View Full Version : Flex 3401 Detailing Classes - Show Car Detailing and Production Detailing

Mike Phillips
10-21-2014, 11:49 AM
Flex 3401 Detailing Classes - Show Car Detailing and Production Detailing (http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/pictures-saturday-detailing-101/86037-flex-3401-detailing-classes-show-car-detailing-production-detailing.html)

How to use the Flex 3401 for Show Car Detailing


1965 Plymouth Belvedere II Muscle Car

Next up in this class was learning how to do a multiple-step process or what's called Show Car Detailing to a real muscle car a 1965 Plymouth Belvedere II with a radical engine in it and a paint job that looks like it was washed with a Garden Rake!

Here she is early Saturday morning parked next to the other cars for this detailing class. In the shade the paint looks pretty good....


Special Interest Vehicles
One of the reasons I like to bring in cool cars for our classes is to make the class both fun and memorable but also because muscle cars from the 1960's and 1970's tend to be very large compared to modern transportation cars so there's PLENTY of room for everyone to get lots of hands-on time working on the car.



Later in the day, when the sun came out I took these pictures....


Horrendous swirls


Wet Sanding Scratches
This is a close-up taken out of the picture above. What you see here is hazing looking paint but what it really is are WET SANDING SCRATCHES that were not removed by the other guy that sanded and buffed this paint job.


Here's the other side of the hood....



Our Detailing Classes are fun!
Here's Nick backing the Plymouth into the Show Car Garage. Nick and I have a lot of fun driving these hotrods, kustoms and classics at our detailing classes.


Swirled-out Mess!
Now with the car inside the garage under the florescent lights, you can see the paint is nothing but a hazy, swirled out mess!




And as you can imagine, the entire car looks like the above pictures.


Mike Phillips
10-21-2014, 11:50 AM
A glossy finish starts with a smooth surface

When trying to create a true show car finish that has that deep, wet shine we all love, it starts with removing any and all above surface bonded contaminants to create a smooth surface before machine polishing.

A common question on this topic goes like this,

Won't machine compounding remove contaminants?

The answer is,

Compounding will remove "some" contaminants but anytime you're using a foam pad because the foam has a uniform surface texture it will tend to glide over contaminants not kick them off.

Now a wool pad on a rotary buffer will tend to remove contaminants because it's the most aggressive buffing procedure there is and the fibers of a wool pad spinning in a circle on the paint is very aggressive especially when you add an abrasive compound.

But when the plan is to use foam pad then it's a good practice to mechanically remove contaminants before you do any buffing.

After using Detailer's Waterless Car Wash to wash this muscle car, the next order of business is to inspect the paint.

The Baggie Test

Here's Axel and Rick feeling the paint on this 1965 Plymouth Belvedere II using the Baggie Test. Not only is the paint filled with millions of swirls, scratches and sanding marks it's also heavily contaminated.


When doing the baggie test you start by feeling the paint with your clean, bare hand. For most cars, paint will often feel smooth to the touch when using only your skin to inspect the paint.

Next, place a clean, sandwich baggie over your hand and feel the same area of paint you previously felt and in most cases the paint is going to feel rough, like it has little bumps all over it. These bumps you feel are contaminants that are BONDED to the paint as though they are glued to the paint. Normal washing, rinseless washing and waterless washing won't remove these contaminants, you need to do something mechanically to convince them to leave.

Nanoskin Autoscrub Pads

Nanoskin offers their unique products in various forms including,

Nanoskin Autoscrub Pads - for use by machine
Nanoskin Autoscrub Towels - for use by hand
Nanoskin Autoscrub Wash Mitts - for use by hand





This is a cropped out section from the above with no resizing...


Fine and Medium Grade Pads
The blue foam indicates the fine grade while the yellow foam indicates the medium grade Nanoskin Autoscrub Pads.


So next up the class is going to use Nanoskin products including the Nanoskin Autoscrub Pads on the Flex 3401.


Mike Phillips
10-21-2014, 11:50 AM
Decontaminating Beast!

First a demonstration on how to correctly use the Nanoskin Autoscrub pad with a Flex 3401 Forced Rotation Forced Oscillation Dual Action Polisher.



