FAQ's


How to Polish Aluminum FAQ's

 

1.  Where are you located?

Cornwall, ON. Canada


2.  Will your Kit work on my Pontoon, Fishing boat, small engine parts, car rims etc...

If it's indeed aluminum my kit will most definitely do the job. You will need to sand first 320, 400 and 600. Followed by a 2-3 step polishing process
Fastcut pad and 439t green compound from Menzerna. And finishing with a white untreated pad with 480blf blue from Menzerna. The your final step is clean and protection by hand with pro-40. All these products and required mounting come with my kit. As for a machine if you have no experience I recommend using an 849x 3500 rpm polisher by dewalt. To get the job done faster and if you have some grinder experience what I use on a daily basis is a 6000 rpm grinder from either Bosch or Dewalt.


3.  How can I get my tank shinny again?

Here's my Process:


4.  I've been polishing for years, what do you suggest I try?

Menzerna Bars are the best on the market, I suggest anyone new or experienced to Start there if you want to up your polishing game!  :)


5.  How many trucks can i polish with a kit?

It depends one what kind of truck you're working on and how bad the aluminum is.  A Peterbilt that hasn't been done in a few years for example has 1 Grill, 2 tanks, 2 boxes and air tanks, 6 rims so with some sanding you can easily do your truck with one kit and maybe enough to touch it up a few months later when it starts to oxidize.  On the other hand if you're working on an Internatrional it has only 2 tanks and 6 rims to polish so you could potentially get 3-4 trucks done.  Remember with Menzerna a little product goes a long way.

6.  When I polish it leaves lines or buffer marks, brown zebra lines

There's basically 3 major reasons why you're leaving lines, first could be the products/pads you're using, Second experience and third the speed your buffing at. With that said you need to remember that on big surfaces, you'll never get 100% of the lines/marks out you'll drive yourself insane if you try.  Also for some reason often on larger jobs the aluminum they use is made of different "blends" so one panel might be one grade and the other the mix will be a bit different and you'll get a difference end result VERY frustrating but it's all part of the Job.  So make sure you're using a white untreated or flannel wheel with 480blf Blue from Menzerna for your finishing compound.  3000 rpm polishers will always leave more lines then using a 6000 rpm grinder.  Here are some other reasons for getting lines when polishing,   Could also be that you went too fast meaning, each stroke you moved your buffer up too much leaving sander marks behind.  Also could be that your making too many side to side passed before putting more compound on, remember less product and more often gives a more even shine.  So that's a few things to look at and see what you need to do differently.  

Here's an example of lines or buffer marks


7.  Do you wet sand or dry sand?

I Dry sand.  There's no difference work wise aside from using water, dry imo is faster no need to keep spraying water and no need to clean up the water before you start polishing.


8.  What sand paper grits do you use when sanding?

This step In my opinion is the secret, the most important of all the steps.

The Depthness of the shine you will have will be in direct proportion to the sanding you do. So with that said… depending on how far, how much work and time you want to spend on sanding will determine how close to a perfect mirror your surface will become.

Choosing the grits: 95% of my jobs are done with 320 followed by 400 and finishing with 600. Some jobs will require a bit more work and time, Older and much more pitted surfaces will need to be sanded with 120-180 grit first, I very rarely go lower then 180 on aluminum it will just create more unwanted work and loss of time to get all the marks done by the harsher grit. So 180, followed by 320, 400 and finished with 600 grit ready for the polishing step.  I use a 5 inch sander but use 6 inch paper for a reason it's so when I do corners and stuff the paper folds up around the sander so I can get  the edges easier with no scratching from the sander.


9.  Not sure if my wheels are coated with Durabright, can I polish them?

Yes you can!
There is a few ways to find out if your rims are coated, number one just by the look you can tell there's a plastic coating most of the time, number 2 Durebrights (Alcoa) or Accusheild (Accuride) have black stickers... non-Durabrights have blue stickers
and the last way if your still not sure is grab some metal polish with a rag, rub a spot if it turns black there's no coating.

To remove it I use these with a 3000 rpm polisher.

