Sheet Metal Polishing

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Instead of desert golfing, you could be polishing your aluminum travel trailer.
Instead of desert golfing, you could be polishing your aluminum travel trailer. (Image: Nisian Hughes/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Sheet metal is versatile and appears in any number of auto repair or construction projects. The thin sheets of metal are typically dull in finish. You must often polish the metal sheets when using them for decorative purposes. Buy a rotary polisher and select a variety of polishing pad and polishes. Every brand of polisher uses a different type of pad and polish system. Use the system that corresponds with your polisher.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket Sponge
  • Rotary polisher
  • Wool compounding pad
  • Buffing pads
  • Polishes
  • Polishing cloth
  • Screwdriver
  • Finish polish
  • Terrycloth towels

Start with a very clean, dirt- and grit-free metal surface. Place a wool compounding pad on the head of your rotary polisher. Put one teaspoon of the most abrasive metal polish on the pad. Turn on the polisher and lower it slowly to the sheet metal. Move the polisher in an up and down and back and forth motion across the sheet.

Attach the next most coarse buffing pad to the rotary polisher. Polish the sheet metal using the same method. The metal will turn black before it begins to shine.

Change the polishing pads and the polish to grades that are less and less coarse. Continue polishing until the sheet metal shines. Rinse the panel with clean water and dry with a towel.

Secure a buffing pad to the rotary polisher. Spread 1/4 teaspoon of finish polish on the pad with your finger. Move the polisher slowly back and forth and side to side to bring out a chrome-like shine.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are not getting results with the polishing process, you may be using too much polish. Reduce the amount of polish and try again.

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