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View Full Version : Upping the "Bling" part 1



savarin
10-04-2010, 02:58 AM
This is a re-post from my old web site and possibly from the old forum.

When building re-cycled bicycles of any description we often go to great lengths to ensure the final product is pleasing to the eye.
Sometimes itís the little things that make a huge difference so we buy new ones to create that finished shiny appearance.
I haven't done the costings but it is possible to clean and polish even heavily corroded components for very little outlay.
For only one bike it may not be that cost effective if you have to purchase all the equipment but if you only have one item such as an electric drill then it becomes much more affordable and many dollars can be saved.

Tools required

1 A bench grinder, the more powerful the better.There are many ultra cheap Chinese imports available but some of them are very wimpy. It is possible to stop the less powerful machines with the pressure used in polishing which is why a more powerful machine is better so get the most powerful you can afford.

2 Two canvas, linen or denim buffing wheels.Make sure they are stitched around from the centre out to keep the layers from separating. I prefer a rough sisal buff for the Tripoli compound as its more agressive

3 One tapered end spindle for the shaft of the grinder, they come in left and right hand threads. In practice one is sufficient, as you will have to wash the parts between polishing compounds so no time is saved by using a buff at each end.

4 Tripoli cutting compound. This is used to remove sanding marks.

5 Red Rouge polishing compound. I leave this step out as I've never found it necessary but it can improve the final finish.

6 White Rouge polishing compound. This is the final compound that gives the ultra diamond bright shine. All three of these compounds can be found in lapidary or jewelry suppliers (check the yellow pages) if they are unavailable in your local hardware store. Australians will find them in Bunnings.

7 Assorted sheets of emery cloth, from medium to ultra fine, ie. 200 to 1600 grit.You may have to change to wet and dry sanding paper for the really fine stuff. Just use what is available.

8 Although not entirely necessary a wire wheel brush is a fast way of removing corrosion or rust first.

9 A face mask and goggles are essential safety equipment. A lot of dust and black crud will be produced and you do not want it in your eyes or lungs.

METHOD for soft metals such as copper, brass, gold, silver and aluminium

We will start with this horrible looking handlebar stem.If the original parts were anodised then this has to come off as well. Caustic soda solution (DANGER, BURNS FLESH) will do the job but easyoff (or similar) oven cleaner is a tad safer. Both methods are messy
http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s258/savarin48/polishing/dirty-stemL.jpg

Use the wire wheel on a drill or the bench grinder (I use a drill press) to remove all the paint, corrosion and other blemishes. Be careful on aluminium, as the wires will leave deep grooves which you can see in the picture if kept in one position for too long. If no wire wheel is available then use coarse emery cloth which in all honesty will do a better job but take longer.
http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s258/savarin48/polishing/brushed-stemL.jpg

The next bit is heaps of elbow grease. Go down through the grades of emery cloth from the coarsest to finest sanding till all the blemishes from the previous grade have been removed. Deep gouges are not possible to remove but most other damage is.Heavy damage can sometimes be removed with gentle filing but be careful not to make the problem worse.When moving down through the grades try to go in different directions, ie first grade sanded north/south, second grade sanded east/west.This helps to prevent deepening any scratches present.This is the stem after finished sanding. It could have done with a bit more work.
http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s258/savarin48/polishing/sanded-stemL.jpg

Once you are satisfied that all the scratches have been sanded out and you have finished by using the very finest paper it is time to start with the polishing compounds.

savarin
10-04-2010, 03:07 AM
Mark the buffs one with an R for rouge and the other with a T for Tripoli and donít mix them up. Store them in a zip-lock bag when not in use to prevent contamination.This photo is showing two cotton buffs but I now use a sisal (rough) buff for the Tripoli.
http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s258/savarin48/polishing/buffsL.jpg

