Hi ladies and gentlemen,
I want to share with you all how I modified my Flex XC3401 backing plate to use with 4" spot pads. I bought the XC over a year ago, it was the first buffer I purchased. I noticed how there was a lack of backing plates to choose from. Well, at the time, there was no choice at all, this was way before Flex introduced their 4-3/8" BP and waaay before the LC backing plate system which is hitting the market right now.
Basically, I ordered an extra 5.5" backing plate from Flex (same one that comes standard on all the XC3401s). What I did was trim it down to where the outer plastic portion of it was the same size as the metal housing on the buffer. The inner foam/velcro part was trimmed down to just a hair larger than 3.5".
I wanted to share this a long time ago, but figured I'd give it some time until I gave it a good "test drive". Well, I've used it dozens of times over the past year and it definitely works. The machine operates just as smoothly and effectively as it does with the factory BP. It's actually easier to control with the small BP and small pads.
I use a rotary 90% of the time now, but still take this out from time to time. I'm really not posting this to say it's the way to go or to tell you guys that you should do it, just for the sake of showing, that YES, it can be done, and it can be done cheaply. If you wish, by all means go ahead, it works flawlessly I've put it through many many hours of polishing and couldn't be happier with it. The best part is, it's not too difficult to make, I just used a dremel tool. Drill a hole into a small 2X4 block of wood, put a metal post on it, insert the bp onto the metal post and turn it as you're trimming away with the Dremel. Kinda like a lathe.
Here's some pics of it (and the standard 5.5" bp for comparison's sake):
Standard Flex BP with a 6.5" LC pad:
Here you can see the back side of both backing plates next to each other:
Front side of both backing plates:
Side profile of the standard backing plate:
Side profile of small backing plate:
Another close-up from the side:
With Buff & Shine 4" pad:
Mounted on the machine:
On the Flex with a pad: