Finishing methods for Aluminium

A question about how people clean / polish / treat their Aluminium parts once machined.

Assuming I don’t have an anodising plant in my shed, what do people here do to clean off the original dull faces from Aluminium plate and then corrosion protect it? I have machined mating faces so I’d rather avoid paint if I can.

I’ve had a little success with making my first Aluminium parts on the Shapeoko, machining finish is good enough for now (until I get my linear rails installed) but I’ve avoided facing most of the parts so they’ve still got the original dull and marked face from the 10mm plate;

I faced this one, it’s OK but I need to tram the machine again to get it flatter and it still wants some sort of corrosion protection;

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To clean un-machined stock I use a scotch bright disk in my angle die grinder and it works great followed by a simple clear coat to keep the shine. It leaves a very light brushed finish depending on how coarse of a pad used and amount of pressure applied.

Palm sanders work well too!

Aluminum wheel polish is also a great paint free option.

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Did some name plates recently, you can see them here:
https://community.carbide3d.com/t/executive-name-plate-x3/25887
polished the aluminum with wet/dry 300, 500, 600, 800, 1000, 1500 and finally 2000. Wanted to keep that beautiful shine so I sprayed with Dupli-Color Wheel Gloss Clear Coat, which is holding up very well!

But I think the smooth faces on my project were probably easier to poilish.

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What about putting it in a tumbler? HF has big ones for $120 and depending on the media you can handle aggressive or fine polishing.

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