10.  What do you charge to polish a truck?

Depends on what kind of truck, what year and last time polished.  here's a guideline of my pricing on my Services pages.

http://dcsupershinestore.com/collections/services

11.  Do you use acid?

NO!  Absolutely not.  On very rare occasions I will ask the customer to acid their diamond plate if it's very badly oxidized and pitted.  I don't carry acid in stock ever.


12.  What sander do you recommend?

5 Inch DA Dewalt - #D26451


13.  What polisher/grinder do you recommend?

6000 rpm Bosch 1893-6 9 inch grinder

or 6000 rpm Dewalt 28499X 7-9 inch angle grinder


14.  Do you polish stainless the same way you polish aluminum?

In Short, Yes!  but the sanding is a bit different.  Stainless is a much harder metal so A LOT more sanding is required.  often i'll use my 3000 rpm polisher for my first and second step, 180 and 320 then i'll switch to my DA do another run with 320, 400, 600 and then polish.  Polishing is basically the same just takes longer to cut so take your time.  Some guys like doing several "faster" cutting steps which also works.


15.  How long does it take to polish a truck, tank or rim?

Honestly that's a questions that the answer will be different for everyone.  Because of several reasons, experience, technique, products etc...  for a short answer from me.

Tanks 1-2 hours
Rims 5-20 mins for fronts/Steers
Rims 15 mins - 1 hour for rears/Drives
Trucks 4-12 hours

16.  Can you sand checker plate/diamond plate?

Again that's a loaded question, Yes but with the right technique.  I normally use my high strength buffing discs for prep if the diamond plate is bad.  then I'll sand with 400 grit holding my sander in an angle not to remove the diamonds.  then 2-3 step polish.


17.  Which compounds should I use?

hmmm...  Menzerna?

18.  How do I mount the flanges?

I'll be posting a video about this but for now here's a pic.


19.  My aluminum is badly pitted, what grit sand paper should I use?

I use 180, 320, 400 and 600.  if it's so bad that 180 is not cutting it I'll very rarely go down to 120.


20.  Do I need an adapter or extender to use your kit?

Nope!  I've been polishing for 20 years with no extender or adapters... EVER!  :)


21.  I received my kit and the safety sheets says not to exceed 3400rpm...

Mine say the same thing, they put that sticker for insurance purposes.


22.  Can wheels be sanded and or polished on the truck?

Yes I do it all the time!  For the back rims only do the outer part of the rim unless you can fit your machine inside on certain trucks if they have 24.5's and the hub isn't sticking out too much you can fit the machine in.


23.  How do I know when my wheel/pad if finished?

Basically when you start hitting the metal center plate.  :)


24.  Do you use a sealant after you polish?

Even though the 480blf Blue from Menzerna Provides great protection, I always use a good quality liquid polish as my last final step.


25.  I'm doing 5-8 steps why am i not getting your results?

There are many company's that will hate me for saying this, but there is absolutely no reason for 5-8 buffing/polishing steps.  it's a massive waste of time, product and money.  If you prep your surface properly by doing 2-4 sanding steps you won't only save time in your buffing/polishing stages but you will achieve a better clearer shine. If you're polishing at 3000-3500 rpm's sometimes 2 cutting steps are required for those with less experience.  At 6000 rpm 1 cutting step and 1 finishing step.  Keep it simple you will get above average results!!!


26.  How much pressure do you apply when polishing?

I'd say about 5-10lbs of pressure but I usually let the grinder's weight do the work.


27.  How fast do you move your grinder when you polish?

 

28.  What kind of sand paper do you use?

Aluminum oxide Sand paper, same stuff they use to do body work on cars.


29.  How long do your bars last?

This is another question that depends greatly on experience and how well you follow my instructions.  The 439T Green bar will out last 99% if not all of the competitions bars.  with Menzerna Little means more,  Applying very little more often will not only give you a more even clear deep shine but also make your compound last longer.  I can easily do 5+ trucks with one Green bar.  Same goes for the 480blf Blue bar, very little is needed.  I can do 30+ trucks with ONE bar.


