Grind aluminum

Like any other metal, aluminum can also be machined mechanically. However, there are peculiarities to consider that distinguish aluminum clearly from other metals such as steel or stainless steel. Below you will find information on grinding aluminum and what to pay attention to.

Aluminum is not like other metals

In principle, you can process aluminum naturally like any other metal. However, aluminum has significant differences, especially compared to ferrous metals. For example, the magnetization of aluminum poses a problem. To recognize important differences, a look at basic aluminum properties is enough:

  • a very soft light metal
  • a four times higher thermal conductivity than ferrous metals
  • forms on the surface in air (oxygen) immediately an oxidation layer

Since aluminum is very soft, it lubricates accordingly strong when sanding. However, there may be differences, because depending on the existing aluminum alloy your aluminum can be relatively hard.

Sanding until high gloss compaction

That aluminum is so soft, it predestined but also for massive compression. Although the polishing of aluminum, although the refinement of the grinding, but at the same time leads to a massive compaction of the surface. As a result, the gloss can lead from dull to glossy. The high gloss reaches close to the chrome plating of aluminum.

Grind aluminum and the oxidation layer

Depending on the task, the grinding can also be used to remove the oxide layer on the aluminum, for example, if you want to weld the aluminum. But then you have to remember that this oxide layer re-forms within a few minutes in the air (due to contact with oxygen). Especially when gluing aluminum, this can be a problem.

Do not previously use abrasive material for other metals

Although aluminum forms only an oxidation layer on the surface and can not corrode like ferrous metals. However, metal chips or grinding debris thus incorporated into the aluminum can lead to rusting under the oxide layer.

Therefore, only abrasive material should be used with which only aluminum is processed. The separate storage from the workplace is therefore strongly advised.

Procedure when grinding aluminum

Otherwise, grind aluminum as you would with any other metal. Depending on the condition and the task, start with a grain size of 80 to 100 and refine the grain with each further step. At least from grain size 300 to 400 you should then switch to wet sanding paper. But whether wet or dry sandpaper is ultimately a matter of faith.

Sanding to paint aluminum

For example, if you want to sand to paint an aluminum sheet, make sure that you sand off the old paint, but not the primer completely. Otherwise, the oxide layer is formed again. Otherwise, the same materials and tools used to grind aluminum as when grinding other metals.

Tips & Tricks

When filing aluminum, the special features of the light metal have to be considered. Follow the link and learn how to file aluminum correctly.

Video Board: 3 Tips for Aluminum - Tig Welding And Grinding