Then the class takes over the process... here's Kevin with a Porter Cable mechanically decontaminating the hood.

In front of him is Willy using the Nanoskin Towel.


Here's Dave using the Flex 3401 with a Fine Grade Nanoskin Pad on the roof. Dave is alumni having previously attended on of our Detailing Boot Camp Classes back in May of 2014


Here's Chris from Flex Power Tools helping out on the back of the car....



Mike Phillips
10-21-2014, 11:51 AM
How to remove swirls and scratches with the Flex XC 3401

After decontaminating the paint, (that's removing defects on top of the paint), the next step is to remove the defects below the surface, this would be the swirls, scratches and sanding marks.

First a demonstration on how to use the Flex 3401 for heavy correction work with Wolfgang Uber Compound and Lake Country Orange Hybrid Cutting Pads.



Here's Sam working the swirls and scratches out of the trunk lid...


Here's Dave and Richard on the hood....


On the right is Craig and Chris on the hood....


Here's Ron and Will working on the trunk lid....


Justin is on the right in the picture below....


Mike Phillips
10-21-2014, 11:51 AM
Machine Polishing with the Flex XC 3401
After the compounding step everyone switches over to the Black Hybrid Pads with the Wolfgang Finishing Glaze and re-polishes every inch of paint.

Here's Willy....

That's Adam working on the passenger side with Willy up in front of him...



Mike Phillips
10-21-2014, 11:52 AM
Machine Waxing
After the polishing step we switched over the fresh, clean Black Hybrid pads and machine apply the Blackfire BlackICE Hybrid Montan Sealant Wax.



Pulling cords
After each project car to keep things orderly we pull all the extension cords and set them on the floor next to were they are plugged in so they are not a trip hazard. This gives the wax or sealant time to dry.



Mike Phillips
10-21-2014, 11:54 AM
How to safely and correctly remove a Hybrid Paste Wax
Next the class inspects their microfiber towels and then puts on their microfiber gloves and using the technique they learned when working on the first car of the day carefully removed all the Blackfire BlackICE Hybrid Montan Sealant Wax




Class Shot
Here's the class right after wiping the sealant off the Plymought....


Sun Shots!
Then we moved the car outside and took a few sun shots while we still had sunshine!







Mike Phillips
10-21-2014, 11:55 AM
And here are the beauty shots....





Reflection Shot of the back wall


This is the same picture as above only I've flipped it vertically...





Orange Peel
Because of the amount of orange peel in the paint that you can easily see now that we've restored clarity to the clear coat I'm going to guess the guy that was paid to wetsand this car after it was painted only sanded the horizontal surfaces...

The owner trusted me to use this for my wet sanding training car but I didn't feel comfortable re-doing someone else's hack work on the horizontal surfaces so we just went with swirl and scratch removal for this car in this class. Perhaps we'll have this car back for a future project as it could really use some help below the trim line running down the center of the vertical panels.






Nice work class!

:dblthumb2: :dblthumb2: :dblthumb2:

10-21-2014, 04:47 PM
Looks sharp! I sure like old Mopar.

10-21-2014, 06:46 PM
Awesome job all around. Paint looks brand new. Love that car, especially in black.

Mike Phillips
10-22-2014, 02:55 PM
Detailing Classes at Autogeek for 2015

Consistent Dates Each Year
Because we have people that fly in from around the country and around the world we consistently hold our classes the same time each year so you can make your travel arrangements, (airline tickets, hotel reservations and rental cars).

Due to the popularity of these classes we've added an extra class for 2015.

Last weekend of January.
First weekend of May
Third weekend in July
Last weekend in September

Here are the dates for Detailing Classes at Autogeek for 2015.

January 2015 Class

January 24th and 25th - Full - No more seats available.

Note: Starting in May of 2015 the classes go to three days.

May 2015 Class

Friday May 1st
Saturday May 2nd
Sunday May 3rd

Click here to sign-up for this class (http://www.autogeek.net/detailing-boot-camp.html)

July 2015 Class
Friday, July 17th
Saturday, July 18th
Sunday, July 19th

Call 1-800-869-3011 to sign up for this class.

September 2015 Class
Friday, September 25th
Saturday, September 26th
Sunday, September 27th

Call 1-800-869-3011 to sign up for this class.

