If you’ve ever happened upon a raw sheet of aluminum in your workplace, you may not think anything unusual… or that perhaps a piece of scrap escaped from the machine shop. What you may not consider is how the surface can be finished to a near reflective material finish with an array of sanding pads and a little elbow grease.
This is exactly what YouTube channel Skills and Trade has done. Taking various grits of sandpaper, they’ve taken an ordinary sheet of aluminum and polished it to a mirror finish. Have a look:
After spraying the aluminum with Alumicut lubricant, they waste no time sanding down the aluminum sheet. Starting off with
They move on to 400-grit sandpaper before making another pass with the same 400-grit paper, this time with an air face pad to smooth out the lines produced from all the sanding. This sanding process with an air face pad continues with the 800-grit and 1,500-grit sandpaper, coupled with a few more sprays of Alumicut lubricant.
Once the aluminum gets a taste of the 3,000-grit sandpaper, the metal’s appearance becomes more like a reflective mirror than a material you use for soda cans. As always, spraying Alumicut while sanding the metal makes it easier to work with and helps make it more reflective (you can even see the reflection of a wire off of the aluminum now).
Sanding with 5,000-grit sandpaper finalizes the mirror finish on the aluminum sheet. To clean it and make it shine, they apply a generous amount of aluminum polish, polishing the metal until it’s as shiny as a bald eagle’s scalp. They polish the metal with two coats of aluminum polish before applying a sealant to protect the surface.
If you would rather make your own reflective surface than buy a mirror, this is definitely one way to go about it. The aluminum sheet is far sturdier than a plate of glass and the sealant ensures you’ll be looking at yourself through this metal for years to come.
Skills and Trade
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