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Machine Polishing 101

Old 10-12-2004, 07:25 AM
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Machine Polishing 101

This thread is designed for those of us who want to get familiar with using a rotary or circular polisher. However, I must stress that these machines are very powerful and can damage the paint if you are not careful.

First, let's start by clarifying what a rotary is. Rotaries are machines that are generally designed for sanding but can be adapted for the purpose of polishing.

Examples of these machines include:

Makita 9227c


DeWalt DW849:


Porter Cable 7428:
http://www.properautocare.com/porcab74cirp.html

Vector Professional Circular Polisher:
http://www.properautocare.com/veprcipo.html

Fein Professional Polisher

Metabo Polisher

Chicago Electric Rotary Polisher
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Old 11-14-2004, 08:24 PM
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on how damaging they can be. I'd only reccomend them to people with experience. Ive used them in the shop somewhat more now, and all I can say is make sure you have every edge taped off, cause these things will eat through paint fast, not to mention how easy it is to burn through the clear coat.

I actually prefer the PC 7424 over a rotary, mainly because I have more control and It seems to do just as good of a job as rotary with the right products. I also can take my time on certain spots and not worry about heating up the clear coat.

Just my opinion.
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Old 11-22-2004, 10:27 AM
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BlueC made an interesting segue into my next point. The reason these machines can be damaging is their rotational speed. For most polishing tasks, you really don't need to exceed 1000-1500 RPM.

Another thing is the choice of pad. Many pads can cause damage because they may be too aggressive. Also, control of these machines can be a challenge if you don't have the necessary experience.

To garner that experience, I recommend getting a part (hood) from a junkyard to practice on or someone's car that they won't mind you practicing on.
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Old 12-19-2004, 11:26 AM
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A compound and polish with a rotary can produce excellent results, but you must be very carefull when using them. You can burn through edges easily, especially on bumper covers. You can also swirl up your paint pretty bad if you don't use the right pads and materials. Work on small areas at a time and overlap your work. Never stop in one spot, always keep the machine moving! Always buff off of an edge, meaning the pad should be rotating off of the edge, not twards it. You'll never burn an edge that way. Seams where bumber covers meet the body and pannels meet other pannels (ie. door to fender) should be buffed longways along the seam, not across them.

A wool pad used with compound is very agressive and should only be used after wet sanding or on very poor surfaces. Buffing speed with a wool pad should be around ~1000 RPM's.

A yellow foam waffle pad used for a compound is less agressive and usually cleans up minor oxidation and produces a nice clean finish. The yellow foam waffle pad will put more of a shine on your finish when it's used with a good compound. The buffer can be run at ~1500 RPM's with a yellow foam waffle pad.

A black foam waffle pad is very soft and should be used with a swirl mark remover (polish) as the last step to remove any swirl marks that may be left by the yellow pad compound. The buffer can be run at ~1500 RPM's with a black foam pad.

Be sure to use good products when cleaning your paint. We use 3M products at the body shop. Perfect It III compound followed by a black pad with 3M's swirl mark remover will give you a beautifull glass like finish when done correctly. Even black comes up perfect with these products. Remember to put a coat of Carnuba wax (by hand) on your newly restored finish to seal it. Always follow the application directions on the products your using.

These are the basic steps to restore your finish using a rotory buffer:

On very poor finishes or after wet sanding new paint -
Wool pad compound, ~1000 RPM's followed by a yellow foam pad compound @ ~1500 RPMs to bring up a shine followed by a black foam pad used with a swirl mark remover @ ~1500 RPM's. If your cars finish is in pretty good shape, but just needs a good deep cleaning start with the yellow foam waffle pad compound and then proceed to the black pad with a swirl mark remover. Remember to seal your new finish with a good quality Carnuba wax.

