Yesterday I have spent my whole day learning and understanding about rotary polishers, pads and how to properly use them. I have gathered some information and would like to share with you all. Kindly note, these information are taking from popular detailing websites and forums that I believed to be helpful. They are not written by me nor I have experience with the rotary machine yet. However, I have understood lots things and I'm confident that I can handle it. Credits are fulfilled in the end.
ABOUT CAR POLISHERS
What I have came through is, beginners or those who are new to machine polishing should not be starting with rotary polishers.
The drive unit used in a rotary machine is referred to as a direct drive. What this means is the auger, (the threaded part to which the backing plate attaches), is driven directly off the electric motor. This results in a powerful rotating motion. Because the rotary buffer is a direct drive machine, it can do a lot of work very quickly. By work means, the rotary buffer will remove paint
The rotary can be used as a very effective tool for paintwork correction. In the wrong hands it can produce spectacularly poor results as we all too often see! At best swirl marks and holograms can be imparted and at worst burn through or destruction of painted panels. The latter is fortunately rare and the rotary operator has to ignore clear warning signs for this to occur. Using a rotary buffer correctly requires skill, good technique, and experience. Don't expect or even try to learn how to use a rotary buffer on any vehicle that is important to you. Instead, find an old junker, or go to a wrecking yard and find the hood off a junked car to learn and practice on.
Now for the beginners or newcomer, there are machines called Dual-action polishers and Orbital buffers. The motors and drive units on these two types of polisher's oscillate in an eccentric circular motion. This type of motion is much safer to the paint because 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.
Because these types of machines oscillate instead of rotate, they will not instill the dreaded buffer swirls or holograms into your finish as long as you use the appropriate chemicals, buffing pads and bonnets. This safety feature makes these machines highly popular with enthusiasts who would like to use a machine but at the same time, are afraid of burning or inflicting swirls into their car's finish.
Dual-action polishers and Orbital buffers do not have an aggressive enough action to remove small particles of paint in an effort to remove most defects, including sanding marks. This is the same reason Dual-action polishers and Orbital buffers are safe… they don’t have an aggressive action, thus they are safe. However, because they are safe (do not have an aggressive action), they are not aggressive enough to remove all but the finest of scratches.
Do not purchase a dual action polisher or orbital buffer hoping to use these to remove major or even minor scratches, as they are just not aggressive enough. They can often be used to remove fine or shallow scratches and swirls, but they will not remove any scratch that is deep enough to place your fingernail into.
Lets compare polishers vs manual process
* Depending on the procedure, machines are nearly twice as fast as your hands.
* Machines are much less fatiguing to your hands, arms, and back.
* Dual-Action Polishers and Orbital buffers apply a thinner coat that's easier to wipe off.
* Dual-Action Polishers and Orbital buffers spread polishes and waxes more evenly, for more uniform results.
* Machines do a better job of cleaning deeper and removing surface defects and oxidation more thoroughly.
* Machines are better at removing swirls.
* Machines force more polishing oils into the surface, for deeper gloss and reflections.
* Machines are more effective at removing serious defects than your hand.
HOW TO USE ROTARY POLISHERS First things first, always wear safety goggles, respiratory mask, ear plugs before using power tools.
This is not a complete guide - that only comes from practice.
1. Spend time centering the pad on the backing plate of the rotary – spin it at a low speed such as 600 rpm to ensure it is properly centered. Higher speeds can give the illusion the pad is centered as the centrifugal forces force the foam out slightly making it appear more central.
2. For a right handed user hold the handle of the rotary in the right hand and then hold the auxiliary or D handle with the left hand as seen below:
3. The rotary should be moved with the right arm and the left hand should only be used to hold the head to the paintwork and apply little or no pressure. Practice one handed to ensure you are using the right arm to move the polisher.
4. The rotary should be moved from left to right in an arc. By moving it to the right it naturally moves upwards. By moving to the left it naturally arcs downwards. With practice this arc movement will become second nature. The arm should move slowly and smoothly keeping the pad flat to the paint at all times. On curved panels this isn't possible so more focus on smooth non jerky arm movements is essential.
5. Spray a dry pad with detailers spray or QD and work it onto a panel until the pad is warm and slightly moist!
6. Only apply very small amounts of polish. Some polishes like Menzerna Ceramiclear are very well lubricated and take a long time to break down so only a tiny amount is needed. Apply the small amount in a cross shape on the pad but only very thin lines and a 20 pence size amount is ample to prime the pad with even smaller amounts needed afterwards.
7. Pressure. How much pressure to apply to the head of the polisher is difficult to say a text document and will vary according to defects. For those DA polisher users coming to a rotary the amount of pressure needed is far less than you might apply with a DA polishers or orbital buffers . The rotary can for the most part work under its own weight or very light pressure from the left hand. stubborn swirls may need more pressure again something that will come with experience.
