cleaning aluminum

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by fiep, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    Hydroflouric acid. just be very careful with it. Your dick will fall off. Dilute heavily and use a foamer to put it on. Wear your gear, your dick will fall off. They use it in truck washes for wheel cleaner. Dilute, did I mention your dick will fall off.
    #21
  2. vtwin

    vtwin Air cooled runnin' mon

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    This picture from Mullet provided me with a lot of laughs!:rofl
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  3. 2 SPOT

    2 SPOT wannabe

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    i tried "barkeepers friend" on bare aluminum just to see what the finish would look like. i have since used the piece otherwise i'd snap a pic, but it was a nice mello finish, like eggshell paint, not matt but not gloss either.

    for those that dont know, barekeepers friend its pretty much less abrasive comet. though it does come in a gel i used the dry since that what i had.
    #23
  4. Stan_R80/7

    Stan_R80/7 Beastly Gnarly

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    HF acid is insidious. It acts as an anesthetic so it does not burn. Other acids mixed with HF will burn, albeit maybe less. HF acid eats away until contact with bone bone or calcium. These two attributes make HF acid dangerous.

    Otherwise, it is just like any other acid that can be neutralized with baking soda, sodium hydroxide, or any other base. The same protective equipment used with sulfuric or hydrochloric works great. In fact, HF is a less aggressive acid than most- other than the 'cannot feel it and eats bones away' concerns. I think of HF as the 'Jeffry Dahmer' of acids, in that once recognized it is not that scary but unrecognized can be horrifying. Maybe that's a bad analogy. I avoid using HF acid.
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  5. Skowinski

    Skowinski Eukaryote

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    Ditto, I have to use HF at work sometimes. I've been warned about it by quite a number of people, and as a result I am very very cautious with it. Most acids you feel burning when they get on you, HF, you don't. That's a scary thought.
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  6. Pike Bishop

    Pike Bishop Pull Down the Ponzi.

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  7. JRP

    JRP Old guy

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    +1 ... but heed the warnings, it is dangerous stuff!
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  8. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    We were told about that in 9th-grade science class. One old-time application for the glass-etching properties of HF was as a measure for borehole straightness--they'd put a dilute mixture of HF in a bottle, lower it down a well, let it sit for a bit, then haul it back up and measure the angle of the etch line on the glass.
    #28
  9. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    Way too many recommendations on using the correct/incorrect products everywhere without giving the usual cautions. :huh

    What to do with the cautions is a matter of experience maybe but some of us had them bad experiences back then when the info wasn't really available on the net.:cry

    Because I have to read and keep track of MSDSs at work, learned a few lessons along the way that made me look back at some of the stuff we did back then.:huh:huh:huh

    Should be a dedicated thread on them usual and unusual :wink: shop chemicals just so the proper uses and current safety procedures are applied. And proper storage procedures. The last has been a little peeve of mine at work for years, I'd rather not have too many chemical bombs around in case of fires.

    Innocuous sometimes them chemicals but change the conditions and then not so.

    Someone I know well and really should have known better blew up a battery charging it recently. Sure he tought he cleaned the acid mess, that is until later when he found out how much the acid spray had damaged some of his already polished and very expensive old Ducati parts.:eek1

    Rather large box of Baking soda now in his newly dedicated "charging station". And some rather large dry powder fire extinguishers, they'll also neutralize acids when pressed into action.:wink:
    #29
  10. Stan_R80/7

    Stan_R80/7 Beastly Gnarly

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    HF acid can be neutralized like any other acid by using a base. HF acid does an excellent job of dissolving quartz and flint glass so it must be stored in a plastic container. Similarly, concentrated aqueous sodium hydroxide (a strong base) dissolves quartz and flint glass so it must be stored in a plastic or steel container.

    Sodium hydroxide is strongly corrosive to aluminum. HF acid is also highly corrosive to aluminum and is used as a 'brightener' by interacting with aluminum oxide to form aluminum fluoride that can be washed away. Sodium hydroxide reacts with aluminum oxide to form sodium oxide and aluminum hydroxide - which must still be mechanically removed from aluminum. A scotch brite pad with WD-40 or kerosene as a solvent will mechanically remove aluminum oxide from aluminum.

    Edit: here is a mag-wheel cleaner I have used with HF and phosphoric acids, http://www.eagleone.com/mag-wheel-cleaner
    Also, Ez-Off oven cleaner is a strong base sodium hydroxide spray that will quickly strip all anodizing from aluminum.
    #30
  11. Kyle B

    Kyle B "Dirty Jobs"

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    We used to use a product called "Aluminum Bright" to clean the unpolished truck bodies of rental box trucks. You wet the product to be cleaned first, spray on the cleaner, brush it in if you'd like, and wash it off. Presto! Also worked very well on aluminum wheels on big trucks. You can also try the Purple Power type cleaner. It contains acid and does the same thing. Just don't let it run, because it will show streaks after cleaned.

    Good luck!
    #31
  12. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    The "acid problem " I had a few years ago( when doing an antique tub refinish for myself) was that nobody seems to sell acid anymore as the lawyers have apparently got it banned from public purchase. I was able to but an acid paste from a painting supply store. I also use the green phosphoric for steel .
    I hear you on the shop storage thing because I end up with "stuff" that sitting around for years at a time as I go from project to project and some doesn't like to sit there for many years in a can!
    #32
  13. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    Wasnt lawers, too many sold it to people who did not have a clue as to it's effects or how to use it. I have refused to sell HF to people because of their lack of attention to the details in explaining what could happen to their employees from misapplication. Theres been some serious injuries using this product incorrectly.
    #33
  14. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    Not just acid, but HF acid. Read, understand and follow all the requirements if you choose to use it. Works like a champ, but if not handled correctly, it's bad shit.
    #34
  15. Smoke Eater 3

    Smoke Eater 3 Been here awhile

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    Let's go back to WD-40 and a ScotchBrite. It cleans and leaves a brushed aluminum look.
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  16. mildhog

    mildhog Long timer

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  17. fiep

    fiep Long timer

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    looks shiny in the video
    and the dude keeps talking about buffing it out :cry

    anything chromy looking on an old dual sport looks misplaced
    #37
  18. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    You haven't done it yet??? In the meantime I did 2 complete exhaust systems. One steel, the other SS and much harder to deal with than Alu.Shiny where I wanted and not so where not necessary.

    Get the right scotchbrites, the grey ones sure will remove most of the anodizing, then finish with with the green ones.Wetsand at the desired "no shine", probably in the 400x or so.

    Alu is so easy, clean and adjust the finish with just about anything from under the kitchen sink.:wink:
    #38
  19. fiep

    fiep Long timer

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    talking about that fancy muffler?
    long done

    and rebuilt a set of bad looking wheels
    and ...
    still looking for a way to clean aluminum without ending up with a shiny look, mlower fork tubes e.g. want them nice and matte
    not chromy polished

    have a 75 TY250,
    great restauration from p.o.
    but everything sparkles - horrible!
    #39
  20. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    You need something with a motor to do them bits & bumps like fork legs. And that can be made cheaply.

    Give me a few days I have to go shine some SS on my friend's machines will see what he has to say.And I don't want that one shiny...:wink: Should be lots of parts there to practice on and then I'll know for sure so I can set up my own polishing/depolishing machine.
    #40