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Old 07-02-2008, 02:35 PM   #41
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I found that cleanliness is of paramount importance...even just a speck of dust on the pad can cause swirls.
Seems to me that this is the key. I think the Airmark would likely just give you linear micro scratches rather than the circular ones from the cyclo.

My suggestion... put on a pair of polarized sunglasses.
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Old 07-03-2008, 01:01 PM   #42
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Gentlemen: Thanks for your input.....UWE, I appreciate your comment on dirt - I have used new sweatshirt material but really don't want much more of a shine by going to Nuvite S. In talking to Tom at Perfect Polish, he indicated I wasn't Cycloing enough with the F7. However, Steve's comment on the polarized glasses is definitely a novel (and cheaper) approach. Maybe I'm just too much of a perfectionist. Even with the barely noticeable swirls, the old 65 Caravel knocked them dead when we drove it to Maine for our two weeks of vacationing! The uninitiated thought it was a new Airstream and couldn't believe it was 43 years old. Any other experience out there using the Airmark AH-2 buffer?
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Old 07-03-2008, 01:25 PM   #43
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Airmark was the standard for polishing Airstreams about 10 years ago - Jim Weston who owns the company was very opinionated about his products - then he kinda vanished from the Airstream world (just to give a little history). I think his products are great - but I think in the hands of a professional - his main business is polishing big Airplanes - I would (and have - I do have some Airmark polish) stick with the Nuvite - I think its much better and easier for us backyard types.

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Old 07-03-2008, 02:32 PM   #44
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Maybe I'm just too much of a perfectionist. Even with the barely noticeable swirls, the old 65 Caravel knocked them dead when we drove it to Maine for our two weeks of vacationing! The uninitiated thought it was a new Airstream and couldn't believe it was 43 years old.
I think this is an excellent point-- you're usually going to be the harshest critic of your own work. And when do you decide how much polishing is too much? There's got to be a stopping point somewhere, right?
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Old 07-04-2008, 06:41 AM   #45
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I think this is an excellent point-- you're usually going to be the harshest critic of your own work. And when do you decide how much polishing is too much? There's got to be a stopping point somewhere, right?
Kind of like that guy who is waiting for that perfect trailer to come along.
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Old 07-04-2008, 06:52 AM   #46
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Kind of like that guy who is waiting for that perfect trailer to come along.
Hey, you're feeling awfully punchy this morning!
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Old 07-04-2008, 12:28 PM   #47
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Interesting. Fortunately or unfortunately I haven't read too many polishing threads.
This is the first I've heard about barrel or drum polishing as an alternative. Thanks to you all for the input and info! Since I'm still in the sandpaper phase with my trailer I have zero experience with the actual polishing stage. But intuitively these drum polishers look excellent for tackling heavy oxidation, corrosion and or especially for following-up after deep sanding to remove filiform corrosion where lots of time would otherwise be necessary? It's a question? I for one would love to hear more about, and possibly experiment, with these professional grade polishers. Who has a used one for sale? I'd love to experiment on my trailer.
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Old 07-04-2008, 12:47 PM   #48
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Wow - you have to be VERY careful - alclad is very thin stuff.....plus its very easy to burn aluminum with high speed stuff - polishing tends to be counter intuitive - slow is good and less (as in polish) is good.

I have seen the high speed stuff - and it does work, and well, but not for me - its easy to "catch" something and tear it off (like lights - been then done that - even at slow speed) and if you are on a ladder its easy to get thrown off with high speed equip.

Just my thoughts..........

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Old 07-04-2008, 02:10 PM   #49
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Ken, what is visually evident when polishing or sanding "burns" through alcad? Is such a "burn" actually visible?

I've been using wetordry sandpaper to remove some apparently seriously deep filiform corrosion.

I suspect based on what I see here that the barrel or drum sander would be quite effective in working down from the sandpaper through the various polish/compounds grades.
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Old 07-04-2008, 03:40 PM   #50
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I know there are lots of opinions on this - but in my view sanding the surface is much harder to control the cut than using compound - which is also gritty...

Burned alunimum turns brown - I've never burned alu - but I do understand you can polish it back out after it cools - but probably not a good idea to begin with.

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Old 07-04-2008, 04:12 PM   #51
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I've been working with a very deep filiform corrosion. In my experience the polish simply doesn't touch it. Now the 320 grade wetordry sandpaper up to 1000 grade does. At this point the polish is merely the next step in the process. So far I have used wetordry paper on 5 or 6 panels and have yet to observe anything that appears "burned" or damaged in the metal itself. This is very time consuming. Each grade of paper (320, 400, 600, 1000) takes several hours or longer per panel.

What I'm finding out here is that the barrel or drum polisher will apparently cut the polish time by two-thirds which means that this polisher might work much better in some ways than the rotary polisher.

Now running this out a little bit further if the barrel or drum polisher is more efficient in some way it might even be possible to step back to the polish methods and eliminate the sandpaper. Which would be fine with me. We were finding that using the rotary methods with the polish was simply taking unreasonable amounts of time to reach the depth of the corrosion. I would indeed like to try the barrel or drum polisher if at the very least it saves time.
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Old 07-04-2008, 04:18 PM   #52
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The main stumbling block preventing most of us from purchasing a drum polisher is the $$$, and then if you can afford it, you need a very high output air compressor in order to run it.

Check them out here:

Airmark Surfacing Tools - providing aluminum polishing, buffing wheels, air craft polish, boat polish and much more.
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Old 07-04-2008, 04:29 PM   #53
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I hear you. Thanks GP and everyone for the links. These polishers look really nice. Those are steep prices for me too. However, if these tools perform as suggested it might be worth it --at least to me. There's nothing like working with good tools designed for a specific task. I would love to find a used one, surely they exist, and save a few gold doubloons. Probably a compressor would be cheaper than the polisher. Also it might be reasonable to assume that the cost is eventually recouped in the labor, material and tool-cost saved provided the representations are accurate. Done right this might actually be cheaper!
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Old 09-17-2008, 03:04 PM   #54
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Todd, let me know if you pursue the drum polisher. Have you got a price on the rebuilt units?
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Old 01-19-2009, 12:17 AM   #55
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Astro Drum Polisher

Here is a video of me using my Astro drum polisher
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:17 AM   #56
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Very interesting~!
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:34 PM   #57
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Thanks for that video Rob!... It makes the price look reasonable even for a DIY.
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