View Full Version : How do you stay away from holograms?

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03-11-2011, 10:55 PM
How do you stay away from holograms? (http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/auto-detailing-101/33511-how-do-you-stay-away-holograms.html)

So since it's hard to stay away from holograms with a rotary, I think I found how to quickly correct paint in bad shape and not finish with holograms. Start with the rotary with a wool or hard foam pad, and then finish with a DA polish, PC, GG, or whatever you use.

I haven't tried it yet. Figure I would share my idea before I tried it myself. Just wondering if anyone else have tried this before.

03-11-2011, 11:29 PM
I think that's the usual recommendation - that's how Mike taught us how to do it in his classes.

Setec Astronomy
03-11-2011, 11:59 PM
I'm taking the Fifth on this one.

03-12-2011, 12:13 AM
Its not that hard to avoid holograms with a rotary. Nothing wrong with finishing up with a DA either.

03-12-2011, 01:05 AM
You know I been using my rotary on a test panel came out beautiful. Is all about what pads and plan you come up with.

Rotary is way faster so you have to dominate the rotary not the rotary dominate you or else you will kill the paint bad.

Exotic Auto Detail via tapatalk

03-12-2011, 04:14 AM
^I actually experienced rotary while refinishing a spare bumper that I have and seriously, you have to control it especially near edges and curves!

I experimented with zenith point technique and it finished relatively hologram free!

tuscarora dave
03-12-2011, 05:55 AM
A few of the things I do to reduce holograms while using a rotary.

1. ALWAYS clay the paint before using a rotary, even if it passes the baggy test. If even one little particle of contamination becomes dislodged and gets between the pad and paint, there will be consequences to pay in the swirl removal step and this equals wasted time and wasted clear coat. I work outdoors 80% of the time so even if I see no dust on the car I always give the panel that I am about to work on a quick wipe down with QD before I start working on it. Work Clean.

2. Keep the pad as flat as possible at all times, if I get my pad up on it's edge I know I will be having deeper holograms to take care of in my swirl removal step.

3. Use a wool pad only if necessary, If doing paint correction I always start out by trying a foam polishing pad first. If I am not getting the desired results I'll then step up to a foam light cutting pad. I rarely have to resort to using a wool pad on most cars and if I do I use a 3M SuperBuff 2 or a Lake Country Purple Foamed Wool pad. The 3M is a $30 pad + an additional $15 for the spindle extension but is is money well spent as this setup finishes better than any other wool pad that I have used. The SuperBuff 2 doesn't shed at all either. You get what you pay for.

4. I leave stone aged products in the stone ages. While the $29 a gallon dealership supply house compound seems like a great deal up front, there is almost always a price to pay in the end for cheapness. These products are generally chock full of fillers and usually have abrasives that are not uniform in size and are hard if not impossible to fully break down. I follow technology and pay extra up front for a good non diminishing product such as M-105, M-205. The time savings is worth the extra money spent.

5. I clean my pad on the fly after every panel using a clean towel "and" a brush. It only takes 10 seconds to do. 10 seconds X 10 panels = less than 2 minutes per polishing step x 3 polishing steps = 6 minutes per job. Going back to correct a panel that was marred up because of a dirty pad takes longer than 6 minutes. Work smarter not harder, did I mention work clean and keep the pad as flat as possible at all times?

I've heard it mentioned many many times that "it's all in the prep"...

Preparation consists of a lot more than just claying paint, it also includes product selection, pad selection, maintaining clean pads, towels and work environment and above all else...practice practice practice.

I am no polishing guru and don't claim to be the best at what I do. These are just a few things that I have picked up in the few years that I have been doing this. I rarely ever need to finish with a DA polisher.

The rotary must be respected as a tool that can and will eventually cause damage, even in the hands of an experienced user. As soon as you think that you have dominated the rotary you'll get complacent and lose focus and burn the paint.

Mike Phillips
03-12-2011, 07:38 AM
Just to chime in...

The best way to see if you are in fact leaving behind a rotary buffer swirl or hologram free finish is you have to chemically strip the paint and then inspect the paint under bright light like overhead sun.

Also, this is best done on black paint as black shows everything. It's easy to buff on a white, or silver metallic, or any light color and not see faint swirls left by the rotating action of the pad on a rotary buffer.