WARNING. ONLY WORK ON THE BOTTOM OF THE WHEEL AT APPROX 7 Ė 8 OCLOCK POSITION WITH IT SPINNING FROM THE TOP DOWNWARDS TOWARDS YOU. This prevents the wheel grabbing the item and slinging it back at you. If it grabs when on the bottom of the wheel it slings it away from you. The first time the buff grabs the item out of your hand and flings it away you will need to change your underwear. BE VERY CAREFUL. I made a box structure from ply to stop too much dust from being slung around but this does make it a little more awkward but grabbed items cant go far.
http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s258/savarin48/polishing/buffingL.jpg

Start with the Tripoli. Screw the buff onto the spindle, get is spinning and scuff it with a piece of metal making sure you follow the warning above. If a soft buff is wanted then slit some of the stitching before hand. For our purposes I find a firm buff is better. Turn off the machine and when the wheel stops set fire to all the loose threads you have generated.This is to remove any threads that may catch your fingers. DO NOT TURN THE WHEEL BACK ON TILL ALL THE EMBERS HAVE DIED OUT ELSE YOU WILL RE-IGNITE THEM INTO A WONDERFUL SPINNING WHEEL OF FIRE. You will have to do this whenever the buff wears down and leaves loose threads.

savarin
10-04-2010, 03:20 AM
Now to charge the wheel with the Tripoli.
Once its spinning press the block of wax (Tripoli) to the wheel till it picks some up. Now press the item to be polished against the wheel.
The picture above is the tripoli buff in operation, you can just start to see the change in brightness of the polish.
Tripoli is a very fine abrasive, finer than the very fine emery so it will produce a sort of polish. Recharge the wheel as necessary to keep polishing. Keep moving the part being polished to prevent polishing grooves into the metal. Once you are satisfied that all the sanding marks are gone its time to change wheels. Pack the buff away in a sealed plastic bag with the block of Tripoli. Wash the item just polished to remove every trace of Tripoli from both the item and your now black hands. And probably everywhere else on your body. I find the best cleaner is laundry detergent but its very aggressive to some hands.

Once every thing is dry place the rouge buff on the machine and go through the same process as for the Tripoli. Charge the wheel with the block of rouge and away you go.Here is the final polished handlebar stem. I must admit that I should have sanded a bit more before polishing but its still heaps better than the corroded black original item.With both buffs the maximum polish seems to be generated as the wheel is slowed by the pressure applied. Just donít let it stop the wheel completely.

Here is a typical brake arm after heaps of off road duty. Well ugly
http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s258/savarin48/polishing/dirty-brakeL.jpg

The exact same brakes after a bit of TLC as outlined above
http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s258/savarin48/polishing/polished-brakesL.jpg

The fat crank arm is straight out of the box, brand new, the other took 30 mins to sand and 15 mins each with the Tripoli then rouge. The photo does not do full justice to the shine. The new crank arm is slightly duller then the fresh polished repaired one. I for one think its well worth while to put the effort in and considering how beaten up the chain ring was I am most impressed with the outcome even though it could be even better with a bit more work. The biggest problem with doing all this is that you will find heaps of other things that would look better with just a little bit of polish.
http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s258/savarin48/polishing/chainringL.jpg

Is all this work worthwhile? I believe so and the more effort put into the sanding process the better the final outcome.
Have fun.

Odd Man Out
10-04-2010, 10:41 AM
Good Stuff Savarin;

O King of Bling

Richie Rich
10-06-2010, 11:56 PM
The World needs more 'BLING'...!!!

Nice job, Sav....Thanks.

---> RR <---
.

Dave X10
10-08-2010, 12:33 AM
Very nice!!! Makes me think... I have parts that could look much nicer.

vrooom3440
10-08-2010, 06:39 PM
One tip that goes along with this: never understimate the power of wet sanding! Using fine grit paper with water cuts much faster than without.

fultondp
10-08-2010, 06:53 PM
What's the word on media blasting? I've seen the cabinets and guns at HF and thought it might be the way to quickly cleanup old parts but I don't want to invest in more tools if it just going to end up being a big pain. Opinions and experience?

-- darren

PeterT
10-08-2010, 07:34 PM
What's the word on media blasting? I've seen the cabinets and guns at HF and thought it might be the way to quickly cleanup old parts but I don't want to invest in more tools if it just going to end up being a big pain. Opinions and experience?

