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Quick Polishing Guide 

 

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 Post subject: Quick Polishing Guide
Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 3:32 pm 
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Quick Polishing Guide
How to polish metal without any special tools

One of the cheapest ways to dress up your engine bay a bit would have to be polishing.
Since a lot of people don't know how to do this or think they may not have the tools to do so I thought I'd just make a quick guide to show that ANYBODY can do this stuff with a bit of patience.

I started with an EF-EL top thermostat housing, and no tools were required to do this.

For the 'best' results you will need the following wet & dry sandpaper grades.
Something rough: 80 or 120
Something a little smoother: 240, 320 or 400
Something very smooth: 800 or 1200.

For this guide, just to show it can be done cheaply and relatively quickly for 'alright' results I just used 180, 320, 800 and 1200.

I used 'Autosol' metal polish to provide the final polished finish. Thsi can be found at most automotive stores.

Straight after purchase:
ImageImage

I would have ideally started with something like 80 grit to level the surface and get rid of the 'pits' but I ran out so I just used 180. It is important to keep the water up to the sandpaper, so I used a spray bottle to do this.
Keep working at it until the surface is smooth and free of any pitting, casting marks or deep sratches.
ImageImage

Move up to the next grade and keep working until none of the scratches left by the previous grade are visible.
ImageImage

As you reach the higher grades you will start to notice the object becoming much smoother and shinier (these were taken after sanding with 800).
ImageImage

These are the results after sanding with 1200, if you wish you can move on to 2000 grit for an even better finish, or you may begin using the metal polish.
Note even at this late stage the object doesn't look all that impressive, it won't be until the metal polish is used that it will come up nicely.
ImageImage

After a couple of goes applying the autosol and then buffing with a clean cloth the object will finally become shiny and refelctive.
ImageImage

I didn't spend a lot of time at the beginning getting rid of the 'pits' so some of these are still visible. If you want the object to be perfect you have to spend a bit of time with a lower grade getting rid of these marks.

Anyway, hope this helps a few of you out. You can do this to just about any metal object in your engine bay such as your rocker cover or intake manifold. be warned although achievable without any tools it will take some time! The finished product is usually well worth it though! :D

Note: This is a guide to help show you how to do this with out the aid of ANY tools.
If you want to make life easier, using tools such as a dremel, sander or flap wheel can make life a lot easier!

 

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Last edited by voxace on Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 3:58 pm 
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s**t mate - looks good! how much time did it take ya? i assume it'd be a job sitting in front of the TV for a few nites?

 

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Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 4:01 pm 
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thats absolutely awesome!
i think i know what i'm doing with my rocker cover now. might take a while, but i reckon it'd look pretty schmick!!!

 

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Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 4:07 pm 
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Yeah rocker covers take a while! :lol:
It took me a couple of hours to get the thermostat housing to where it is. I'm just putting it on the car now actually.

 

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Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 4:09 pm 
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hmmm... i can get my grubby hands on a spare intake manifold... might be worth making the engine bay all nice & clean! :P

 

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Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 4:11 pm 
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Wonder how long to polish a powerdyne..... :idea:

That looks great voxace. something to think about....

 

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Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 4:27 pm 
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certainly does look different .. I never realised .. that's probably the best thing (doco wise) posted here for ages!

 

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Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 5:09 pm 
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4.9 your supercharger would look sweet polished!!!

Anyways, here it is on the car:

Image

 

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Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 5:14 pm 
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not to be rude, but i did my t/b, thermostat housing, few other bits and bobs too.

going the way you did you REALLY went the long way and it will not provide a fantastic finish as you said..

theres a few ways, using that many sandpapers would just be annoyin (annoying to even read for me!)

u need 3 grades of paper. 180 Dry / 320 Wet / 400 Wet. These 3 grades alone will get the job done. step 2 is basically buff with a cutting compound follow with polishing compound.. and step 3 is seal it (dont use clear coat) best to use is carbarbu wax or think it was meguars step 3 its called, althoguh u will have to do it every once in a while. [180 gets rid of the hard scratches/roughness etc, 320 wet smoothens the roughness you did with the 180 and the 400 clears it up a bit more and smoothens it finally again]

you want to use some buffing wheels and metal polishing bars/compounds with the different buffing wheels to do it all. [compound tripoli i think it was and emery for a deeper cut]

theres steps for the polishing, ask some metal polishing or look on google for the compound/buffing wheel steps .. firm wheel to a soft buffin wheel with soft compound called moulin something rather .. cant remember anymore

do not however use 600 grit or whatever as you'll not smoothen it more you'll just make it hazey and worse then ever.

Image

Image

Image

although the t/b got more work done and came out a bit better..


Just a quick run down, but remember if you want the best results obviously take it to a professioanl because by no means unless your really good as this or have the professional tools you still wont get an amazing result like the pro's..

Hope that sheds a bit more light ..
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Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 5:17 pm 
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note: chrome does attract heat! forgot to mention that! :P
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Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 5:20 pm 
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Nah that's cool was always wonderin how you did yours.

BTW, I based my guide more on the idea that you could head to supercheap pick up some sandpaper and autosol and your ready to go no tools at all and it'll only cost you a few dollars.

Buffing wheels and all those other compounds, I wouldn't have a clue where to get???

 

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Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 6:15 pm 
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That look mad as a finished product... and heaps cheaper than taking it to a pro. I mean for a show car it might be worth it but for guys like me who have no money but still want basic stuff to make my engine bay look cleaner its sweet.

 

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Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 6:39 pm 
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voxace wrote:
Nah that's cool was always wonderin how you did yours.

BTW, I based my guide more on the idea that you could head to supercheap pick up some sandpaper and autosol and your ready to go no tools at all and it'll only cost you a few dollars.

Buffing wheels and all those other compounds, I wouldn't have a clue where to get???


vox, i just never got around to bother saying how becaus ei couldnt be assed LOL no other reason :p

you can buy it in hardware stores, sometimes bunnings but not all stock the bufffing stuff. i got mine from bunnings and thrifty link i think ..

but yeah, doing it either or way from myself of voxers is a cheaper alternative.. my engine bay currently unfinished looks alrightish .. getting there tho!
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Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 7:28 pm 
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Hey vox mate, good on ya mate great idea for people short of cash but still want to tinkle with there car. Mate ure rocker cover is a shiner

 

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Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:12 pm 
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nice work; i did a bit of my stuff; but not to thsat extent yet; didnt have time lol!
One day ill try n get them shiney; altho really clean looking it good enough for me now.

Love the looks of what you did their vox; and rapier too - did it a while ago now.

Top work; kind of given me the bug again lol.

 

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