A lot of folks ask how to give their Ti frame the same luster it came with when I shipped it out...dirt, grime and general abuse tend to give it that lonely step child look.
So, I thought I'd show you a few snippets of how it gets it's finish to begin with.
All the pieces are diligently rubbed, washed, and chemically prepped/cleaned with Acetone before assembly.
Once all melted together, the item gets a rough sanding with 180 grit shop roll, consistently moving back and forth perpendicular to the length of the tube.
As any scratches in Ti will show up like a unibrow on a supermodel, I move on to 400, 600, and finally 1000 grit paper to insure all is even and smooth.
Even with the most anal cleanliness procedures, there is still a vague discoloration in the HAZ (heat affected zone) around the edges of the weld zone...kinda light straw or tan in color. This is caused by some of the surface contaminants being pushed out and away by the shielding gas, ending up on the edge of the gas coverage. To get rid of this slight discoloration and to give an even appearance to the product, it's off to the blast cabinet.
I use a 40/20 glass bead just for Ti, as it is a nice consistency to give an even surface and gently shiny appearance.
Once the bar enters the cabinet, the latex gloves go on and bare skin no longer touches the Ti...
then it's off to polish up the final finish. I use a Red Scotchbrite pad, once again moving perpendicular to the length of the tube to bring out the final shine. Want greater shine? Next use a green and then the ultra fine white pads...
After rubbing it down with the Scotchbrite pad, the Ti gets a coat of wax/polish to keep the oils and fingerprints off and Whalaa!
A single bar takes about 30 minutes to finish, a frame takes MUCH longer :)
I'll be in the paint booth the rest of the day...see y'all tomorrow!