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topic 433

Polishing aluminum to a mirror like finish


Q. I need (how to) information on how to polish aluminum to a mirror like finish. What tools? Is a Dremel [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] okay? What wheels and compounds do I need. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, nelson

Nelson Torres

Dremel Kit


A. Hi, Nelson. There are a number of threads here with highly detailed information on aluminum polishing if you are patient with the search engine, but letter 800 is a great start.

A Dremel tool may be okay for small parts and prototype volumes, but it's probably impractical for real production; and your chances of getting a smooth surface across a large piece with a small hand-held tool are poor.

Plus, remember that aluminum rapidly oxidizes, so it's difficult to make a mirror by mechanical polishing alone unless you can clearcoat it right away, which is a bit incompatible with trying to polish with such a tiny tool. You can have the parts brite dipped and anodized as an alternative.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. Depending upon the alloy, electropolishing might be one way to obtain the desired finish. Some mechanical finishing would also be required to obtain the best results.

Ed Bayha
Metal Coating Process Corporation - Charlotte, North Carolina

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