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Topic: Cleaning Aluminum Cups
Message: Posted by: Shalin (Sep 3, 2005 08:56PM)
I just recently got a set of Aluminum Cups and Balls, and they have a few small black ares on them. The outside is a shiny chrome, but there are small black spots on some ares. Any ideas on what to use to clean these off? I have not used anything on them yet and they are new.

Message: Posted by: deerbourne (Sep 3, 2005 10:22PM)
Bon Ami should work, but test it first. It says, "Hasn't scratched yet" but try it on the inside first to make sure it doesn't scratch the finish..

Message: Posted by: Shalin (Sep 3, 2005 10:29PM)
I have something called "Bar Keeper's Friend", is this safe to use? It is a powder that comes in a can, and it says it is not safe on anodized aluminum, but it is ok on regular aluminum. Are my Empire cups anodized? I do no know what "anodized" means and it does not say on my cups box if they are or not.
Message: Posted by: Ragiv (Sep 3, 2005 10:38PM)
So you did buy the Aluminum eh, Shalin? How do they feel?
Message: Posted by: Ragiv (Sep 3, 2005 11:01PM)
By the way...how can they need cleaning if you have only had them for about 2 days?
Message: Posted by: RiserMagic (Sep 3, 2005 11:35PM)
The black spots might be some of the polishing compound used to buff the cups. Try rinsing them off with a soft rag dampened with paint thinner.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Sep 3, 2005 11:40PM)
Maybe they came in less then perfect condition. I've received cups of all prices where I had to put in some elbow grease to clean them up.

(Some worse than other's)
Message: Posted by: Jerrine (Sep 4, 2005 06:09AM)
I've always cleaned aluminum with lava soap and a soft cloth. Use cold water, go with the grain, and you got yourself some shine. I don't know squat about aluminum cups or if there is a finish you wouldn't want to mess with.
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Sep 4, 2005 08:56AM)
I use baking soda, on a damp cloth or sponge, so it doesn't scratch the surface.
Message: Posted by: Shalin (Sep 4, 2005 09:59AM)
The aluminum cups are alright. They are a little light, but they work fine for my first set.The cups came with 4 knit balls and a little carrying bag. The cups are made by Loftus, and it says "Empire" on the box. I thought baking soda hurts aluminum, but I am not sure. I will try using paint thiner, soap, and baking soda all on the inside first to see what works. I just hope none of these hurt the finish on the cups.

Message: Posted by: Shalin (Sep 4, 2005 02:11PM)
I tried everything, and nothing happened. The cups still have all the spots, and none of the cleaners did anything. Any other ideas?
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Sep 4, 2005 02:22PM)
I hate to have to say this, but you might have to take them back to Houdini's.

A good part about "Brick and Mortar" stores rather than internet shops is that you can inspect the merchandise first. Since you were there, and had cash in hand, there should have been no reason you couldn't open the box and check them out first.

They are probably lacquered, otherwise your hands will constantly turn black from the oxidized aluminum. If the stains are in the finish, no amount of cleaning will help. If you buff so much that you break through the finish, not only will you have a permanent mess to deal with, but the store will no longer take them back.
Message: Posted by: Shalin (Sep 4, 2005 03:34PM)
I think the stains are in the finish, so should I take them back? The policy states that there are no returns or exchanges. I guess I am stuck with them.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Sep 4, 2005 03:53PM)
As much as they may argue, that doesn't hold true for defective merchandise. You're not exchanging for another trick, and you're not returning them to get your money back.

Take them back.
Message: Posted by: Shalin (Sep 4, 2005 03:57PM)
Alright, I will go and try,if I can find the receipt... :cry:
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Sep 4, 2005 05:10PM)
Just an idea, but would anyone suggest using a buffing or cleaning wheel attached to a grinder? I know that you can use one for aluminum to 'clean up' and brighten or 'dull' the finish.

I have a set of Ickle Pickle "3 Ring" cups that I've been thinking of cleaning- so my post hopefully will help both Shalin and myself. My cups have a good interior, but the exterior has many scratches, etc.

I'm just not sure if the wheel will make them better, or worse.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Sep 4, 2005 07:26PM)
Mr. Muggle, I'm guessing it will make the problem much worse than it already is. Once you buff through the protective coating, the cups will never look the same again. Aluminum oxidizes when it's exposed to air. That explains the black smudge on your hands when you handle uncoated aluminum. Once you break through the coating, it'll start oxidizing, but only in those exposed places, causing a blotchy look.

Also, Shalin is 15, and has already spent all he had for these cups. It's doubtful he can afford a failed experiment, even assuming he has access to a buffer and the proper polishing compounds.

These cups are brand new. His best bet now is to exchange them while he still can.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Sep 4, 2005 10:14PM)
Thanks Dave, atleast I leant something. I wasn't aware of the finish issue or the oxidization.

Shalin, I agree with Dave that returning the cups shouldn't be a problem. Your returning them because they are defective and the finish is bad. If they give you a hard time I suggest having your parents call for you. The only thing that might happen is they may ask you to pay to ship the cups back to them, so you'll have to more than likely spend a few dollars on postage. Some store's are better than other's and I'm not sure how the dealer is that you purchased from. In my expierence I've both paid and not paid for a store's error- again it all depends on the store.

I wouldn't worry about the receipt, they should have it in their system (I'd just contact them ASAP). You might want to check if your parents paid for you; they might have a cancelled or duplicate check and/or a credit card reference for the transaction.

Keep us posted and I hope it works out.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Sep 5, 2005 01:02AM)
Do not use Bartender's Friend on your aluminum cups. The black spots you see are residue from the spinning process. Soap and water should remove them. If that doesn't work, use Simichrome polish.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Sep 5, 2005 02:30AM)
Does this work with cups that are "sealed" in some way, like lacquered cups? Or do these particular cups (Loftus/Empire) not have a coating?
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Sep 5, 2005 11:09AM)
The Uday cups do not have a lacquered finish as far as I know. Usually they just buff them to a high finish. This is very thin aluminum, and it can be damaged by trying to use grinders, buffing wheels and stuff like that.

The chances of any other set being any better are slim and none. I don't want to belittle the cups or their maker, but they are basically the metal cups that are on the bottom rung of the C&B ladder. They are "learner" cups. Just use them, and unless they are really ugly looking, they should be fine.

I personally inspect every set of cups I sell. If they have anything other than the most minor of surface scratches, I let the purchaser know ahead of time and I discount the cups if they decide to buy them.

But in the case of these cups from Houdini's, just accept them as they are and learn on them. Those little black spots will make that first dent hurt much less.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Sep 5, 2005 01:50PM)
On 2005-09-05 12:09, Bill Palmer wrote:
[...]Those little black spots will make that first dent hurt much less.


Very true, good point.
Message: Posted by: Shalin (Sep 5, 2005 05:37PM)
I suppose Bill is right. It is my first set and I will just start learning with these. Once I get better, I will try and upgrade to something better and heavier. Thank you all for your helpful advice!