aluminum finishing?

I have some .625" diameter aluminum bar stock that I need to do some kind of surface finish/treatment to.

The stock has fine longitudinal striations (I'm guessing from being extruded) that I would like to eliminate or at least reduce. I don't need a superfine or polished finish- I just want to get rid of the "unfinished" look. A fine, brushed finish would be perfectly acceptable.

Now, here's the problem. I only have access to typical homeowner tools and no way to secure the stock in a fixture other than my own hands. I have a big vise but can't use it because the jaws will mar the stock. I do have a good bench grinder but I think it'll be way too aggressive. I also have a belt sander and a random orbit finishing sander that might work. What do you think? And what type of abrasive /grits should I look for?


Reply to
John Smith
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Start with the random orbit sander using 220 paper. If the paper is not aggressive enough, you might consider moving to 180/120. I would not go much coarser than that. Keep the sander moving. This should give you a uniform dull satin type finish.

If you prefer a brushed finish you can buy some good wire wheels to put on a Harbor Freight cheapy grinder. Trap the pipe in your vise wrapped in leather (tops of some old boots), rubber (inner tube) , or rags. Here again keep the tool moving to avoid digging in a pattern. You will need to continually move the pipe in the vise.

You might also like the effect of using plumber's sanding cloth wrapped around the pipe and pulled back and forth a bit like working an old shoe shining rag. You will need to keep changing the setting of the pipe in the vise.

(top posted for your convenience) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens)

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I did a linear brush on aboput 200 feet of 1-1/4" aluminum tube for store fixtures. I used a pedestal grinder with a 6" diamter x 2" thick scotchbrite wheel. While the wheel was spinning I carved a depression in the wheel that fit the tube shape. It took 3 passes per tube to brush all the way around. Each pass did about 1/3 of the circumference. Mind you I was brushing 18" lengths, So I could flip the ends. It did cover my whole shop in a fine layer of aluminum dust. Glad I wore a respirator.

Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler

Try getting some abrasive nylon... Sold by McMaster Carr relatively cheap and delivered to your door...

But buy some soap first as the black residue that comes off aluminum when using this product is about as bad as graphite.

Start with course and work your way down until you get the desired finish.

Joe in Northern, NJ V#8013 '86 VN750

Ride a motorcycle in or near NJ?

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Fine Red Scotchbrite pad.


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Reply to

Make some soft jaws for your bar out of wood. - drill a .625 hole and then saw the block of wood in two.

Reply to

Keep your abrasive media wet/flooded with WD40 or it will load up right quick. Naturally this doesn't apply if a machine is used unless you enjoy a oily shower.


Reply to
Ken Davey

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