The Makita is a very good machine, it's buffing speed range goes from 600 RPMs up to 3000 RPMs. You should never be above 2500 RPM's when your working on automotive finishes. Some buffers don't go down as low as 600 RPMs as the Makita does. It's also nice and light which makes it easier to control. The trigger is variable so you can slowly spin up to your set buffing speed. This comes in handy so you don't spray the buffing compounds all over the place as you spread the material onto the area your working on.
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Old 12-19-2004, 02:37 PM
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nj: The Makita goes from 600 rpm - 3000 rpm.
I think the DeWalts go from 1000 - 3000 rpm.
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Old 12-20-2004, 06:53 PM
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I'll have to check that tomorrow when I'm at work.

EDIT: I stand corrected! The speed dial goes from 1 - 9, buffing speeds through that range are from 600 - 3000 RPM's. I'll edit my post, thanks for pointing that out Prinz.
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Old 12-20-2004, 11:34 PM
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Ive been always told to stay around 1800 for polishing. I would think 2500 is kind of an overkill. But I suppose with experience, it works well.
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Old 01-12-2005, 05:58 AM
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I am going to turn this thread into a general machine polishing thread so that I can include the Porter Cable 7424, 7336, and Cyclo Polishers.
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Old 03-01-2005, 08:38 PM
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: puts on flame retardant vest: I have some cheap Turtle Wax machine, but I'm not sure if it's rotary or circular. I got it for my birthday, but I don't think it could have cost more than $100. Am I doing more harm than good by using it, or is it too weak to do much harm? :keeps vest on:

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Old 03-05-2005, 01:10 PM
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Those cheap *** "random orbit" polishers are only good for putting on wax, or removing product. They don't have the power/speed to really work the product like a good D/A machine (PC 7424/7336 etc) does.

I have a "Waxmaster" random orbital polisher that I have discovered is totally worthless after I bought my PC 7424 and the right pads. For the average enthusiast detailer, buying a rotary should be towards the bottom of the priority list, imo. I have used a PC to fix some seriously swirled/oxidized finishes with the right pad and a lot of Meguiars Dual Action Cleaner/Polish.
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Old 03-21-2005, 12:06 PM
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I have recently become the proud owner of a Porter Cable 7336 which is a very sweet machine in its own right. I will pass on anything I can to you guys as I am using it.
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Old 04-28-2005, 04:35 AM
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nj: I have used 3M pads and Sonus pads with the rotary. I just got some Edge pads to play with for the rotary. I can't wait to try them out.
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Old 05-03-2005, 01:50 PM
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I recently polished my car with the PC 7336 and have used poorboys products and propel pads. These can be purchased at www.exceldetail.com They ship really quickly and also have reasonable prices. These are the products and steps that I use personally.

1)Wash car with dish detergent to get rid of wax/dirt

2)clay car after rinse, rinse again and dry with The Absorber.

3)Apply Poorboy's SSR2.5 polish with a propel green cutting pad(medium cut) Buff with microfiber towel

4) Apply Poorboy's SSR1 with a propel blue cutting pad(light cut) Buff with microfiber towel

5) Apply Poorboy's EX-P sealant with a propel black pad (no cut). Leave it on for 30 min then, that's right, buff with microfiber towel

6) Finish up by apply some S100 paste wax by hand to give it the extra shine. Buff with microfiber towel

7) Take pics and enjoy taht shine

Here's a webpage with good hints
http://www.exceldetail.com/Howtos.html#anchor_22

One important part of the process is to actually crank your machine up to 6 for that final pass to actually start polishing. Even at 5 you won't be taking off much. Hope this helps. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail or IM if you're iffy about polishing.
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Old 05-06-2005, 01:33 PM
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Very nice thread indeed. Prince Thanks to you I ended up spending about $350 on new cleaning supplies along with a 7336. Cant wait to detail the maxima and I30 pertty soon if it stops raining here in Atlanta.
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Old 05-10-2005, 03:50 PM
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But you'll love the end results when finished.
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Old 08-28-2005, 09:00 AM
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I just added the Chicago Electric Rotary to the list of machines because there are a lot of folks who will buy one because they are reasonably priced (As of this post, they are currently $29.99, normally $49.99).

