Originally Posted by Legaspi89
I just wanted to know, is a cutting wool pad with using compound suppose to take away all swirls/swirl marks before starting to use a polishing pad.
Because I notice when my dad buffs with using a regular Rotary Buffer with a wool cutting pad, he's able to take all the swirls off before going on to use a polishing pad.
A skilled person with a rotary buffer a wool cutting pad and a good compound can make it appear as though all the swirls have been removed before moving onto a less aggressive pad and polish but if you strip the paint and move the car out into full sun you will see holograms left by the individual fibers because the fibers by themselves can cut the paint. Hologram Free with a Rotary Buffer
Over and over the topic of buffing out a car hologram-free, that is without leaving any swirls induced by the rotary buffer, pad and product always comes up on detailing discussion forums.
Over the years I've see a lot of people claim they can buff out every car hologram-free no exceptions. I never believe them because I've done too much testing that proves otherwise.
Besides my own testing, always on black paint, I cannot recall a single time where a person claimed they can produce a hologram-free finish on every car ever back it up with proof. By proof I mean,
- Document how they inspected
- Take honest pictures that show the results of their inspection
One of the problems with proving you can use a rotary buffer and not leave any holograms or rotary buffer swirls is that in order to inspect you have to take what should be a flawless finish and chemically strip it in some manner. For example,
- Wipe the paint with Isopropyl Alcohol
- Wipe the paint with Mineral Spirits
- Wipe the paint with some manufacturers chemical stripper
- Wash the vehicle with a strong detergent soap
All of the above
- Take time
- Potentially induce scratches and/or marring back into the paint
Buffing out a car already takes a lot of time. To stop after the last machine polishing step and somehow chemically strip the finish to prove even just to yourself that you are in fact producing swirl-free results not only will cause the job to take longer but it's going to mar and even scratch the finish to some level meaning you're going to have to undo the damage you inflict. Potentially induce scratches and/or marring back into the paint
Most liquid products used to chemically strip paint are not the best lubricants to at the same time lubricate the surface to prevent marring and scratching. It's a lose/lose situation. The best product I have found is Mineral Spirits. It's a dramatically better wiping experience than anything I've ever used just from a lubricating aspect. 100% Hologram Free Claims
So people claim they can do it but don't back it up with proof and for valid reasons. But if you don't chemically strip and inspect, and because paint systems are different from car to car and continually changing even within the same make and model from the manufacturer, how do you know 100% for sure you're leaving a swirl free finish without checking? Answer:
You don't know. You assume. A couple comments...
I don't know of a single professional and seasoned detailer that's also a true friend that claims to be able to leave a 100% swirl free finish on every car they buff-out. Not one and yes... I ask
I've never claimed to be able to produce a 100% swirl free finish on every car I buff out and never will. The reason why I won't make that claim is the same reason I post to every thread that brings this topic up and here's what I post... Paints are different. It's not about you and how great you are or the tool, pad or product you use it's about the paint. Some paints are more polishable than others and some paints are not very polishable. You don't know until you do some testing and inspect your results.
Besides that... I also post this...
Instead of taking a risk that you might be leaving swirls behind, or instead of taking the time to chemically strip the paint and thus waste time and potentially mar or scratch the paint, simply change the action of the tool
for the last machine polishing step.
Change from a direct drive, single direction rotating action to a tool that uses both rotating and oscillating actions.
By changing the action of the tool you will ensure a swirl free finish today and down the road after your customer has washed the car a dozen times without ever re-applying a coat of wax.
So I'm not saying it can't be done as I'm confident it can be done and I believe I've done it. I don't believe it can be done on EVERY paint system and the only way to ever know is to chemically strip and inspect in bright, overhead sunlight.
Of course, you don't always have bright, overhead sunlight so that presents another problem to overcome if you do want to inspect.
So everyone can decide what the best approach is for them, I'm just trying to present what's possible and practical and what's not. Always be open to new ideas, products and techniques...
I do believe in ALWAYS being open to new ideas, products and techniques and when I say this what I mean is I am always open to the introduction of the next best thing as it relates to pads and polishes. The times we're living in have seen more cool new technology introduced in the last few years then I've ever seen in my lifetime. So I practice what I preach when I tell others to be open to new ideas, products, pads, tools and techniques. Bring it on...
