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Thread: How can I remove oxidation from aluminum?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    783

    Post How can I remove oxidation from aluminum?

    Here's the short question: Is there any product that will eliminate the white oxidation stains from a rough cast aluminum surface without having to polish the surface smooth?

    Here's the surrounding details if you care to read:
    I have an old GSXR 750 Limited Edition project bike that has been stored outside...there are some light oxidation spots on the frame rails. But here's the problem, the frame is an extrusion with raised polished ribs that stand proud of a rough as cast appearing surface. I can get the oxidation off the smooth surface with my aluminum polish...but I can't get the white oxidation stains out of the valleys in the cast appearing surface. I could polish the rough cast portions smooth, as some bikers do, but I don't want to compromise the stock appearance of the frame.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    256

    Post

    Mask the polished parts and sandblast with fine sand or glass beads.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    783

    Post

    Thanks. That's a good idea...I'll have to check out one of those cheapo Harbor Freight sandblasters.



    [This message has been edited by abn (edited 01-13-2003).]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Bremerton Washington
    Posts
    5,011

    Post

    Vinegar and a stiff brush also cream of tarter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Claremont, NH
    Posts
    2,017

    Post

    Mothers polish. A brad name. Also Brasso. I have had luck with both. 3M also makes a chrome polish that is the bet thing I have come across in many years - buy this at auto stores that specialize in finishing products like paint and such. Pink, very lightly abrasive, adds luster. I used this on some aluminum last week, as well as the "Mothers" stuff. Both equal. The alumium was lightly "crusted" with the salt stuff you talk of - old wrought aluminum.
    CCBW, MAH

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    On the Oil Coast,USA
    Posts
    16,858

    Post

    Truck and r/v supply stores carry a product called aluminum bright which is phosforic acid and a few other good things which you dilute with water spray on wait and rinse.After treatment it is recomended that you seal the item with aluminum clear coat that can be had at automotive paint stores.
    I just need one more tool,just one!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Chilliwack, B.C.
    Posts
    9,479

    Post

    I've had some luck with a product called aircraft coating remover. After I realized that some of the al surfaces on my bike were clearcoated, I knew why I was making such a mess with steel wool and abrasive papers. This stuff isn't easy to get off and down to bare metal. It's still takes elbow grease, though.
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

  8. #8

    Post

    Heavy corrosion on aluminum can be removed mechanically such as by bead blasting, abrasive brushing, and/or sanding but to be stopped it has to be treated chemically. There are many products available, most containing phosphoric acid. With over 45 years of experience in the aircraft industry one of the best and easily obtained products I've found is a #33 Alumiprep. This is a brush-on chemical that you dilute with water. It cleans and brightens aluminum while stopping the corrosion process. This should be followed up with a product such as 1001 Alodine which is a brush-on chemical that conditions the aluminum for a clear finish and corrosion resistance. These products can be found at automotive paint suppliers or ordered online from Aircraft Spruce, 877-477-7823, http://www.aircraftspruce.com or Chief Aircraft, 800-447-3408, http://www.chiefaircraft.com, plus others. Make sure you order Alodine 1001 and not 1201 as 1201 will discolor aluminum unless you are going to prime and paint it. Don't use the above on magnesium!

    One of the worst things you can do with aluminum is to use a steel wire brush, steel wool, emory cloth, and or copper alloy brushes. You can use aluminum grit and
    silicon carbide abrasives, aluminum-oxide-impregnated nylon abrasive wheels, aluminum wool, and fiber brushes. Stainless steel brushes with the bristles not exceeding 0.010 inch in diameter can be used followed up with 60 grit aluminum oxide paper, 120 grit aluminum oxide paper, and finished up with 400 grit aluminum oxide paper. Follow this up the chemical conversion process semi explained above.

    If all you have is light surface corrosion I'd use the #33 Alumiprep followed up with 1001 Alodine.

    Good luck!
    Jim Larsen

  9. #9

    Post

    Use a small brass wire brush and some WD-40. After it is clean use some Prep-sol to clean the WD off and shoot with a clear coating paint.

    Kevin
    If it's not good enough for you, it's sure not good enough for anyone else.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    2,362

    Post

    Using steel wool?
    Particles break off the steel wool- and embed in softer material (and some you might not think to be soft), then rust forms around the particle. Some nice chrome has been ruined with steel wool. Friend "cleaned" some of my pistols and shoulder held items a few years back and they now rust- look likethey have measles.
    Steve

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