How To: Create a Polished Finish on Kraus Components
A Beginners Guide to Polishing Machine Finish Kraus Components
Disclaimer: Kraus Motor Co. recommends that you send your machine finish Kraus performance part to a professional who specializes in metal finishing/polishing to achieve the best results. Any damages to the component incurred during the finishing process are the sole responsibility of the vendor/service provider or the individual. Any alteration, including finish treatment, to Kraus products will result in the voiding of the manufacturer warranty.
All metal CNC machined components will leave behind a pattern of characteristic tooling marks and fine hairline scratches on the product. These small surface inconsistencies are caused by the type and sharpness of the cutting tool, and often the material it’s made from. If you choose, you can polish machine-finished components to a very clear reflection right in your own garage, however, it will never have a truly chrome-like finish.
A mirror finish can be achieved by following a 3-STEP PROCESS:
- Cleaning/prepping the component
- Sanding the component
- Cutting/Polishing the component
You will need the following:
- Soft rag or sponge
- Cleaning Solution (regular dish soap or a mixture of water and vinegar)
- Sandpaper of varying grits ranging from 320 to 2000 grit.
- A suitable polishing compound
- Buffing wheels or polishing wheels.
- Soft polishing cloth or paper for end mirror polishing.
- Buffing compounds are chosen according to the metal being polished. The harder the metal, the chosen compound will be coarser.
Step 1 - Cleaning Your Kraus Component
How to Clean Your Kraus Moto Performance Part
Clean the entire surface using a wet rag or sponge and cleaning solution, making sure to get rid of any debris, grime, dirt, dust, etc. In most cases, you can clean your part with regular dish soap or a mixture of water and vinegar. This works perfectly fine for smaller projects. Commercial cleaners like Metal Pre-Clean can be used for larger projects.
A strong degreaser or paint thinner may be needed if oil or grease is built up on the surface of your part.
If you have a hard time getting stubborn grime off, you can use a screwdriver or a stainless steel wire brush to remove it. Do not use carbon steel as that can cause after-rust.
Thoroughly rinse the part with clean water and dry completely using a soft cloth.
Step 2 - Sanding Your Kraus Component to Polish
How to Sand Your Kraus Moto Performance Part
This is the step that most people try to skip when trying to hand polish to a mirror finish, but it is the most important step to get the best finish possible! To get the best results, you should be spending the majority of the polishing process sanding the surface.
As with most sanding jobs, start with a coarser grit sandpaper and work down to a finer one. You shouldn’t require anything coarser than 320 grit abrasive.
You will work from the lowest grade which would be 320-600 depending on the severity of your component and work upwards until you have the deepest scratches or gouges sanded out. Many professionals recommend going from 320 grit, and finish with 1500-2000.
Smaller components can definitely be done by hand with sandpaper and a little elbow grease, but if your component is a bigger project, you’ll want to use an abrasive with a power tool. You don’t want to rush this process, but you also don’t want to spend hours and all of your energy sanding by hand. The best option for speeding up the sanding process would be to use an orbital sander with PSA discs or an angle grinder with an aluminum grinding flap disc.
Why is it important not to skip the sanding process?
Do you want your aluminum Kraus component to shine? Do you want a mirror finish you can see yourself in? Well, the sanding is what gets you there.
In order to create a shine, you need to remove and flatten out all the irregular surfaces on the aluminum. You can run your hand over the aluminum and think it feels 100% smooth, but at a microscopic level it isn’t.
Light hitting a rough surface, even at a microscopic level, will become diffused and make the metal look dull. A smoother surface will reflect the light more, giving it more of a shine and a mirror-like finish.
While you can never make the aluminum surface completely flat and smooth, you can get it to a noticeable level. The only way to do that is to sand it down layer by layer with a finer and finer abrasive.
Step 3 - Buffing/Polishing Your Kraus Component
Finally, the fun part of this job where you get to actually buff out the aluminum and start to see the real shine! It’s time to polish and buff your Kraus component.
Polishing Small Kraus Moto Performance Parts
All you are going to need in this step is a clean cloth or two and aluminum polish.
Start by applying a small amount of the aluminum polish to the area. Continue to wipe it into the surface by using small, circular motions. Using either a fresh cloth or a clean and unused side of the original cloth, wipe away all of the polish. Once all of the polishing residue is gone, take another clean cloth and buff the entire surface using the same circular motions as before.
Polishing Larger Kraus Moto Performance Parts
If you are polishing a large component that could take a long time by hand or require a little too much elbow grease, you can switch to a power tool to get you through the work. There are a lot of options available for the actual cutting and polishing part of this process. For the buffing tool, most people find that one of the easiest and most efficient tools to use is an angle grinder with airway buffing wheels or conventional muslin buffing wheels.
Start by adding a bit of your coarsest abrasive compound to your stiffest buffing wheel. We recommend using buffing compound bars for the polishing process. Working in sections, buff the entire surface, adding more polishing compound as needed. Once you are done with this step, completely wipe off all of the residue and change your buffing wheel.
Just like sanding, you’ll want to start with the coarsest abrasive and work your way down. If using compound bars, start with brown tripoli aluminum abrasive compound then move onto white rouge. This should usually get you the mirror finish you want, but for those of you with perfectionist tendencies, you can finish up with a green rouge compound bar to get the best aluminum shine possible.
Make sure to always use a different buffing wheel with each abrasive compound. Mixing the compound on your wheel defeats the purpose of moving down to a finer abrasive with each step. You can however reuse a buffing wheel in the future as long as you use the same compound on it each time.
When you finish your last buffing step, give your aluminum one last wipe-down with a clean cloth. At this point you should be able to see yourself smiling back at your mirror finish.