Monday, February 25, 2008

Center Vents - Sanding

I ordered some center vents from TomD for R2. They came with a sandblasted appearance. I really want my R2 to be a factory new shiny R2.
I will say this, the vents that TomD manufactured are fantastic. Everything came together quite well.
You can take a look at the comparison of the original vent on the right and the vent that has been sanded on the left.
Being my first aluminum part I have ever worked with I wasn't sure of the best way to get this working.

Here's my list of materials for the sanding process:

  1. Dremel tool (Lowes)
  2. 320 Grit sanding discs for dremel (Home Depot)
  3. Dremel Sanding Scrubby thingy... (I'll have to post a picture) this things was next to useless though. (Home Depot)
  4. 600 grit sanding paper. (Ace Hardware)
  5. 800 grit sanding paper. (Ace Hardware)
  6. 1500 grit sanding paper. (Ace Hardware)
  7. Mother's Aluminum polish (Walmart automotive aisle)
It's pretty straight forward about sanding. I attempted to use the scrubby thingy for the Dremel but it lasted all of three minutes before completely disintegrating away. Using the dremel and the 320 grit discs I went over the entire piece getting it as 'clean' as I possibly could. They nice thing about the parts was that they start to shine almost immediately. In doing this I noticed that you need to change the discs about every five minutes as they wear down very quickly.
Once the first pass was completed I initially tried to use the sanding paper but it didn't seem to work out as well so I ended up cutting strips of it off and then creating duplicates of the sanding discs. Using the polishing pieces to give it some strength I attached that to the dremel working all the way up to the 1500 grit. I think ended up sanding for a little over four hours in total for one vent including the louvers.