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Polishing Diamond Plate


szafram
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I'm trying to polish up the diamond plate on my 81 CF, and am looking for any tips you guys may have. I've tried about everything I can find, and am having no luck. The diamond plate is steel, not aluminum, and not stainless steel. It's not in horrible shape, but I'm trying to polish it up to as close to a mirror finish as I can. Any thoughts or ideas? Thanks!

Here is a lits of the things I've tried so far:

WD-40

3M Rubbing Compound

Mother's Mag and Aluminum Polish

Flitz Metal Polish

Turtle Wax Rubbing Compound

Turtle Wax Chrome Cleaner

NeverDull

White vinegar

Shield Solutions Aluminum and Metal Cleaner (Diluted Acid product)

Zaino ZPC Paint Cleaner

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Hold on....steel and your trying to polish it?

That will be very hard to do..besides a machined finish I have never seen mirror finished steel or anyone try to polish steel......most shiny diamond plate is aluminum. You need a buffer and cutting wheels And it is a pita to get all the tarnish out of it...

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I've been able to get a nice shiny finish with WD-40 and a ton of elbow grease (It was originally a polished surface when the truck was new), but that is a very time consuming way to do it. It's mostly just the oxidation built up on the surface, and getting it off is the hard part. I'm just wondering if there is a specific cutting compound that people have had success with. I have two buffers (10" and 6"), so that part is covered. I guess "mirror finish" would be the wrong term. I'm just looking for shiny and not dull...

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If you are basing your assumption that they were polished when new on the delivery photos than my bet is what you are seeing is the bright aluminum paint that was commonly used such as Rust Oleum's Aluminum. Over time this ages out to a more mellow silver color, but when new it is quite shiny.

I have never seen polished steel diamond plate on any fire truck, and I've seen hundreds if not thousands. Fire trucks were working machines that are exposed to adverse weather conditions all the time. No one is going to try to keep steel plate polished under those conditions.

Your best bet is to sand blast or strip off the old paint and re-coat them with aluminum paint to get that "factory fresh" look.

Money, sex, and fire; everybody thinks everyone else is getting more than they are!

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I think you need to determine if it is steel or aluminum. Check with a magnet. If it sticks, it will need to be painted, if not you could try aluminum jelly if it is available and follow the directions for the best finish.

A very fine grade of steel wool may work, but this will take forever - good luck.

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I am basing my assumption of some delivery photos, as well as some of the polishing I have done on it. I have somevery small sections (about 3-4 little diamonds) polished up to a very shiny, reflective finish. I know it is steel because it is magnetic, and have checked multiple times. I'll post pictures of that section when I get a chance to snap some. But the aluminum paint may be what it was when it was new. I'll look into getting some of that as well and see where it goes. But I will post a few pics when I get a moment

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To polish steel diamond plate:

1. Using sandpaper, wire wheel or other mechanical means, scrub/buff current paint until large chips are removed and edges of thicker sections of paint are feathered evenly, or remove all paint entirely.

2. Mix three parts RustOleum "Aluminum" and one part RustOleum "Flat White."

3. Apply one coat, allow to dry 12-24 hours.

4. Apply second coat.

Polishing is complete.

TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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here is another mix that I have used Rustoleum mix silver ,light gray, and gloss white mix in even proportions , also you can clear coat for better protection. If you just use silver it will rub off on your fingers after drying. just try the 3 mix on a steel sample and adjust to your liking

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This is a pitcure of it a few weeks ago after I cleaned and polished the paint, as well as the delivery picture:

attachicon.gif20130518_152513.jpg

attachicon.gifDelivery 1.jpg

IndianaFireman.....Looks great.....Hope the paint works out for you. Let us know what you end up using..... I have some diamond plate to paint as well. On a different note who's bringing their fire truck to Macungie? I would like to try and make it....for the first time....Thanks...

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I have used RustOleum Aluminum on mine and it works great as is. By using straight aluminum it allows you to touch it up with a shaker can as it blends very well.

I have never had any issue with it rubbing off.

You can buy a product called Aluma-Brite on-line that will shine the aluminum up pretty well. It is an acid solution, so make sure you follow the directions.

Money, sex, and fire; everybody thinks everyone else is getting more than they are!

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IndianaFireman.....Looks great.....Hope the paint works out for you. Let us know what you end up using..... I have some diamond plate to paint as well. On a different note who's bringing their fire truck to Macungie? I would like to try and make it....for the first time....Thanks...

The 1958 FWD *should* be there if I can get the damn clutch master cylinder on and bled and back in operation by then....But I have make some cuts with a grinding wheel to the casting of the new master cylinder where it bolts up to the firewall....Same hole pattern but the casting is larger than the old one and it wont bolt flat against the firewall because of the ribs, and I dont want to cut those....So out comes the wheel and some polish-american engineering to be done.

TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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The only steel I see in those photos are the front bumper and foot plate right in front of the rear jump seat. Everything else on that truck is like my CF, alumininum. Try fire chiefs friend, just keep it off the paint.

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The front bumper is chromed steel, but the sides are just plain steel. They're magnetic, so they're not aluminum. I've tried Shield Solutions acid, which I believe is the same thing. I bought some Rust-O-Leum over the weekend, so I'll try that when I get a chance. Thanks for all the advice!

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  • 2 weeks later...

That looks like aluminum on your side steps (I can tell by the sharp edged diamonds in the pattern) and steel (smooth edged squared off diamonds) under the jump seats....aluminum can be buffed (will be hard on the buffing pad) and the steel needs silver paint. We used to mask off the red and apply the paint with a rag .....sponge brush might work as well..

Edited by markanello
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