M109 Rider Forums banner
1 - 20 of 99 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
187 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last weekend, I took almost everything off the handlebars. Then, realized that if I wanted to remove the master cylinder, I needed to drain the brake fluid. Done. So, now I have all these pieces of aluminum.



So, I applied some chemical stripper to remove the finish. Learned that latex gloves offer no protection from this type of chemical. Ouch. :redfaced: :evil:

Looked back at the bike with no horns and decided to do the forks, triple tree and wheels. So I ordered that special tool from Directline. In the meantime, I decided to document the polishing of one of the pieces.



So, here is my step by step of aluminum polishing. There are other methods, but this works for me. I'll let the photos speak for themselves. Sorry for the blurred ones.

I started with 150, then 220 grit. Why so low? Some gouges, scratches and imperfections can only be smoothed out with lower grits. You can always sand out the marks left by lower grits, despite what you might have read.

After sanding with 150, then 220:



For those who jump to the polishing wheel after 320 grit, you will get different results. You will get a high shine with the buffer, but not the reflectivity of a truly level surface. IMO, leveling the surface can only be done by going through the sanding grits, step by step. I think of the reflection of a mirror. It must be smooth as glass... Think of how reflective a pond is on a day with no wind. The flatter the better.

After 400 grit. All wetsanded from here on. Soak your paper in buckets of warm soapy water (soap acts as a lubricant) and use smaller pieces for smaller parts like this. Rinse often to eliminate particles that will scratch your work:



After 800 grit:



After 1000 grit, then 1500 grit:



Finally 2000 grit:



Benchtop buffer (but on the floor today), loose sewn 6" wheel and just a white stick. No need for brown or black sticks for aluminum that has been sanded to this level. This part took about 5 minutes max. It was the easiest step.



The next step cleans up the residual gunk from the buffing wheel. Otherwise, clean with cheap rubbing alcohol.

Mothers Billet Polish. Use clean cotton toweling a pea-sized smear of polish. Two applications. Hand buffed. Black is good. Be as aggressive as you want.



Patience is a virtue and necessary to get aluminum to shine like this.
I use Klasse AIO to give a little sealant to the surface. I touch up with Klasse (Meguiar's NXT is a decent substitute) every 4 months and this shine will last indefinitely.



Side by side, before and after:



Side by side, before and after. Note the strawberry reflection. I wish I could get clearer shots:



Another angle:



So, on to the rest of the parts.

I am thankful for my garage heater.

Boz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,599 Posts
nice job on polishing and nice pictures!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
768 Posts
Thats alot of work. Nice job though!

I removed everything form my bars last week and sent them to the polishing shop. Hope they come back looking as good as yours!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,984 Posts
Nice job! It's very rewarding to step back and see that shine. It makes all the time/effort worth it. :bigthumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
187 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the compliments. I still wish I could get better photos of this lever. I might post the finished pieces later on. I really would not recommend this as an easy way to polish up your parts. While I love the results, I think my post shows that it is tedious and time consuming.

I could never do this for a living. As much time as I take doing it, I would do better selling Chicklets. It is really one of those "hey I did it myself" things that gives a sense of pride. If I bought it and stuck it on, well, anyone could do that. What I didn't mention is that much of the time, I have to re-do a piece if I missed a spot. So, go back to a lower grit and repeat.

As much as there is a process to doing this, it is still a bit of an art. So I get to play artist too.

I agree with MichiganM109's comment: "I don't have that kind of time." Yes. Neither do I. Especially in the warm months. But in the dead of winter, less to do outside, my business is slow this time, so Jan. and Feb. are my work-on-the-bike months.

I just hope I finish by March.. I love this stuff.

Thanks again.

Boz
 

·
Radio Active Member
2007 Candy Sonoma Red
Joined
·
23,045 Posts
Great job and super illustrations Boz! :bigthumbsup: :bigthumbsup:

I love doing this stuff, but it does get tiring really quick. And I learned early on to wear eye protection and a dust mask when using the buffer. They produce an amazing amount of dust and cloth fiber, the really find stuff that later ends up in your eyes and nose.

But it is very rewarding. My wife probably gets tired of me running in and showing her what I just polished. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
917 Posts
Zoom said:
Great job and super illustrations Boz! :bigthumbsup: :bigthumbsup:

I love doing this stuff, but it does get tiring really quick. And I learned early on to wear eye protection and a dust mask when using the buffer. They produce an amazing amount of dust and cloth fiber, the really find stuff that later ends up in your eyes and nose.

But it is very rewarding. My wife probably gets tired of me running in and showing her what I just polished. :D
:bigthumbsup: :bigthumbsup: :bigthumbsup: The dust off of the wheel gets everywhere...and it's a lot of work, but it is rewarding, and my wife still "acts" likes she cares when I bring in the latest polished piece.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,046 Posts
Lots of work to make them shine and then more work to keep them looking like that. My last bike was all chromed out and what a pain to keep it looking good. No extra bling for me. I just painted all my stuff black.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,343 Posts
If you want your bike to look a step above the rest then you need to be willing to spend some time and money on doing so....

Very nice polishing job... I'm doing some polishing this winter as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,939 Posts
Most excellent job Sir! :bigthumbsup:

I have been working way too much overtime lately. I completely missed this post

cheers and thanx for the good pics...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,044 Posts
Very nice. Taking pride in the work is really a big part of it.

I wouldn't mind devoting the time, but I just do not have the expertise nor the tools, equipment, or proper facility. Wish I did, but I don't. One of my goals for the future is creating a garage with the capacity to facilitate learning how to do these kind of things.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
682 Posts
What's your plans with getting the ridges out of the forks. I have mine tore off right now also and am contiplating sending them to a local polisher that has done stuff for me in the past. But I would rather save the money.
Rick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
187 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
i8yr5_0 said:
What's your plans with getting the ridges out of the forks. I have mine tore off right now also and am contiplating sending them to a local polisher that has done stuff for me in the past. But I would rather save the money.
Rick
First - thanks for all the compliments. The main tool required for this is your fingers. If you get the piece smoothed up to 2000 grit, you can get great results with the Mothers Billet polish by hand.

Rick - Funny you should ask. My forks are sitting on the table and I don't know how I am going to get rid of the ridges either. My first thought is some 60 grit and an orbital sander. Then 100 -150 -220 and so on.. I made a few hard strokes with 150 grit paper and the fork just laughed at me. :D The potential for gouging the aluminum means I will probably not use an angle grinder.

Boz
 

·
Radio Active Member
2007 Candy Sonoma Red
Joined
·
23,045 Posts
I thought I mentioned this somewhere, but with CRS I may have only imagined it. :D

Take a strip of sandpaper about 1" wide and 12" long. The longer the better. Wrap it around the fork and seesaw it back and forth, while moving it up and down the forks. It takes time, but you can get it even. It's hard to use a sander on a round tube without creating flat spots.

I'm going to try something on mine that I did on my old Sportster, except it should be a little easier on this one. I bought a couple different grits of small sanding belts, those that are about 3/4" wide by 24" long that are used on detail sanders. I chucked up a sanding drum in my drill, slipped the sanding belt over the fork and over the drum, and turned on the drill. It's a little difficult keeping the belt on the drum and moving it up and down the fork, so I may add a hub to the sanding drum to help hold it on. And try a shorter belt if I can find it. You could do this by using the 3" x 21" belts and ripping them into strips, and at least get the ridges off.
 
1 - 20 of 99 Posts
Top