All classes always fill up so plan accordingly and get registered early.


Mike Phillips
10-22-2014, 02:56 PM
First hand testimonies....

These are the first-hand testimonies from the people that attended the September 2014 Class. More to come...

Pictures & Comments: Sept 2014 Detail Boot Camp Class (http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/pictures-saturday-detailing-101/85380-pictures-comments-sept-2014-detail-boot-camp-class.html)

This class was absolutely awesome. I learned more information and had plenty of opportunity to learn to use new equipment than I thought was possible during a two-day training. It was great to work with one of the top professionals in the industry.

I had two goals in mind I wanted to take away from this class. The first was to introduce myself to different polishers. Currently, I use the Porter Cable and want to purchase a second, more advanced polisher, and with so many on the market, I was unsure of which one. My new polisher will be the Flex. My second goal was exactly how Mike Phillips stated, and that was to bring my comfort level up with paint correction.

I detail for a living. Beyond the above, I learned some new information that can improve my business skills, assess a potential client's needs, and realistically - from both my client's perspective and mine - meet those needs. I was also introduced to new compounds, polishes, and waxes that I can add to or replace what is currently in my arsenal.

In Ken Robinson's book, "The Element," he writes about doing your passion and being in your "tribe," and how this helps create a successful and satisfying life. It was great to spend a weekend with both enthusiasts and other detailers doing this work for a living. Thanks for recognizing our passion Nick, and thank you for all of your guidance too!

Hi guy's I'm just new to the forum; I just took Mike's bootcamp and for me was a mind blowing experience; working with those cars especially the Dodge Lancer what a unique car.

I flew with my wife all the way from Puerto Rico and l wanted to thanks Mike Phillips and his crew (Nick and Jesse) for the training and sharing their experience with us, I feel that my confidence level went from a 3 to a 7.

I am thankful for getting the opportunity to know Bob from Autogeek, Bob and Chris from Flex North America thanks for the meet and greet and all the classmates; I had a wonderful time and hope to see you all soon.

William Catala


I'm a new member of the forum and this is my first post.

I've been researching and reading so much about detailing since I decided to pursue this art. Part of that research was looking for schools to attend.

I found Mike's approaches, responses in forums that I read and his willingness to help others interesting. So, I focused on his company. I missed the cutoff for the September class and didn't want to wait so I emailed him about availability and was able to get into the class (last spot). Now about the staff and class.

Mike and Nick are professional, highly skilled but also extremely genuine folks. There's no doubt they are there to give their best to all in the class and answer all questions. Also at this class were two outstanding folks from Flex who were there in support and to learn.

Bob and Chris are equally genuine and supportive. I was there to learn everything as this art is new to me but was welcomed by staff and the other great folks in attendance. A non competitive environment, everyone was willing to help, talk, share, etc. I won't go into the course outline as you can view it yourself.

I will say that I learned so much about the art, the tools, products, the folks at Autogeek, my awesome classmates and myself. If you have not attended, not only do I highly recommend it for those thinking about attending but also to those who have been in the business for sometime as technology changes.

I'd also recommend it as a life experience as the folks at Autogeek are interesting, your classmate experiences and lives will enrich you and you will grow if you allow it. Stop thinking about it, just do it.

Jeff "JP"

Mike Phillips and his team were awesome this past weekend.

I walked in to the Detailer's Boot Camp with an expectation of long lecture and a little hands on but boy was I wrong.

Each one of us had plenty of hands on with a multitude of tools and cars. Getting the chance to learn how to use the different polishers before purchasing is a huge plus. Working on daily drivers as well as show cars is a huge confidence booster.

Mike Phillips is a genuine instructor. Mike, Nick, and Jesse, thanks for a tremendously valuable weekend.

Bob and Chris from Flex also attended and were hands-on right with the class and were also very resourceful. It was really good to have industry leaders sharing their knowledge with the class. Thanks for being there.

If anyone is on the fence about registering, do yourself a favor get registered.


This was an awesome class, and again, I learned quite a lot from when I first attended the boot camp back in 2012.

There have been many changes in tools, products, and information concerning automotive detailing since then, and I have learned so much from this class on the use of products, tools, and techniques that Mike Phillips demonstrated in his class.