Because 'fine' or shallow swirls can be hard to see, the ultimate way to inspect would be to test yourself on a large flat panel like the hood of a car, (a car hood that's large and flat, harder to find with modern, small cars), and then after your last step, wipe the paint down with IPA, or MS or do a Dawn wash.

Next, move the car into full on sun when the sun is bright and directly over head.

Now move around the car placing the sun into different locations on the hood and inspect for a 100% swirl free finish.

Inspecting without chemically stripping will not prove you left a swirl free finish.
Inspecting without using really good light, like bright overhead sunlight won't prove you've left a 100% swirl free finish.

I never see people doing this step or even talking about it let alone proving it and in the process of proving, sharing the proving process and results process.

I never see people proving their work with this step and posting real pictures of the swirl free finish in full sun after chemically stripping. This step means taking longer to buff out any car and during the chemical stripping process you risk marring the paint and if you wash with Dawn, then you get the car all wet again, this means water in the cracks and crevices that won't dry like a flat panel so when you bring the car back inside to finish buffing it out, now the air current a rotating buffing pad creates will draw the water in the cracks and crevices into the buffing cycle.

It's a lot more complicated to 100% prove to yourself or anyone else that you are in fact leaving a 100% swirl free finish. I see people make the claim all the time but that's just their claim. As someone that has done a lot of testing on black paint and buffed thousands of cars with a rotary buffer, it's a lot harder to do than most people think and the ONLY way to know that you have IN FACT left behind a 100% swirl-free finish is to chemically strip a dark or black finish after your last rotary buffer step, move the car into bright sunlight and then inspect.

Other than that... how would you really know?

Instead of doing all of the above, simply finishing out by "Changing the Action of the Tool", in other words, by changing over to a DA Polisher and re-polishing every square inch of the car, you "ensure" that you've left a 100% swirl free finish and you've never worked backwards in the process.


Mike Phillips
03-12-2011, 07:46 AM
Here's an example of moving your work on a black panel into direct, overhead sunlight to check your work. Anyone reading this attend this class and remember this or watch the "Live Feed" ?











03-14-2011, 08:29 AM
Well thanks for all the input. I did wipe down a black BMW and drive it out side and looked at it in the light and saw slight holograms along the door. I was a bit bummed :( Wont lie. But the hologram was an up and down verticle hologram and I only went that way was with a finishing 3m polish and pad. I figured I didn't work it enough, so I drove it back in and tried it again and got it right. Just got a little lazy and rushed I guess guess the upper half of the car looked good and hologram free :) Thanks for the advice everyone

03-25-2011, 09:53 AM
First, to stay away from holograms, follow Mike's advice to the "T". Second, the next best method to stay away from holograms is not to visit any used car dealerships. They're the worst! :bash:

Flash Gordon
03-25-2011, 12:13 PM
I'm taking the Fifth on this one.

I'm drinking a fifth to this one :doh:

Mike Phillips
08-16-2011, 07:42 AM
Well thanks for all the input. I did wipe down a black BMW and drive it out side and looked at it in the light and saw slight holograms along the door.

A good practice is to do your finish passes with each rotary buffer step in a known direction and change to a different direction when you change pads and products. Then when you inspect for holograms you'll be able to determine which step left the holograms.

I was a bit bummed :( Wont lie. But the hologram was an up and down vertical hologram and I only went that way was with a finishing 3m polish and pad.

I figured I didn't work it enough, so I drove it back in and tried it again and got it right.

Checking on a vertical panel like a door makes inspecting harder than a horizontal surface like a trunk lid, roof or hood. But if the sun is right, or you position your artificial lights just right you can use a vertical panel.

Just got a little lazy and rushed I guess guess the upper half of the car looked good and hologram free :) Thanks for the advice everyone

Good to hear it's working out for you.


08-16-2011, 09:07 AM
I'm glad that I read this. I always thought that holograms/buffer trails were simply a product of too much speed. Anyway that is what I always suspected of the DISO's. Guess not that simple.

11-18-2011, 02:18 PM
so in regards to the vertical holograms on the door, They are a result of incorrect product application?

Meaning I worked it to little or not enough using a DA?(griots polisher)


bad form? ( pushing to much, to little not using the same pattern all the time?)

what exactly is a hologram, I know swirls are mirco scratches on the wax clear coat from dust, wiping etc.....so what IS a hologram?