Monday, 5 February 2018

Metal Surface Polishing

It is important to be able to recognise the different metal finishes used as some OEM use different materials (stainless steel, polished chrome and etc) before choosing a product to clean or polish any metal surface you must be certain of the material used, as the correct care product requirements are vastly different. If in doubt as to the material used consult the manufacturer
· Aluminum alloys- aluminium is the predominant metal, typical alloying elements are copper, zinc, manganese, silicon, and magnesium. There are two principal classifications, namely casting alloys and wrought alloys-dull looking metal colour. Do not use P21 Total Auto Wash or S100 Bike Wash undiluted as it may discolour aluminium. 
· Magnesium alloy (Mags)- lightweight and  usually a very bright metal
· Anodized aluminium - many metals are structurally weakened by the oxidation process, but not aluminium. It can actually be made stronger and more durable through a process called 'anodizing'.
· Chrome (plating) - often referred to simply as chrome, is a technique of electroplating a thin layer of chromium onto a metal object
· Stainless steel – also known as inox steel from French "inoxydable", is defined as a steel alloy
· Wheel spokes - before polishing spokes make sure they're chrome, OEM spokes are thin cadmium plated and using an abrasive polish aggressively will remove the cadmium.

Cleanliness is Critical

Starting with a clean surface is the most important part of the polishing process. Any dirt on the wheel will be mixed in with the polish and will scratch while you are polishing. Wash and rinse the surface with a citrus based product (P21S Total Auto Wash or (P21s Polishing Soap-not intended for use on painted, clear coated or anodized surfaces) thoroughly dry the surface and wipe down with a solvent-based (DuPont PrepSol)

• Keep this area clean and free of used buffing pads and soiled cloths. A build-up of solvents, metal shavings and oil can be hazardous.
• Work in well-ventilated areas.
• Do not use polishes that contain anhydrous solvents, ammonia or acids on aluminium, brass, copper or bronze. These chemicals attack zinc and alloys, which are normally present in these metals.
• Clean the surface before you begin polishing. Even dust can cause scratching when rubbed across a surface.
• Work small areas at a time on large jobs as it's faster and it will give you a more consistent finish.
• Apply light pressure and take your time when applying polish or compounds. Let your machine and product do the work.
• Polish in the direction of the grain if the metal is rolled.
• Wipe down the surface with isopropyl alcohol (IPA) between buffing steps to remove cleaning residue. Buffing pad lines or polish residue inseams can be removed with flour.
• Wiping cloths should have no labels or sewn edges with plastic thread.
• Lightly mist the surface with distilled water before the final buffing step. This seals both metal, wax and helps reduce future water staining from rain and condensation.

All of the English Custom Metal Polishes (ECP) is highly concentrated for less waste. They contain micro abrasives to eliminate tedious rubbing, and wax protectants to retard oxidation. They offer one of the few true polishes for stainless steel. ECP has a reputation for excellent professional quality metal polishes and polishing supplies

Menzerna Polishing Cream
For all metals, precious metals, and plastics, the creamy metal polishes work without abrasives to remove oxidation and stains to uncover a brilliant reflective shine. Remove tarnish and discolouration from motorcycle pipes and forks the nonabrasive formula will gently clean and polish chrome without scratching. Leaves a clear protective film over the polished surface to prevent tarnishing, metal surfaces stay clean, shiny, and smooth with regular use

Exhaust Tailpipe
A squirt of WD40 or similar and a good rub with an old MF first of all. The light fraction hydrocarbon in the oil will dissolve some of the muck (which is soot ie carbon black + various incomplete combustion products) on the exhaust, which coupled with the mechanical cleaning of the MF may be all you need.

Spray down the inside and outside of the tips with P21S Total Auto Wash or P21S Polishing Soap, allow to dwell, it will start to break down the grime. To clean the outside parts of the exhaust use either a Mini E-Z Detail brush (they are perfect for cleaning the areas between dual-tips) or an old microfibre used strictly for dirty jobs and Optimum Metal Polish.

Use #0000 synthetic steel wool (very fine grade) with the P21S Total Auto Wash to clean out the insides of the exhaust tips. Polish using P21S Polishing Soap (not intended for use on painted, clear coated or anodized surfaces) and/or Optimum Metal Polish and #0000 synthetic steel wool on the insides of the tips Now move on to the outside of the tips once again with Optimum Metal Polish and an older microfiber towel that is no longer used for the painted surfaces, ensure to polish with the grain.

Chrome Exhaust
[Chrome plating is a finishing treatment utilizing the electrolytic deposition of chromium. The most common form of chrome plating is the thin, decorative bright chrome, which is typically a 10-µm layer over an underlying nickel plate. When plating on iron or steel, an underlying plating of copper allows the nickel to adhere. The pores (tiny holes) in the nickel and chromium layers also promote corrosion resistance.

Bright chrome imparts a mirror-like finish to items such as metal furniture frames and automotive trim. Thicker deposits, up to 1000 µm, are called hard chrome and are used in industrial equipment to reduce friction and wear.] 

Chrome is by far the most common brightwork on motorcycles as it holds a shine better than all other metals.  Chrome has a single enemy: rust.  Over time, chrome oxidizes and develops rust spots.  The higher quality the chrome plating, the more it will resist rusting, but eventually, it will happen.  If you allow the chrome to go too long without removing the rust, the chrome will become permanently pitted.

Removing rust and polishing chrome can usually restore chrome to a reasonable looking condition.  If the rust simply coats, and is not deeply embedded, the chrome should come back to life. As long as the chrome is not flaking off, you have a chance of saving it.

Use caution as the chrome plating is usually thin. Using chrome cleaner will remove the dulling that a car wash concentrate can’t. Apply a chrome cleaner (Semichrome or Mother’s Mag and Aluminium Polish) to a cool, dry exhaust, do not let the cleaner dry on the surface, for stubborn stains use #0000 synthetic steel wool and the metal polish.

To clean exhaust piping use a polishing powder (Blue Coral Blue Buster) to remove ‘blue’ from exhaust pipes wet towel and polish, it will not scratch chrome, can also be used on brass and stainless steel. Clean exhaust piping with Luster Strips. Protect the exhaust with a polymer (Zoopseal) sealant (See also Chrome / Stainless Steel Exhaust)  
Recommended products-

Cleaning- any uncoated, non-ferrous metal surface – brass, gold, silver, aluminium, magnesium, pewter, chrome, sterling, copper, stainless steel – can be brought to a brilliant shine using Simichrome.

             Protection - Zoopseal protects unfinished, brushed or polished steel, stainless steel, brass, aluminium and chrome parts from oxidation and eliminates the need for repeat polishing and extensive cleaning

Stainless Steel Exhaust Tips / Pipe
To clean exhaust piping use a polishing powder (Blue Coral Blue Buster or Blu-Job) to remove ‘blue’ from exhaust pipes wet towel and polish, it will not scratch chrome, can also be used on brass and stainless steel.

For exhaust pipe polishing -use a strip impregnated with a metal polish  (See also Chrome / Stainless Steel Exhaust) protect the exhaust components with a polymer sealant (ZoopSeal)

Information resource-
• Caswell Plating website- http://

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