Autogeek founder and CEO Bob McKee stopped by to say hello, and he and Nick gave us a tour of Autogeek's warehouse and operations. Thanks guys!

We also had the president of Flex Tools North America in attendance Mr. Bob Eichelberg and his associate Chris, who not only participated in the boot camp, but also gave us great info, tips and history on Flex Tools the 3401, and the PE-14.

They also answered any questions that the class may have had on these tools. We also had the rare opportunity to work on a 1967 Lincoln Continental with single stage paint, that turned out beautiful.

A show room finish on the custom 1956 Dodge Lancer, and the amazing correction we did on the 1965 Plymouth Belvedere II.

I was real impressed with the use of the Flex PE-14 and Blackfire compound and polish that we used on the 1939 LaSalle and after damp sanding, the finish was awesome!.

All the cars that we worked on had their own unique challenge, from daily driver to custom show car, and that's what this class is all about, to give you the opportunity to learn how to detail cars the correct way, and how to use all the current tools and products.

If you are thinking about attending one of these classes I would say do so, you will learn quite a bit, meet new people, and have fun.

Special thanks to Mike and Nick for an awesome boot camp!


Wow what an information packed weekend. Learned so much about the different products and the techniques to maximize results using them. Best part about the class is it's 90% hands on. I'm confident I can now maintain the black finishes on my cars.

Mike, Nick and Jesse worked their a$ off to make the class the best it could be.

Bob and Chris of Flex North America treated us to a very nice reception Saturday night.

Talk about going above and beyond, one classmate's car had yellowed headlights so Mike had him bring it in the studio and showed us how to do headlight restoration.

Hope to make it to Detail Fest in March. Now where did I put that margarita machine...

:applause: :applause:

wow lets do it again!!, just over the top !! mike, nick and da hole crew


thank you for all the tips and tricks i will never forget the great time we all shared !!!

ill be back for more thats 4 sure :)

This was not only an amazing class but overall experience. I learned so much and met some amazing people that came from all different professions and skill levels.

Mike, Nick, and Jessie were great teachers. You can tell that they not only have a passion for detailing, but also educating others. I definitely feel that the class was worth it and I highly recommend that anyone looking to become a better detailer or even if you have an interest in learning how to work on your own car, take the class.

You spend a lot of time hands on working with the newest equipment, learning proper techniques, and learning to be more confident when it comes to detailing cars.

The class covers both interior as well as exterior detailing and is great for guys and gals that are in the industry and those hobbyist who are looking to learn more.

I had a great time and again would highly recommend it to anyone lucky enough to sign up for the next session.

Thanks again Mike & Nick!


Thanks so much for documenting the detailing we did at Boot Camp in September. This thread is like an encyclopedia of our work and I can see it being very helpful.

I keep referring to my notes on the handout you provided us and your comments in this thread refreshes my memory.

It's been less than one week and I have already started using my new knowledge and skills.



This was my second boot camp.

The first taught me enough to be able to do a great detail and speak knowledgeably about most aspects of detailing a car inside and out. But over time many questions arose and I was able to get even more out of the second because I could ask better questions.

The second one also further charged my passion for the craft and gave me even more confidence when talking with our customers about what they need done to their car.

I cannot thank Mike enough for what he has done for my career, since attending my first class I have become General Manager of our Car Wash business and our sales and customer satisfaction are growing every day. I couldn't have done it without the knowledge obtained from Mike.

Thanks again.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience after attending our class.


10-22-2014, 03:16 PM
Looks awesome, wish I lived in FL! Would have loved to learn more about the FLEX 3401.

Mike Phillips
12-05-2014, 05:04 PM
Looks awesome, wish I lived in FL!

Would have loved to learn more about the FLEX 3401.

Hands-on training is the best way to learn a new skill and tool fast. If you read this from to cover to cover you'll flatten out the learning curve dramatically...

How to use the Flex XC 3401 VRG Dual Action Orbital Polisher (http://www.autogeek.net/flex-polisher-book.html)


And here's the schedule for classes in 2015

Detailing Classes at Autogeek for 2015 (http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/ask-expert-featuring-mike-phillips/87302-detailing-classes-autogeek-2015-a.html)