Hi-Tech Fixture for Polishing Valve Covers - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old Jan 18th, 15, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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Al
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Vancouver, USA
Posts: 10,511
Hi-Tech Fixture for Polishing Valve Covers

Bought these brand new still-available z28/LT-1 valve covers last year. They look really good from about 10 feet away - pretty rough up close.

Built this high dollar fixture to hold them. The plan is to wet sand them, coarse to fine, then polish with a buffer. We'll see how they turn out.



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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old Jan 18th, 15, 12:27 PM
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Steps
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 13,316
Re: Hi-Tech Fixture for Polishing Valve Covers

Have done these many times over the yrs...tried that a while back.
The thing with Alloy is one needs to get heat into it , unlike other metal polishing.
I use an old drill in the vise (old .. hard on the bearings loade sideways) and a 4"x 1.2" rag buffer.... 2 grades of stainless rouge bar, and kero to lube.

The drill extends the pad out to give better access to cnrs and such than if on a bench grinder.

If corrosion pitted, one can sand out most of the pits starting with around 240 (if real bad) wet and dry using kero, going down to around 400.
Then with the coarser rouge, keeping the wheel damp with kero, start at a given point and work slowly up, keeping a lot of heat in the area... Leather gloves required...taking out any fine imperfections and sanding scratches
Then same again 2x with the fine finish rouge

A very badly pitted cover will take around 45 mins to hr.

Wear VERY old cloths.

The down side holding the buffer, rather than the unit, is getting enough constant pressure over a period is harder.
And having mounted is getting into cnrs edges etc

Hope this helps...

OH they look nice with the area between the fins painted the car colour......pait the whole fin area....then lightly sand the tops of the fins till just see the alloy , then buff the rest off... and the ends, start at the ends then move up to the paint line....the area there / between the fins has a ripple effect to it.. thats the paint line on the ends...and buffing up gives a sort of blend here rather than a hard line.

My Spelling is not incorrect...it is creative

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old Jan 18th, 15, 01:07 PM
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Scott
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Southern NH
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Re: Hi-Tech Fixture for Polishing Valve Covers

Quote:
Originally Posted by BPOS View Post
Bought these brand new still-available z28/LT-1 valve covers last year. They look really good from about 10 feet away - pretty rough up close.

Built this high dollar fixture to hold them. The plan is to wet sand them, coarse to fine, then polish with a buffer. We'll see how they turn out.
Al, I did the same thing with a rough cast alternator. I disassembled it and then filed and wet sanded from coarse to fine until the case was smooth enough to begin polishing. Go with as many steps of wet paper and go as fine as you can, you will save time polishing with buffing wheels and compound if you get most of the way with wet paper. Use a little dish detergent with the water and wet sanding paper and rinse often. Don't try and wet sand too much at once, it's hard on your fingers. At least you can use a rubber sanding block for the sides of your covers.

I purchased a kit with different buffing wheels designed for polishing metals that came with arbors and compound. I mounted the buffing wheel and arbor in an old bench top drill press and set the belts for maximum speed, works much better and faster than a hand drill. I also purchased a flex shaft cable approximately 6' long with a chuck on the end that can be powered by the drill press and give you more maneuverability while polishing. You move the part against the buffing wheel to cut (more aggressive polishing action) and then move the part with the buffing wheel direction to color (finer finish polishing). You need to generate some heat while polishing the metal but not too much, the amount of pressure you apply to the part with the buffing wheel and the speed at which you move over the part will determine how much heat and thus how the polishing comes out.

You can even get great results using the same compound you would for paint, just use heavy cutting compound first followed by finer compounds. You can make really ratty aluminum parts look pretty good. I've polished a fair amount of stainless steel parts as well. Once you use a buffing wheel on one particular type of metal such as aluminum, don't ever try to polish another type of metal with it. Different buffing wheels for different metals for top results. Final step is to wash all the grime from the polished surface once you think you are done. Aluminum polishing is a dirty and messy process as the aluminum almost instantly oxidizes as fresh metal is exposed to the air. Good luck, looking forward to seeing before and after photos. BTW, it's a good idea to wear a dust mask

Here is a photo that shows how the rough cast alternator came out;

69 Camaro Z/28 RS, original Azure Turquoise, M21 & 3.73 12-bolt posi. NOM 406ci, AFR 210 heads, Straub hyd. roller cam & Dynatech 1-3/4" > 1-7/8" headers, QuickFuel 750 Annular. Photos at:
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Last edited by NH69Z28RS; Jan 18th, 15 at 01:18 PM.
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