soft cloth and wipe it down.

The method I use to polish aluminum of any kind will work on stainless, copper and other metals. With the Aluminum, because it is soft, no matter what kind, the key is wiping off the polish and shining it. If you do not have a very soft cloth, non abrasive cloth, you will put fine scratches back into the finish before you are done.

When you are done, there will be remains of wax on the product that will need to be cleaned off.
When I am done polishing with the machine, use paint thinner to wipe the remaining polish off. The thinner dissolves the wax, and smears it everywhere, but no pressure is required to wipe it off. Once all the polish is off, I use a paste wax such as Turtle wax with the applicator that comes with the wax to remove the glaze left by the thinner.

The Turtle wax will only be effective with the final cut with the fine grit rouge. Any other grit and the wax will dull the finish somewhat. The Turtle wax also helps protect the final finish as it does paint.

The next important step is this must be done with a high speed machine. The combination of the speed (which creates heat) and the jewelers rouge is the only way to get this done. This will not work by hand or with a high speed drill.

Ok, you’re bored already….

You will need a high speed hand machine. A variable speed machine will work as long as the high speed is at least 10,000 RPM. Slower machines will work to some degree, but not like the high speed. You will not get the desired finish with a slower machine.

You will need 2 or 3 buffing wheels depending on the amount of steps involved in the process. If the metal is in bad shape, you will need to do at least a 2 step process. It saves time on each cut by doing it in steps.

You will need to change pads on the machine with each process as the pad will hold wax from the previous process and will not be as effective. You may need to cut across the grain at some point, but remember to do final cut with each polish with the grain of the metal. The cutting wheels are available in different grit as well as the polish. They are coded by color. The darkest being the course cut and the white being the fine or final cut.

The cutting wheels are available a various places. Some truck shops, or truck stops carry these supplies but you will pay a higher price for them and look like this: http://www.zephyrpro40.com/s2/Scripts/prodList.asp?idCategory=78

The same with the Jewelers rouge and look like this: http://www.widgetsupply.com/page/WS/PROD/jeweler-rouge/XUP2-4ROUGE. It is also coded by color by cut.

One other thing you need to know is that when cutting with the high speed machine, be prepared to hold on tight. I do not use the handle on mine as the handle gets in the way of freedom of movement. I use a good pair of leather gloves while buffing to save my hands and fingers and to be able to hold onto the machine as it gets rather hot while cutting. You will need to flip, turn, or reverse direction with the machine as you polish.

You may also burn up an older machine during this process. I have burnt the bearings out of 2 or 3 over the years. You may also set the buffing pad on fire during this process.

If you let the wheel get to close to an edge, or angle change of what you are polishing, be prepared to hold on to the machine. It will want to walk or jump the direction the wheel is turning. Sometimes after I am done or during the process my hands want to start cramping up on me from holding the machine. I guess that is because I am old….

Now you are really bored, huh?

Now as far as the actual polishing, along with polishing with the grain, you will push wax with the machine. That is normal. You will need to keep the pad loaded with wax as you polish. You will see the difference in the finish as the polish wears thin and at that point, reload the pad with polish.

Apply the wax by hand with the bar, or place the bar on the ground and put you foot on it and touch the machine to the bar to load the pad. Either way, it will want to throw the bar wax in the direction of the spinning wheel, so hold on to it.

Working in 4 to 6 inch areas, overlapping as necessary, move the machine back and forth slowly, left or right applying pressure or reducing pressure as needed keeping track of how many times you went over an area to produce the desired effect.

Keeping the pad loaded also helps with removal of wax while polishing. If at some point you will need to clean the pad, just use a file, or something coarse such as a brick to clean it. Then reload the pad with clean polish.

All the available grit of rouge is fairly simple to use with the exception of the final cut with the white rouge. The white is the one you will need to keep the pad loaded with clean wax and keep the pad clean of old dirty wax.

This has been edited several times for detail, and I think I have covered the necessary points. Just remember, the cleanup process as being the most important and to use soft, non abrasive cloth for cleanup. In the beginning, pick an area to be free with movement of the machine to get used to how it will handle before you start on smaller areas. Especially smaller areas near any painted surfaces.

If you have any questions, ask, or send me an IM.


Last edited by dtherren on Thu May 20, 2010 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby WingAdmin » Thu May 20, 2010 9:35 am

Excellent information!

