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Thread: Polished aluminum. What ar my options?

  1. #1
    Project Engineer CCR5600Design's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Central USA

    Polished aluminum. What ar my options?

    Hey folks,

    I have been reading through my Ryerson-Tull stocklist, familiarizing myself with qualities of aluminum. Although RT lists qualities of formability, corrosion resistance and tensile strength, it doesn't list which grades are best suited for polishing. I am looking for aluminum sheet that can be easily polished to a high luster. Strength is not much of a concern, as this project is a decorative cap.

    Do any of you have experience with this?



  2. #2
    Associate Engineer
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    NE IL/WI
    Unless you're getting into alloys, Al is fairly easy to buff to a high luster with rouge and a buffing wheel. However, it does oxidize fairly easily and gets dull.
    I'd suggest you use a polymer coating to lock in the finish.
    (I've even used hairspray on little parts ... until I can use polyeurethane or the like)

  3. #3
    Technical Fellow
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    I have polished a lot of aluminum and I have the 2-HP buffer from hell to prove it, along with permanent dings and chipped finger and hand bones from metal ripped from my hands and returned at high speed mere fractions of a second later. Here, catch this!!

    The harder alloys (60..) seem to hold the shine better than the softer ones as I suspect they oxidize more slowly. Just a guess mind you. Depending on your application, a hand polish with a good silicone car "mag" wheel polish will fare better than a hard coating. You can clear anodize them and ask the anodizer not to etch before processing. Have them use only solvent base for cleaning.

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