Which machine polisher and Why? by TOGWT
Orbital Buffer or Rotary Polisher
There is a place for both a random orbital buffer and a high speed polisher in a detailer’s toolkit, once you are proficient with an orbital all that is required to ‘step-up\’ to the polisher is practice, practice and then more practice, which should be done on a scrap vehicle panel as opposed to your own or someone else’s vehicle
Sometimes a dual-action polisher just isn’t enough for really tough scratches and swirls. You need the cutting power of a rotary polisher to penetrate the clear coat and smooth over rough edges to restore your paint to its original flawless finish.
Porter-Cable – 7424XP
Safety – 9
Correcting time – 10
Correcting ability – 5
Learning curve -2
Flex – Flex XC3401VRG
Safety – 8
Correcting time – 9
Correcting ability – 7
Learning curve – 5
Rotary – Metabo PE-125
Safety – 3
Correcting time – 5
Correcting ability – 9
Learning curve – 8
Like all tools there is a learning curve with it, so first gain experience on a paint surface that doesn’t matter i.e. a scrap panel, practice until you feel confident enough in its use and capabilities to use it on your own vehicle.
Singular or Dual Controlled Component
The definition of a dual (two) action as opposed to a singular (one) action polisher-
a) A Single action machine (constant circular orbit (RPM) is one that has only one controlled component of a backing plate / pad. Due to its singular clockwise motion and high torque motor ( 10 Amp) it is able to produce friction while the operator applies pressure, allowing these machines to do a lot of work quickly i.e. 10 % faster at accomplishing the desired results than a Dual action machine forced rotation machine
b) A Dual-action machine (random elliptical orbit ( OPM) is one that has two controlled components of the backing plate / pad; orbiting around a centre spindle, while the baking plate/pad freely spins on its own axis. The backing plate mounting is off-center, as the drive rotates centrifugal force moves the backing plate in an elliptical motion, to balance this motion a counter weight is fitted to counteract machine vibration
c) A Forced Rotation Dual action machine has both a circular motion (RPM) and a direct drive orbital (OPM) motion with forced rotation, which means that the back plate rotates by a gear mechanism in a forced circular motion, as the backplate rotates it also oscillates in a random pattern. One action is the circular rotation and the second action is the random movement of the backing plate while it is rotating.
This type of motion is 50% faster at accomplishing the desired results than a Dual action machine. (What makes this type of movement ‘safe’ is the comparatively lower torque electric motor on these units, so that it\’s virtually impossible to apply too much-concentrated pressure in one place at one time. Chances are good that when too much pressure is applied, the oscillating action will come to a stop thereby protecting the finish.
1.Porter-Cable 7424 XP random orbital – at speed # 5 – 6 with a dual action polisher; Menzerna Super Intensive polish, LC White foam pad, 2 x 2-foot surface area, it takes approximately 10-12 passes to required to fully break down the polish.
2. Metabo PE12-175 rotary orbital – at 1200 RPM, Menzerna Super Intensive polish, LC White foam pad, 2 x 2-foot surface area, it takes approximately 8 – 10 passes to fully break down the polish.
The Flex XC 3401 VRG (7.5 Amp electric motor) would be the best option prior to stepping-up to a rotary polisher (Rotary 101, if you will); this tool was made for paint correction (used by EU car manufacturers, much like the Cyclo is in the for US production line paint correction) it is far superior in its paint correction abilities than a Porter-Cable (PC) Ultimate Detailing Machine (UDM) however it will not make paint corrections as fast or as thoroughly as a rotary polisher.
Like all tools, there is a learning curve with it, so first gain experience on a painted surface that doesn’t matter i.e. a scrap panel, practice until you feel confident enough in its use and capabilities to use it on your own vehicle. The immediate future in automotive clear coat paint is something very similar to CeramiClear i.e. very hard. The Flex has the ability to correct this type of hard paint, whereas a PC requires a quite a few passes to correct them, and also struggles to breakdown diminishing abrasives (something else that car care products are going over too) as it doesn\’t provide sufficient friction)
Porter-Cable 7424 XP (4.5 Amp electric motor) – a US power tool company, Porter-Cable established in 1914, began manufacturing an electrically operated Variable-Speed Random-Orbit Sander in the 1990s for the wood-working industry, now one of the most popular tools used by professional and enthusiast automotive detailers alike. Often known by the companies initials PC (Porter-Cable) but also called a ROB (random orbital buffer) or DA (dual action) polisher
The random orbital buffer gets is a name from the action of the buffer (or polishing head) This operates by the shaft rotating and spinning the back plate on an orbit radius or an eccentric offset (or throw) of 5/32-inch as opposed to a revolution on a direct-drive system, and within this eccentric orbit it also rotates in very small circles
The random orbital buffer operates with variable speed, user-adjustable, from 2,500 – 6,000 orbits per minute. (Speed # 1-5 also have a half speed setting) The application of detailing products with a random orbital has the advantage of ensuring an even pressure and constant contact speed, mimicking free hand motion but at a far greater speed. By allowing the weight and the random motion of the machine do the work, thus ensuring that the product is applied in a thin even layer, and will allow products to get embedded deeper into the paint film surface\’s porosity.
Apply wax or polish at speed 3, remove polish at speed 5-5.5 (I would not advice using speed 6 for long periods due to heat generated to the Velcro® on the backing plate may cause delaminating of the glue that adheres the Velcro® to the foam pad. A random orbital buffer won\’t leave swirl or buffer marks on your paint. That\’s because it doesn\’t spin like a rotary nor does it have the rotaries speed or power. The elliptical motion mimics hand movements, only much, much faster.
The random orbital buffer gets is name from the action of the buffer (or polishing head) This operates by the shaft rotating and spinning the back plate on an orbit radius or an eccentric offset (or throw) of 5/32-inch as opposed to a revolution on a direct-drive system, and within this eccentric orbit it also rotates in very small circles After using a high-speed rotary polisher use a random orbital buffer at speed #3 and Zaino Z-AIO, which will provide extra depth and added gloss
Pros- the random orbital buffer is manufactured as a sanding machine, but can be adapted as a very safe polishing machine, as it lacks the power to burn the paint. It is very easy to use and is ideal for very minor paint correction and the application of car care products
Cons- it lacks the power to produce the kinetic (or dynamic) friction required to breakdown the diminishing abrasives in polishes designed for hard clear coats and/or paint correction/renovation, although it could be used for this purpose utilizing 4-inch foam pads to increase surface friction/heat it is very time consuming
It is my intent to educate, based on five-plus decades of experience; passing on to my readers the dynamics that take place; the cause and effect not just “ How” it works, but also “Why” it works Author of “Automotive Detailing, Inside & Out; a Knowledge Base for the Perfectionist “ and a series of 110 in-depth, unbiased detailing articles www.togwt.com/