I look enviously at people whose bikes gleam and shine...I can never find the time to sit down and detail my bike. If I have the time, I'd rather be out riding it. :)

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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby Rockywing » Fri May 21, 2010 2:06 pm

This reminds me of the late sixties when I owned a Bridgestone 175. One winter I tore the engine apart and polished all the aluminum: cases, side covers over cards, etc. I polished everything using rubbing compound and single speed drill motor with a buffing pad. Final polish was by hand using a metal polish that I think was called Simichrome. Everything was mirror finish when I was done! I wish I was young and had that kind of time again!

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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby musinger » Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:11 am

Over winter my aluminum gets kinda crappy looking by getting white crosion stuff on it, what causes this and how to prevent this from happing again over winter hear in Wisconsin, These are the engine covers which I polished to a high shine.

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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:36 am

musinger wrote:Over winter my aluminum gets kinda crappy looking by getting white crosion stuff on it, what causes this and how to prevent this from happing again over winter hear in Wisconsin, These are the engine covers which I polished to a high shine.


You already said what the cause is: corrosion. When steel corrodes, it turns brown. When aluminum corrodes, it turns white. You can try coating it in a sealant of some sort; I would have a look at some auto stores to see if they sell anything that would work, and would be able to withstand the heat.

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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby MJSantos » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:32 pm

One thing I'm going to try this winter is to use vegatable oil. I used it two years ago on my Planner/Joiner. The cast bed does not have paint and I didn't want a petro based oil because of it transfering on to the wood. Haven't seen any rust whatsoever. Might start early and polish an old aluminum pot and see what the effect might be.

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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby MJSantos » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:21 pm

Talking with my cousin last night and he put me on to a product from Alcoa. It's a sealant that you spray on let it set for a few minutes then rinse off. He swears by it. Uses it on his trucks and says the they still look like the day he polished them six months ago. Looks like it's $13.00 for a 16oz bottle. Might be just the ticket for winter storage.

http://www.alcoa.com/alcoawheels/north_ ... atalog.pdf

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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby Mona » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:29 am

Man, what a lot of work! I have a trike with tons of diamond plate. I have found a product called Flitz. It's so darn easy, a litle bit goes a long way. Wipe on and wipe off. Buff a little to get a glowing shine like a mirror. You can find it at www.flitz.com. Great stuff. I just buy the big tube. One tube lasts me over a year!!

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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby mortiki » Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:07 pm

Not into the polishing yet but have found a way to keep whatever shine you have on any metal. It even helps keep rain water from causing spotting. I keep a few bottles of Turtle wax chrome polish and rust remover. I do trucks and body panels with turtle wax paste so I tried this stuff for truck chrome and Johnny and it still shins like new even after setting outside all summer. Every 2 months I run water hose over truck chrome and Johnny and comes back new look.
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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby joekrugg » Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:02 pm

I can't wait to try it . :roll:
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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby Missourimike » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:24 am

It takes a lot of work to get metal bright and very little time to get it back to looking "not so bright". Wax will work for awhile, but keep in mind that "real" wax will absorb moisture. Remember Grandma scoulding folks for not using coasters on the wood?
But I've come across a product made for the military, to keep their metal corrosion-free, especially in salt water conditions. It's called "Sharkhide". Anyone used it? Brush or spray-it on and the shine lasts for years. Every couple of years, reapply the coating.

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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby b4u » Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:22 pm

This "sharkhide" polish you spoke of is nothing more than a weak battery acid. I buy it at auto parts stores to use on my boat, but I wouldn't use it on my Wing!! It only cost about $20 a gal and it's mixed 3 to 1. Any stronger and it would eat the metal up. It can only stay on for 3 minutes and has to be completely washed off, very important!! If you want the name of it, drop me a line and I'll go outside, get the name of it and post it. The Fitz paste polish is the best I've used. Turtle wax washes off after a few washes. There is nothing on the market today that stays on very long. So stop fooling yourself about lasting protection and put some elbow-grease into cleaning up your bike if you want it to shine, or else just ride a dirty bike!

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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby themainviking » Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:33 am

b4u wrote:put some elbow-grease into cleaning up your bike if you want it to shine, or else just ride a dirty bike!


