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Old 01-27-2013, 04:24 PM   #1
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Need help with finishing a bare metal surface

I'm really not all that sure where to put this, but it doesn't have to do with cars. Sorry mods. I am currently building a moped from the ground up and have since gotten stuck on the gas tank. The moped I'm currently building is a top tank frankenstein's monster of sorts, with parts from all sorts of different mopeds.

The plan was to sand down the gas tank I have and just paint it, but when I finally got it down to the metal it looked amazing (outside of a few dents and a small rust spot).

Here is my question. I am planning on keeping it with the metal exposed and maybe just clear coating it to prevent future rust. It was sanded down with I believe 100 grit sand paper and is really scratchy looking now. How should I go about getting it to a finished surface? I was planning on just sanding it and eventually getting up to a 500 grit and wet sanding it but I'm not all that sure of how it will look when it's all done. Should I buff it out or anything? If I do should I use wax on it? And what kind of clear coat do you guys think is best for just bare metal?


Here's a pic of the tank as it stands now:




Also, what's a good way to get rid of the dents since I won't be painting it? I was planning on just using bondo or something like that but I can't now. I've heard of filling it full of water and putting it in the freezer, but that will lead to the tank rusting out which is a pain.

I'm sorry again if this is in the wrong spot.


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Yeah, too many hatches. When the sedans take over, all will be good!
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:40 PM   #2
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Since you sanded it with a 100 grit, you can go to a higher grit slowly getting rid of the scratches. I believe you can gradually go to a higher grit to a 1000. Then use metal polish.

For the dents you can take it to a body shop, and have them pull out the dents. I believe they spot weld metal rods on it, and connect it to a dent puller. I'm sorry I'm no paint, and body genius. Hope this helps man, and keep me posted on your project! Sounds cool as hell.
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:41 PM   #3
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By the way, I LOVE LOVE LOVE bare metal looks.
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:47 PM   #4
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what he said on polishing the tank karyn. i polished the lip on my 10 holes with that method. just MAKE SURE YOU WET SAND. and keep it wet. you'll notice the water turning white and that means your doing it right. alot of elbow grease. i jacked the front of the car up and had someone tap on the gas instead of working my way around the wheel. Good luck!
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:58 PM   #5
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i jacked the front of the car up and had someone tap on the gas instead of working my way around the wheel. Good luck!
LOL NICE!!

I scratched up one of my stockers. The metal cover that's on the stock lug nuts was stripped, and I had to chisel it off to get to the actual steel nut.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:44 PM   #6
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For the dents you might try paintless dent repair. If they can get inside they may be able to work the dents out.
They will take a look at it and tell you up front if it can be done.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:09 PM   #7
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Thanks for the help guys! I'm trying to do it all on my own, it seems to be cheaper that way and I'm learning a whole lot that way as well. I guess I will try to roll the bigger dents out from the inside or something and if that doesn't work take it somewhere. I'm not completely set on making it perfect since the final outcome I want the bike to look like is ratty as hell. I still want it to look nice though if that makes sense.

Here's what I have so far, started with a frame that has been passed through multiple people in our local moped gang who have tried to restore it but haven't been able to. I spent a week sanding and bondoing the frame then sanding and primering it and it currently has it's first coat of matte black paint on it, soon to be clear coated.








Here's what I'm going for, although it will be quite different when I'm all done since my frame is hard-tailed with no shocks or swingarms.




And if you're interested, here's my other bike:

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Yeah, too many hatches. When the sedans take over, all will be good!
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:37 PM   #8
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Way to go man! Personally I've always loved the rat rod looks. At a car show in Galveston I've seen a 35 ford, or some thing like that. Rusted, had a guitar as a shifter, skinny tall tires on the back. Even the engine, and headers were rusted. It was sick as hell!

I'm glad we could help. If you need any thing else feel free to PM me.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:01 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the help man! I'll for sure post up pictures when it's coming together more like once I get the engine and all that jazz on there.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:04 PM   #10
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Bare metals, do not 'wet sand'.
The minerals in the water will rust/oxidize the surface faster. That means you'll have to sand the rust away repetitively. Dry sand only or use alcohol or mineral spirits as a wetting agent.

100 grit is pretty course. Unfortunately you'll have to work up to ~500 grit before you can use any type of rubbing compounds to smooth it further W/O the use of paper.

If you know what kind of finish you're looking for I can assist you further. Steel is very easy to mirror polish or get most any finish in-between.
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