The above all said, I have a number of prototype products to test and a couple of them require I start out with a 100% swirl free finish after chemically stripping. So today I went out into the studio and took one of the panels we had painted for SEMA for our SEMA Booth.
I don't know the exact code for the paint or any of the reducers or additive but I can find out as I'm going to interview the painter for another article I'm writing. I do know it's a PPG
The paint had all kinds of scuffs from being packed and shipped in a crate from Las Vegas to Stuart, Florida so the first thing I did was use a rotary buffer with a medium cut polish and a foam cutting pad to remove all the scuffs, abrasions, swirls and scratches.
Then I re-polished using a fine cut polish and finishing pad, still on a rotary buffer. Let's establish what holograms look like...
Before I add the pictures, lets take a look at what holograms also called rotary buffer swirls or rotary buffer trails look like so we can establish it's a very distinct scratch pattern
. For this I'm going to use some pictures of my friend Rob's black 2006 Mustang GT Convertible because it clearly shows holograms. Here's a section of the above photo cropped out and in full size...
Often times you'll hear or read about "Holograms" or "Buffer Trails". These are both interchangeable terms
for Rotary Buffer Swirls.
If you look at the below swirls they almost seem to have a 3D appearance or floating in the paint affect
, this is the appearance characteristic from which we get the word hologram
. Here's the same car but now we're using the flash from our camera to light up and reveal the horrendous swirls... I don't think I've ever seen a car so swirled out by the mis-use of a rotary buffer... The zillions of swirls in the clear layer makes the paint look hazy and blocks your view of the black paint under the clear top coat. This reduces the darkness of the paint making the true black look gray under florescent lights . Okay... get the idea?
Do the pictures above establish
the pattern of scratches instilled by the mis-use of a rotary buffer? Good.
Next I had Yancy help me to carry the fender stand and panel out into the sun where I inspected the paint before chemically stripping. Here's a picture, note there are no visible "trails" or holograms. After Machine Buffing with a Rotary Buffer - Not stripped, just wiped clean Wiped very thoroughly with Mineral Spirits
Any marring you see now is not "holograms" but marring from wiping. Keep in mind, clear coats are "Scratch-Sensitive" and when working on BLACK paint even the lightest defects show up, that's why I always test on black paint.
I think it's pretty obvious that there are zero holograms or rotary buffer swirls in the paint...
Next I wiped the panel down with IPA at 12.5%. Note when I wiped the panel down both with MS and IPA I dragged the panel into the shade first.
Now you can see some light marring, but that's because IPA isn't a very good lubricant, in fact it's a horrible
lubricant. I think of all the people that have been told by others to wipe their car down with IPA before going to the next step and it's pretty easy to understand that when they did this they likely marred their car's paint and this is called working backwards
. It's also likely that if the people taking this advice were working on light to medium colored cars they never saw the marring.
After doing the chemical stripping and inspecting I was back to needing a perfect finish to do my tests so I re-polished the paint. Here you can see the direction I moved the rotary buffer.
Then I wiped the residue off and wiped the paint with Mineral Spirits. Next I took pictures using the flash of my trusty, dusty Canon Rebel. The light to the lower right of my finger is the camera flash.
After seeing the fingerprint my finger left on the otherwise perfect finish I placed a business card on the paint to give my camera a focal point. You can learn more about how to capture swirls and other defects with your camera in an article I wrote and the link will be at the end of this post.
I don't think it's a good idea to for anyone to claim they can produce a 100% hologram or swirl free finish on every
car they buff out because there's too many different types of paint systems on all the zillions of cars in the world. But others can do as they see fit.
I do think that some paint systems are more polishable than others and a hologram-free finish can be produced using only a rotary buffer.
I also believe the only way you will know is to chemically strip the paint and then move the car into full-on, bright overhead sunlight to inspect. The sun in my opinion does the best job of revealing swirls on car paint versus artificial lights.
I also believe and use as my own practice changing the action of the tool
for my last machine process on most projects. Everyone can find a way that works for them...
I didn't plan on actually writing this article but since I have to test a number of different coatings and needed a flawless, chemically stripped finish for the testing I just happen to come across a paint system that appears to be very polishable
Hope this helps to shed some light on the topic of what can and what cannot be done using a rotary buffer.
Here's the article I was talking about... How-To capture swirls, scratches, etchings and other surface defects with your camera