30.  I scratched my tank or rim, can it be fixed?

Absolutely, Just follow the sanding steps, then use my kit to Polish it up.


31.  How many Polishing steps to you do?

2 steps: 1 Cutting and 1 Finishing. (if using a 3000 rpm polisher 2 cutting steps might be required)

Explaining this is very hard, it’s like reading about how to drive… you can’t really know until you do it yourself. The best tips I can give are first always polish in the direction of the grain of the aluminum. Second always start from the bottom and work your way up chasing that black product residue line, going side to side in a slow and even motion. I use 15 amp 6000 rpm Dewalt grinders they weight a little over 13 pounds so there’s no need for a lot of pressure, I’d say 5-10 lbs of pressure using less and less as you get to the top of the tank. Once the machine work is done. you want to use a liquid metal polish I use pro-40 and white diamond those are the 2 that I’ve found give the best finish and shine. always use cotton flannel sheets on tanks and flat surfaces any other surface plain cotton rags will work. again always work in the direction of the grain with an up and down motion, a good amount of pressure using a flat hand removing some of the fine scratches and marks left by the polishing process. If you drop your rag on the floor toss it and use a new one dirt is your biggest enemy when doing the final finish.

32.  How do you get in tight spots?

Depends on what i'm working on but I have 3 solutions, smaller buffing pad on a 3000 rpm polisher, on occasion for tank ends i'll use a wool pad on a 3000 rpm polisher and last elbow grease by hand!!!


33.  How do you polish the top of tanks?

Depends on what i'm working on but I have 3 solutions, smaller buffing pad on a 3000 rpm polisher, on occasion for tank ends i'll use a wool pad on a 3000 rpm polisher and last elbow grease by hand!!!


34.  How do I remove the black residue after polishing?

Sometimes if you don't do your cutting step properly (leaving sander marks) it'll leave some black behind... or if there's pits in the aluminum or in welds same thing will happen.  Just clean it up with some liquid metal polish mixed with some Varsol/Mineral Spirits about 75/25 mix, it should fix it up.

 

35.  How Often Should I be using the rake?

As for using the rake in the cutting step honesty it doesn't matter much I just use the rake when the pad gets caked up you can tell buy the edge getting hard.  In the finishing step is where the rake plays a key role in minimizing the buffing lines you will leave behind so every 2-4 passes use the rake.  For the amount of compound to use always remember with Menzerna a little goes a long way I touch the bar for about a second or less and do 2-4 passes I usually work with 18-24 inch wide area.

 

36.  How long will the shine last?

To be honest it all depends on how you maintain it after it's polished.  If you do nothing it'll last a few months.  Washing it every week or everytime it goes out will make a massive difference.  Using some metal polish by hand every 1-2 months will keep the shine up also.  Now this is more for trucks that take a bit more of abuse. If you're truck or trailer sits a lot it will last longer, and less maintenance will be needed.

 

37.  Is your system easy for someone who has never polished before?

I sell hundreds of kits a year to people that have never polished before, the only question I ask is, are you handy with power tools...  Grinders mainly!  If you are use/get a 6000 rpm grinder like me, if not try using a 3500 849X Dewalt to start.  The 6000 can be humbling for beginners.  Aside from that you follow the steps, with my kit you will get great results.



 
Business Related
 
1.  Do you sell kits for business start-ups?

Yes i do!  
Just either contact me via facebook messaging or email here: dcsupershine@gmail.com


2.  What should I charge my customers?

Pricing is a little tricky because it depends on a few things.
First where you live can have an impact on what you should be charging.
If there's competition around find out what they are charging. Start from there, if you're new at the business and you work isn't perfect yet you can charge a little less then the competition. Once your work is where you want it to be, you can charge the same or more as the competition. Hope that makes senses. if you don't have or know any polishers around you can use my prices as a guide line (note: I'm from Canada)
here's my website link for my services.
http://dcsupershinestore.com/collections/services
there's always jobs out there that are different or hard to price in those cases I charge per hour. At that point it's basically, what is your time worth?  And go from there.  I charge min $75 an hour if I work alone if my employees are with me it's $125+
Hope this helps