There are two things about the Chicago Electric to note. First, it does come with a velcro backing plate but it is a hard plate. I would wholeheartedly recommend replacing that with a flexible backing plate. Second, these machines will bog down under load but the speed range is wider than the Makita (300 RPM - 3000 RPM). You can order one through www.harborfreight.com or visit the store if you have one in the area.

I am also going to add the DeWalt 443 Orbital to the Random Orbital list. I just tried one out for the first time and noticed it has some serious cajones.
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Old 10-14-2005, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by BlueC
I actually prefer the PC 7424 over a rotary, mainly because I have more control and It seems to do just as good of a job as rotary with the right products. I also can take my time on certain spots and not worry about heating up the clear coat.
whats a PC 7424????????????????
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Old 10-14-2005, 04:50 PM
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Old 10-14-2005, 08:22 PM
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One of the most common complaints is that people sometimes don't get the results they want when machine polishing. Here are a few tips:

a) ALWAYS use the right polish for your finish. In other words, size up your finish before buying a polish. More oft than not, some people will either use too light of a polish which will have virtually no effect on a moderately swirled finish or too aggressive a polish/pad and introduce a lot of marring which will add more work. For example, I used Meguiar's Dual Action Cleaner Polish and the Sonus Yellow cutting pad on my uncle's '36 Ford and it got rid of a lot of swirling.

b) Many polishes require the user to work them in thoroughly. That means many polishes have to be worked in to the point that they look like they are disappearing or dusting. The reason for this is that you want to break down the abrasives in your polish so that you can get the desired results.

c) If you are using a rotary, do not exceed 1500 RPM...EVER.
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Old 01-29-2006, 03:49 AM
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got a stupid question here...
i am looking for a polisher... after i read all the thead about it something doesn't make scence....
if PC 7336/7242 is a good mechine for detailing, how come it's RPM range is 3000-6000 OPM?? if the best speed is around 1000-1500???
it can't even go that low....
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Old 01-30-2006, 06:47 AM
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I believe 7336/7242 No-load OPM is 2,500-6,000, however the best speed for a rotary would be 1000-1500, different animals there. Rotary vs DA.
Hope that helps.



Porter-Cable 7335, 7336, 7424
The Skinny on the Sander / Car Polisher Systems....
http://www.coastaltool.com/cgi-bin/S...ad4+1138732868
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Old 01-30-2006, 11:21 AM
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so u mean PC is not the best mechine for polish...
i am looking for a mechine polisher and got a decine price for a beginer...
any thing recommanded? starts from 1000 OPM...
oh yah by the way what is DA? sorry i am totally new to dis...
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Old 01-31-2006, 06:41 AM
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PC is fine for polishing, the Rotary is more advanced
the DA= Dual Action of the PC=Porter Cable is the best route for a beginnner. Don't focus on the OPM, what matters is the action. You can really mess up your paint with a Rotary if you don't practice first. The PC moves in a way that will allow you to polish with little fear of serious damage.

http://www.automagic.biz/StreamingVi...heticut-HI.wmv
or
http://www.guidetodetailing.com/arti...leId=31&page=8
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Old 10-21-2006, 09:41 AM
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Are oscillating polishers any good?
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Old 12-10-2006, 10:34 AM
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not for actually polishing, you need heat and cutting power for binging out oxidation and scratches, not reccomended for the beginner but very effective. I've ran my own Detailing business for 5 years now and am automotive international certified. I would be happy to give advice on techniques to anyone who needs it.

Cutting power varies from pad to pad and compund to compound
for a beginner try to use the least abrasive compound first to learn then move up to the heavier compounds these will be the ones removing scratches and oxidation. Pads vary from wool to foam and other synthetics that all have diffrent purposes. wool is very easy to leave swirl marks with where foam is much more forgiving.

You must also remember to buff evenly and carefully, one good buff is all you need and easy to maintain afterwards, the clearcoat is only so thick and all of the UV blockers that prevent fading and oxidation are in the first 5 thousandth of an inch and a good buff usually removes 1 thousandth every time, obviously not everyone has a laser paint depth gauge so just start slow and be diligent.

