RCU Forums

RCU Forums (http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/)
-   Tips & Techniques (http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/tips-techniques-180/)
-   -   Polishing an aluminum spinner (http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/tips-techniques-180/11338205-polishing-aluminum-spinner.html)

grosbeak 12-20-2012 06:49 AM

Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
Because there were a few stains and scratches on the aluminum spinner of my recently acquired airplane I decided it could use some polishing. I found few references, the most useful of which was a nine year old thread on RCU: How to polish an aluminum spinner?

For the first round I tried a product mentioned in the thread: Flitz. The tube was $12.99 at my local Home Hardware, but it doesn't take much.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8061/8...5d887bb4_z.jpg

I figured I would polish it until the black oxidization stopped coming off. Half a roll of paper towel and 45 minutes later:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8059/8...4dcaf077_z.jpg

Okay, so apparently you can't get all of the oxidation off. Another entry mentioned the instructions on the Tru Turn website. I post the instructions with a caveat: If you care about good writing like I do, this is going to be like nails on a blackboard: #29 Do you Polish Spinners?

I got some wet/dry sandpaper in 320, 400 and 600 grit and secured the backplate with some wire I had lying around.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8484/8...e9a4fda4_z.jpg

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8477/8...af662604_z.jpg

grosbeak 12-20-2012 06:52 AM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
fter the 320:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8069/8...6d9aa39a_z.jpg

After the 400:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8344/8...a8d8dbfa_z.jpg

After the 600:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8057/8...636570cc_z.jpg

After re-polishing with Flitz:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8501/8...cc4f25d8_z.jpg

At this point the finish was duller than when I had started and I began to worry than I had done some irreparable damage. I tried chucking the spinner in my drill press for more polishing but that didn't work well so I won't go into more detail. I figured I had nothing to lose and decided to try power polishing next.

grosbeak 12-20-2012 06:53 AM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
For power polishing I found an excellent resource from Caswell: How To Buff And Polish. All of the supplies were at my local Princess Auto:

6" spiral-sewn buffing wheel (x 1)
6" loose cotton buffing wheel (x 3)
4 oz. Polishing compound, Brown Tripoli (x 1)
4 oz. Polishing compound, White Diamond (x 1)
4 oz. Polishing compound, Blue (x 1)
4 oz. Polishing compound, Jeweler's Rouge (x 1)

I mounted the spiral-sewn wheel and one of the loose cotton wheels on my bench grinder; the Brown Tripoli compound went on the former and the White Diamond on the latter.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8349/8...3f9e20ba_z.jpg

Afterwards:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8484/8...3a9b0104_z.jpg

The next step were the blue and the Jeweler's Rouge compounds, both onto new loose cotton wheels.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8348/8...ae0bd639_z.jpg

Now, Caswell says the rouge is the finer of the two so I started with the blue and moved to the rouge. I took another look at the packages, however, and the compound manufacturer shows the blue to be the finest. So I finished with the blue. The final result:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8340/8...b03b72c4_z.jpg

.....

Reflections (pun intended) on the polishing process:

The Flitz method:
Good results and, once you realize that all of the oxidation can never come off, fairly quick. At $12.99, Definitely the cheapest.

The Tru-Turn method:
Poor instructions and results to match. About $15 in sandpaper - and you still need the Flitz.

The power polishing method:
Quick and easy. The most expensive, though, at about $45. And that's if you already have a grinder.

In conclusion, I'd recommend the Flitz, at least to start with. Lots of folks recommend Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish so that's certainly an alternative. I'm not sorry I tried all three methods - I sure learned a lot and hopefully some of it will be helpful to others.

jaka 12-20-2012 07:24 AM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
Hi!
You used way way to coarse sandpaper to begin with! 1200 or finer like 2000-2500 grit. And using a electric polishing wheel is recomended too
Then use only linen cloth when polishing by hand ! Not paper towels!!

LesUyeda 12-20-2012 07:48 AM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
From my past motorcycle rebuilding days; a stuff by Happich, called Simichrome Polish. Works just great, and very little quantity and effort necessary. Dont't know what the cost is, but I got some more very recently, so it is still available.

Les

bogbeagle 12-20-2012 08:41 AM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
They look great, when polished.

I do mine on a buffing machine, like grosbeak's ...only takes a few minutes ... costs next-to-nowt, just a bit of polishing compound.


You can find manky spinners at swap-meets. Blokes sell them cheap, 'cos they look so dull.

But, with the magic of electricity and the cotton buffing-wheel ...

dignlivn 12-20-2012 09:44 AM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 





I use 0000 steel wool,jewelers rouge and an old
T shirt (cotton).


Bob

PatternPilot 12-20-2012 02:52 PM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
I always take my tru-turn spinners and polish them either with Flitz and a old golf shirt...paper towels just do not work.... As one stated you started out with to coarse of grit... I polish leading edges ( bright work) on multi million dollar corporate jets and if i have to remove scratches , start at 1000 and go to 2500 , then on to paste and then hand buff. Don't use a power buffer that often and you have to watch out for static build up.

For quick cleaning and polishing we use on the plane http://www.zephyrpro40.com/s2/Script...?idCategory=77 this product works so good we only do a complete break down of the leading edges once every 6 months.