-- darren

Think heavy corrosion prior to blasting, no corrosion after blasting!

PeterT

savarin
10-08-2010, 09:06 PM
Another good method is tumble polishing.
The best is a vibratory tumbler but they are expensive.
The next is a barrel tumbler.
A simple almost no cost way is to hang a car tyre on a thick plywood disk thats fixed to a shaft so that as the shaft turns it then turns the tyre.
Fill the bottom of the tyre with your parts, abrasive, water, some detergent (Dawn) and other media (depending upon the job this could be stainless shot of differing shapes and sizes or crushed nut shells) and get turning just fast enough so the load climbs up the inside of the tyre then tumbles back down over itself.
Too fast and they travel round the tyre, too slow and they just slide at the bottom.
Use a different tyre for each grade of media.
Not really worth it unless you have a lot of parts to do but you could get your kids into stone polishing as a hobby without much investment in hard cash then add your parts to their stuff.
This is not a fast method, more like load, run, forget for a while and do something constructive.
(keep the water topped up)

savarin
10-08-2010, 09:10 PM
What's the word on media blasting? I've seen the cabinets and guns at HF and thought it might be the way to quickly cleanup old parts but I don't want to invest in more tools if it just going to end up being a big pain. Opinions and experience?

-- darren

Thats the method I will be eventually using.
I have the guns and compressor just have to build the cabinet.
The amount of destruction depends upon the media used.
Coarse sand - lots, glass beads - less
Glass beads produce that lovely soft matt finish on aluminium.
It does leave an excellent surface to paint as the slight roughness produces an excellent key for the primer.

graucho
10-08-2010, 11:57 PM
Great tips! I wish I had the buffing disks on hand so I could try it.

socialtalker
10-09-2010, 02:40 PM
thanks for tutorial!

Trike Lover
09-02-2011, 08:05 PM
Another good method is tumble polishing.
The best is a vibratory tumbler but they are expensive.
The next is a barrel tumbler.
A simple almost no cost way is to hang a car tyre on a thick plywood disk thats fixed to a shaft so that as the shaft turns it then turns the tyre.
Fill the bottom of the tyre with your parts, abrasive, water, some detergent (Dawn) and other media (depending upon the job this could be stainless shot of differing shapes and sizes or crushed nut shells) and get turning just fast enough so the load climbs up the inside of the tyre then tumbles back down over itself.
Too fast and they travel round the tyre, too slow and they just slide at the bottom.
Use a different tyre for each grade of media.
Not really worth it unless you have a lot of parts to do but you could get your kids into stone polishing as a hobby without much investment in hard cash then add your parts to their stuff.
This is not a fast method, more like load, run, forget for a while and do something constructive.
(keep the water topped up)

I made a very large tumbler for cleaning/polishing brass shell casings using an old Maytag clothes dryer....kind of noisy, though

savarin
12-07-2011, 08:53 AM
Just a quick re-visit to polishing.
I expect there are some newcomers who may not have read the full article.

Now I have powdercoated the repaired low rider I found I coulnt use the original tarnished/rusty nuts and bolts so I'm replacing them with stainless steel.
Hey! looks mean everything:cheesy:
The problem with most stainless fastners is that they are "chunky" and a bit dull.
No problemo, I know how to polish, now what about the chunky looks?
Easy, poor mans lathe in action again, sand off some of the bolt head and contour it.

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s258/savarin48/recumbent%20finished/drill-sander-P.jpg

Just dont take too much off the corners else the spanner will slip.
Here are some I did earlier, two nuts in the middle are as purchased.
The small 5mm bolts have been slimmed, contoured and polished, the large 10mm bolt has been considerably slimmed down from the original. This one was done to provide clearance for the centre stand spring. The rear acorn 10mm nut is the as purchased look.

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s258/savarin48/recumbent%20finished/nuts-bolts-P.jpg

The 5mm in place along with 8mm acorns on the head clamp.

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s258/savarin48/recumbent%20finished/front-fork-P.jpg
Now back to the rebuild.