Yup... that's me. I bought it to ride it, not to polish it. S-100 cycle cleaner once or twice a year and ride it till the wheels fall off. My work on keeping it shiny involves wiping the water off with a chamois. The tupperware parts get a spray and wipe of Unscented Pledge.
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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby Missourimike » Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:53 am

I don't know what this "weak battery acid" is nor where on a boat that b4u uses it. Aluminum cleaner maybe? The acid often used for cleaning aluminum is hydrofluoric acid, not battery acid, in many aluminum "cleaners". But be VERY careful when using any cleaner that has hydrofluoric acid in it. This acid is readily absorbed into the skin and goes straight to the bones. It eats calcium.
The Sharkhide I spoke of earlier is NOT a cleaner. It is used to protect bare metal that has already been cleaned or polished.

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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby b4u » Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:56 pm

OK, my mistake for not reading your article closer. The stuff I was talking about is Aluma Brite. It's not new on the market, but it does contain Sulfuric Acid. It DOES a great job cleaning my pontoon boat, but you have to follow directions carefully. I use it on my boat, but not on my Trike because of the paint. I'm sure it would remove it!!

By the way, I'm ordering the product you suggested as soon as I hit send today. Thanks for the suggestion.

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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby Sawdust62 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:39 pm

There's another product that I've used on my '82 Honda CB900C. It's called NOXON and comes in a green bottle. I've only found it at Ace Hardware. It works great at polishing chrome and will remove any pitting or corrosion. I started detailing my 99 Aspencade with it and was amazed at how it removed pitting. My mufflers look almost new. A little elbow grease and you can shine aluminum to make it look like stainless steel. Maybe not mirror finish, but shiny enough to catch second glances.
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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby 6ft10ona1100 » Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:59 pm

You Guys are all smarter than me. But I have figured out that regular house hold Aluminum foil that I use for baked potatoes etc. is softer than any chrome or aluminum on my bike. I use a small ball of it with Blue Magic polish to clean any rust of stains on all metal parts on my bike. No, there are no scratches no swirls. Doesn't work so good on painted or plastic parts, but for all things metal it's great. Try it you'll like it. Elbow grease? I don't need no stinking elbow grease! I've got Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaains!!!! sorry too many adult beverages. :lol:

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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby spiralout » Wed Jul 15, 2015 11:30 pm

6ft10ona1100 wrote:You Guys are all smarter than me. But I have figured out that regular house hold Aluminum foil that I use for baked potatoes etc. is softer than any chrome or aluminum on my bike. I use a small ball of it with Blue Magic polish to clean any rust of stains on all metal parts on my bike. No, there are no scratches no swirls. Doesn't work so good on painted or plastic parts, but for all things metal it's great. Try it you'll like it. Elbow grease? I don't need no stinking elbow grease! I've got Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaains!!!! sorry too many adult beverages. :lol:

+1 on the aluminum foil. It works well for cleaning the inside of the carb vacuum caps on the 4 cyl wings, too.

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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:09 am

Yup, a crumpled up ball of aluminum foil is great for removing tiny rust spots on chrome as well.

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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby gazzar » Mon Aug 31, 2015 5:15 am

I polishes some .............. and engraves a bit.



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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby GUOPING » Sat Jan 23, 2016 11:02 pm

gazzar wrote:I polishes some .............. and engraves a bit.
004 (730x800).jpg

001 (800x591).jpg

009 (800x600).jpg

007 (800x600).jpg
tell me! How did you do that? I want to learn! Thank you ~

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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby gazzar » Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:48 am

http://nswbandits.forumotion.net/t4482- ... arts#57061

Above is a link to a post ( How to polish) if clicking on it doesn't work just copy and paste ................... hope it helps.

Regards ............................... Garry
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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby gazzar » Sun Jan 24, 2016 8:14 am

And heres the last bit of info for ya GUOPING .................... check this link.

http://ozboulevards.com/index.php?threa ... duct.7697/

Cheers .......................... Garry.
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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby Diego1967 » Sun May 01, 2016 7:15 pm

what works best for the aluminum wheels and side covers?

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Re: Polishing Diamond Plate or Aluminum

Postby gazzar » Sun May 01, 2016 8:08 pm

Diego if there already shinny just buff'em with the last 2 compounds , if not follow the link
http://nswbandits.forumotion.net/t4482- ... arts#57061 cut'n'paste


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