Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: 'burbs of Ft Lauderdale, FL
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No, It doesn't use paint. A chemical reaction with electricity, aluminum, sulfuric acid, and a type of dye changes the color of the very top surface of the metal and protects it from oxidation and wear.
It is also done without dye to protect the metal without changing the color of the surface.
It can also be done to titanium, magnesium, zinc, and niobium, with different procedures. I think for titanium, you just change the color by increasing voltage of electricity applied. I don't know about the procedures involved with the other metals.
edit: and yeah, use this method to polish them.
Do It Yourself (DIY)
I hear the black is a bit harder to get off though.