If anyone has any questions just email
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Old 12-10-2006, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by lalaMAX
so u mean PC is not the best mechine for polish...
i am looking for a mechine polisher and got a decine price for a beginer...
any thing recommanded? starts from 1000 OPM...
oh yah by the way what is DA? sorry i am totally new to dis...
Da means dual-action meaning it spins and oscilates at the same time rather than just spining. usuall in sander form sometimes in cheap home "buffers" that dont do anything but spread and remove wax poorly.
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Old 11-15-2007, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by PMONT View Post
Da means dual-action meaning it spins and oscilates at the same time rather than just spining. usuall in sander form sometimes in cheap home "buffers" that dont do anything but spread and remove wax poorly.
You are correct. Examples of DA machines include:

- Porter Cable 7424 (5" counterweight)
- Porter Cable 7336 (6" counterweight)
- Cyclo Polisher
- DeWalt 443
- The Ultimate Detailing Machine
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Old 11-15-2007, 03:36 PM
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BTW, my rotary count is 2 with the purchase of a Porter Cable 7428.
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:32 PM
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What would you guys recommend for someone just starting to use a machine polisher? This will be my first time using one, so I need one that is simple to use.
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Old 01-02-2008, 05:04 PM
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Qnz: The PC 7336 or 7424 is a good starter machine.
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Old 01-02-2008, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by PrinzII View Post
Qnz: The PC 7336 or 7424 is a good starter machine.
The Ultimate Detailing Machine is also a good deal.
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Old 01-04-2008, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by PrinzII View Post
Qnz: The PC 7336 or 7424 is a good starter machine.

Thanks Prinz. I will definitely look into them both.
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:13 PM
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I have a little detail experience, and am now an owner of the DeWalt above. I love it. It is pretty heavy, however. Question: I need to know a good process to renew my black finish. I have light scratches, but I'm a little chicken to pull out the wool pad. Also, need some good polish reccomendations. please
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Old 04-20-2008, 02:10 PM
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thankfull

i was thinking about getting a polisher but after reading all this i dont think id be able to do it with out screwing up my car. And do they make alot more of a difference than a normal cloth?
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:49 PM
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Nobody has mentioned the Milwaulkee 7' rotary polisher/sander. I have one that I got from Home Depot years back for ~$200. The speed dial is adjustable but I have to look up the specs on it to see how fast shes spinning.
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Old 07-01-2008, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by maximabebe View Post
Nobody has mentioned the Milwaulkee 7' rotary polisher/sander. I have one that I got from Home Depot years back for ~$200. The speed dial is adjustable but I have to look up the specs on it to see how fast shes spinning.
I'm a relative Noob to properly detailing a car but I know that unless you really know what you're doing you can do more harm than good with a rotary. The Milwaukee that you mentioned is mainly for professionals who know how not to burn the paint with it but for the vast majority of users something like the PC 7424 is a better tool because a Random Orbital doesn't generate the really fast RPM and heat of a rotary.
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Old 07-02-2008, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by White Shadow View Post
I'm a relative Noob to properly detailing a car but I know that unless you really know what you're doing you can do more harm than good with a rotary. The Milwaukee that you mentioned is mainly for professionals who know how not to burn the paint with it but for the vast majority of users something like the PC 7424 is a better tool because a Random Orbital doesn't generate the really fast RPM and heat of a rotary.
Well, thankfully I know how to use it as I have owned it for about 7 years. Heres a sample of how not to burn your paint...
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Old 07-02-2008, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by maximabebe View Post
Well, thankfully I know how to use it as I have owned it for about 7 years. Heres a sample of how not to burn your paint...
Obviously you know what you're doing with it! Very nice. I'm working on getting my Pearl White to look like that using the PC. It's been neglected for almost 10 years so my work is cut out for me.
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:53 PM
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After researching...the PC 7424 sounds like the best choice for me (and any other beginner)...think I'm gonna order one.
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