Seems like every time I do this I have to figure out what works all over again… well, here’s what works. Now I just have to remember to look here first.
Step one: sanding disk on die grinder. Takes out major surface marks and scratches, and removes paint and adhesives.
Step two: hand sanding with 150 grit sandpaper (one direction only). Gives you a rough “brushed” finish.
Step three: wet hand sanding with 400 (one direction only) Gives you a finer finish.
Step four: glass bead blasting. Generally this will not remove all the “brushed” look, but it smooths and polishes the surface.
Step five: polishing compound with buffer. Makes it shiny.
Step six: Wash with hot water and soap, then treat with AMSOIL Miracle Wash (waterless cleaning/polishing spray). This cleans any aluminum dust and polishing compound, and the AMSOIL gives you a nice protective coating.