It also works great on the RC spinner...

s

LSP972 12-21-2012 04:56 AM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 

Quote:

ORIGINAL: a stuff by Happich, called Simichrome Polish.
The thinking man's Brasso. Once I discovered that stuff, getting my uniform ready each day became a lot less hassle.

Now that I think about it, I bought a new tube just before an unexpected transfer into plain clothes... where I finished up. I think I wore the blues twice between 1999 and 2008 when retired. So that tube should still be full...

Yup, just found it. Cool; forgot all about it. Lots of uses for this stuff.

.

raptureboy 12-21-2012 07:58 AM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
Nice tutorial, but $15 for sand paper? find an old fashioned hardware store that sells it by the sheet instead of the box. I buy just what I need in those odd grits that you use only once in a while.The electric starter mess's up the spinner anyway so I don't get to concerned if I can't shave in it.http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/js/f...ey/msn/lol.gifMerry Christmas all.

grosbeak 12-21-2012 11:33 AM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 

Quote:

ORIGINAL: raptureboy

Nice tutorial, but $15 for sand paper? find an old fashioned hardware store that sells it by the sheet instead of the box. I buy just what I need in those odd grits that you use only once in a while.The electric starter mess's up the spinner anyway so I don't get to concerned if I can't shave in it.[img][/img] Merry Christmas all.
Yeah, 15 bucks for sandpaper!

3M sandpaper, 5 sheets to the package. Probably the last time I'll ever have to buy it. Seems perfectly reasonable to me. And I won't be using an electric starter either.

vicman 12-21-2012 01:40 PM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
Simichrome is the stuff! I have used it for years.
It works the best for high luster when used with pure cotton. Note. most cotton balls are not cotton. I use first aid pads.

As far as buffing aluminium you can use bobbing compund from Gesswien on a wheel and get very close to simichrome. Much brighter than any of the other rouges and it sticks to the wheel very good.

grosbeak 12-21-2012 05:36 PM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
After lots of feedback from the forums on which this topic was started, I decided to try a fourth method using much finer sandpaper and Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish instead of Flitz.

At my local Canadian Tire I found 1000, 1500, 2000 and 3000 grit sandpaper and the Mothers polish. With a pair of Nitrile gloves, some soapy water and some polishing towels I was ready to go.

After the 1000 grit:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8352/8...df53d366_z.jpg

After the 1500:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8491/8...8f1449b3_z.jpg

The 2000:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8353/8...8e9e924c_z.jpg

The 3000:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8504/8...4dcf7aa2_z.jpg

grosbeak 12-21-2012 05:48 PM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
With the sanding done it was time for the Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish. I read the instructions carefully.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8084/8...f8077e71_z.jpg

After the first polish:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8491/8...3452cd1f_z.jpg

After the second:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8357/8...d65c5f0d_z.jpg

I'm not sure if there's merit to polishing it more than once or twice - opinions are welcome. In both cases the terrycloth towel came away black and I buffed the polished area with a microfibre cloth, going over it repeatedly with a new spot on the cloth each time until the black no longer appeared.

So...

The fine sandpaper and Mothers polish method
This took a little over an hour and gave the best results of all. Approximately $17 for the sandpaper and $9 for the jar of polish.

ZAGNUT 01-16-2013 10:57 PM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
fiberglass insulation and WD-40 will take you from 400 grit to a polish like in the last pic very quickly and at zero cost. if you don't have a quick source for the insulation just punch a hole in your garage wall...

LesUyeda 01-17-2013 07:46 AM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
"if you don't have a quick source for the insulation just punch a hole in your garage wall... "

Unless you live in Southern California, in a house that was built in the early "60s. They didn't even put walls on the inside, let alone insulate anything.

Les

Flyin Beagle 01-17-2013 09:51 AM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
Thanks for the test results. The next question that needs to be answered is...

Are there any products you can apply to the spinner after to keep the shine, that will also resist finger prints. I have tried turtle wax and it was OK, but I hope someone knows a great way to keep the shine without having to constantly repolish.

Thanks

foodstick 01-17-2013 10:35 AM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
I just wanted to add, I had been over on youtube watching people do crazy things...when I first saw your post I was thinking I hope this guy isn't polishing the spinner ON THE PLANE WHILE ITS RUNNING A PROP !

I was relieved to see you weren't ;)

I wouldn't put it past some of those youtube people though !

LesUyeda 01-18-2013 07:44 AM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
"but I hope someone knows a great way to keep the shine without having to constantly repolish. "

Keep you fingers off of it. Fingers have a nasty acid that does a job on just about anything.

Les

ZAGNUT 01-18-2013 07:50 AM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
i use "honeywax" on aluminium to keep it shiny longer and on iron/steel that i don't want covered in oil. it's a mold release agent so any composites place should have it. far better than any of the crap sold for cars like turtle wax.

jester_s1 01-21-2013 08:07 PM

RE: Polishing an aluminum spinner
 
FYI, that black stuff on your rags isn't oxidation. It's actual aluminum that's coming off with the abrasive action of the polish. You'll never get to the point where it doesn't come off.

For a protectant, I'd think some of the tougher clear coats would be just the thing. That's what they do to the high polish wheels for cars to keep them bright. If you want to pursue it I'd check with a body shop and ask if they'd hit your spinner with what's left in the sprayer after doing a urethane clear coat on a car.


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:03 AM.