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I'm buffing the years of built up dirt off a aluminum grain tipper trailer, using a woolen buffing pad mounted on a angle grinder. I'm going in a upwards & downwards motion with great success, however, that's the pattern it's leaving. 1st I thought I'll finish by doing a 2nd, lighter buff or polish in a sideways left/right direction.

But I've remembered advice of cleaning a motorbike frame, to only work in one direction (probably with the frame in the case of a motorbike).

How can I buff and polish aluminum to get the best finish, without leaving a pattern? (Directional buffing/polishing in particular.)

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  • $\begingroup$ Since the wheel always spins the same direction, moving the wheel in the same direction it's rotating and the opposite produce slightly different results. The two kinds of passes are referred to as color and cut respectively, in the world of buffing. Those search terms should help you find a more thorough explanation. $\endgroup$ – Ethan48 Jun 15 '15 at 12:46
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The vocabulary word you are looking for is "Color Buffing"; which is the final buffing process of polishing in a single direction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyOodLNI4BQ http://www.pjtool.com/buffing-polishing-terms.aspx http://expha.com/articles/13/

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I believe the random orbital sander tool was invented exactly for this - it slides/vibrates while it spins

This ensures that no single part of the abrasive material travels the same path twice during the same rotation. Because of this random sanding action, the tool does not leave swirl marks.

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