8. Clean the polishing pad regularly! Ensure any dried polish is removed by spinning it at 1500rpm and placing a toothbrush or megs triple duty detail brush across the foam pad. If working on single stage paint and the pad becomes clogged with dead paint so spray the pad with lots of QD and then spin at 900rpm placing an old microfiber against the pads surface to take away the dead paint. Also change pads regularly.
9. Get comfortable!! If you are uncomfortable you will not be able to fully focus on the job in hand! When working on side panels a kneeling stance is more stable than crouching so a soft piece of foam or something similar to support the knees is essential.
10. When working on side panels and curved panels the left hand will need to support the head of the polisher and press the pad firmly against the panel. More pressure will be needed here as the pad won't have the weight of the polisher over it. Again move the polisher in arc like strokes.
11. Painted plastics i.e bumpers. You have to more careful here. Plastics just will not cope with the heat produced like a metal panel can. Indeed if you 'over cook' the painted plastic the surface will wrinkle up! Once the plastic reaches a certain heat it will wrinkle up without warning and very fast! This is irrecoverable! My advice is to test this on a plastic scrap pane so you can gauge the amount of beans you can give it. On real cars stop after each pass and allow the plastic to cool (this takes ages) before attempting another pass! Plastics should not be allowed to get any warmer than luke warm whereas a metal panel can get as hot as you can safely touch with no adverse effects.
12. Working close to plastic moldings (i.e doors, trunk) can be tricky to fully remove swirls. Its better if you can take these off before going through. If not, tape off and try tilting the pad so that more pressure is applied close to the edge with the edge of the foam pad doing some of the polishing work. This may impart holograms so as a final pass go back over with the flat of the pad.
13. Paint is thinner at the edges of panels so care must be taken. If polishing across edges (such as on a car bonnet where the line of the bonnet meets the front wings) then tape off the edge of the panel not being polished. Alternatively lift the bonnet up and have someone hold it so you can confidentially polish up to the edge without running over the edge of the front wing.
14. Don't try and de-swirl too large an area at once. I typically divide a bonnet into 6-8 sections. However once de-swirled and onto the finishing polish much larger sections can be done at once for example a whole door or half a bonnet. How to use speed setting
1. Spread the polish at low speed (600rpm) > This just spreads the polish around so that it is ready to work, you can see the residue of the polish is cloudy and very obviously "on the paint"
2. Now, raise the speed to medium or 1200rpm > This begins to work the polish and starts the cutting process to remove the paint defects.
3. Medium to high speeds (1500 - 1800rpm) > This is where the lion's share of the work is done defect removal wise. The main cut of the polish is used by around ten passes at these speeds to thoroughly work the polish and get the best cut possible. The abrasives are breaking down all the time during this and the cut getting less and less, so while the defects are being removed, the finish achieved is getting better and better as the process goes on. After this, the residue can be seen to be taking on a much more clear look.
4. Finally lower the speed to slow or medium (900 - 1200rpm) > this is where the finishing takes place. When the residue is going clear, the abrasive left in the polish are very fine - like having a finishing polish. Working these remaining abrasives at slow speeds refines your finish, removes any light holograms that may be in the finish from the cutting stage and just adds a little bit of crystal clarity to the finish. After these passes, the residue can be seen to be clear, if any wipe it with clean microfiber cloth.
Kindly note: speed depends upon polishes, amount of cut required, thickness of paint, pad aggressiveness and etc. Its better to start from low speed and rise it as required or if required. Common mistakes
* Incomplete Polish breakdown. The overriding principle to create a great finish is to break the polish down fully. By not breaking it down fully you may scour the surface of the paint imparting defects. Knowing when a polish is fully broken down comes with experience but a good yard stick is when the polish has gone clear and is very easy to wipe off. Ensure any unbroken polish pushed to the outer edges of your work area are not picked up by the pad in the final pass as this will not break down the polish imparting holograms.
* Swirls are imparted by using too harsh a polish that is not broken down properly. If this happens you may have used too much polish or it may have dried. If this happens try removing the polish residue from the panel, spritz the pad with QD only (no more polish) and polish again using the remnants of the polish left in the pad to break it down properly.
* Holograms or micro marring are again imparted due to polish that hasn’t been properly broken down or too high speeds. Following the advice above or below should cure these.
* Buffer hop is when the rotary jumps across the paints surface usually due to insufficient polish/lubrication and as the foam pad ‘bites’ the paint it jumps! Try spreading the polish more evenly across the pad, add more polish or QD.
* Splatter: Ok not always a mistake as techniques including slow cut with consumer intensive polish and some polishes like G3 requires a hefty splash of water/QD. However when using highly lubricated polishes from Meguiars and Menzerna, splatter is a sign that you’ve used too much polish or you have cranked the speed up to too fast, too soon!
Continued on next post.....