January 13, 2008

Polishing Aluminum

A few months back, I spent a lot of time sanding the outer dome.  The spinning process creates lines the run along the whole dome, and I needed to sand these out to match the look I was going for.  I started with 320 grit sandpaper to remove most of the lines.  I then sanded the whole thing with varying higher grits, eventually giving me a dull polished look.  In the end, I had wet-sanded the whole thing with 1200 grit sandpaper I ordered from McMaster-Carr.  While this finish matched the painted fiberglass domes used in Episode I, it did not match the factory shine of the bottom ring. I wanted to polish it up just a bit... but ended up with an almost mirror-like finish!  In just a few hours, I had gone from a dull look to a great shine.  All I used was a small container of Mothers Aluminum polish and some shop rags.  Just add a small amount of the white polish and spread in small circles.  A black residue will form, and you just wipe it away to reveal a great polish.