View Full Version : How to use the Rupes Bigfoot Polisher - Detailing Class

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Mike Phillips
01-29-2015, 01:57 PM
How to use the Rupes Bigfoot Polisher - Detailing Class (http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/sign-up-detailing-bootcamp-class-2-day-class/88653-how-use-rupes-bigfoot-polisher-detailing-class.html)

Here's the pictures from the 1962 Chrysler 300 Sport that we used to teach how to use the Rupes Bigfoot Orbital Polishers as well as the Rupes Paint Polishing System.

First the car... this is a 1962 Chrysler 300 Sport. This belongs to my buddy Luc and the first time I saw this car was at the CarSpa Car Show at night where I took these pictures.





Besides the paint being swirled out with what appears to be holograms from the misuse of a rotary buffer the entire car including glass and trim had clear overspray paint all over it.

This made this car a perfect training car for my detailing boot camp class and also the perfect car for teaching the class how to use the Rupes Paint Polishing System.

Mike Phillips
01-29-2015, 02:06 PM
Inspecting the paint - the starting point to a show car finish

The first thing we do in this class is go over how to properly inspect the paint using both the sense of touch as well as visual inspection.

In this shot everyone is feeling the paint and what they found is it feels like #40 grit sandpaper. Even the glass and the metal trim.


For this car we're going to learn how to use the Nanoskin Autoscrub pads to remove the overspray paint and any other contaminants bonded to the surface. This is called,

Mechanical Decontamination

It's also vitally important if the goal is a true show car finish because in order to create the deep glossy appearance a true show car has you must first get the surface as smooth as possible. The Nanoskin Autoscrub pads are a replacement option for traditional claying with detailing clay.









Mike Phillips
01-29-2015, 02:22 PM
Doing a Test Spot
The most important first step before buffing out the entire car.

Decades ago I coined the term, practice and teaching of starting any machine polishing process out by doing what I call a test spot.

This is where you test the products you're thinking of using to buff out the entire car to one small section of paint and then STOPPING to inspect the results and MAKE SURE you're getting the results you hope for and dream about.

You start by using less aggressive products from the brand you've chosen to see if the correction work can be accomplished taking the least aggressive approach because if this gets the job done it leaves the most paint on the car and that is very important.

If your first products, pads and even tools of choice are not removing the defects fast enough or effectively enough then you do a NEW test spot in a new section of paint using a more aggressive approach.

You continue your testing until you dial in a process that works to your satisfaction. Then all you have to do is DUPLICATE the successful process over the rest of the car and theoretically if you do the same thing to the rest of the body panels you'll get the same results you proved on your test section and the paint will look as expected.

First up we go over how to the idea of a test spot and if we're not happy with the first test spot then how to move to a new or un-touched section of paint to do the second test spot.


Next we go over the Rupes Bigfoot Orbital Polishers including where the various switches, dials and speed locking mechanism are located.



Because the swirls are excessive in the paint on this car we're going to test out the Rupes Green Foam pad with the Rupes Quarz Gloss Medium Cut Gel Compound.

In this shot I'm also showing and explaining how to properly attach and remove Rupes pads to Rupes backing plates.



Next up is performing the test spot.


I practice, teach and recommend using a tape-line on a horizontal surface when doing a test spot and outline the reasons why in the class as well as how to avoid any problems.



Afterwards, we inspect the results and while the defects were about 90% removed I opted to do the next test spot using the more aggressive blue foam cutting pad and the Zephir Gloss Coarse Gel Compound.

We did a second test spot on the driver's side of the hood and the results were exactly what we were looking for and what the paint on this show car deserved.



Mike Phillips
01-29-2015, 02:32 PM
The Major Correction Step

In my first how to book (http://www.autogeek.net/how-to-create-a-show-car-shine-book.html) I use the term, The Major Correction Step to describe and define the first step where any serious below surface defects like swirls, scratches, holograms, water spots and oxidation are removed.

Very Important
It's very important that you invest the time to do the major correcting step correctly or otherwise the swirls and scratches will still be in the paint when you wipe-off the wax.

It is during the major correction step that all the deepest defects are removed. If they are not removed during this first step they will not be removed during the less aggressive step.

In these shots the class gets busy after first watching the correct technique for holding and moving the Rupes Bigfoot Orbital Polishers over the paint.




After the demonstration Nick and I move from student to student to watch, correct and tweak each person's technique.




Most cars have curves, tight areas and complicated panel designs that need to be corrected and polished just like the easy to buff flat panels.

In these shots I'm showing the technique I use to prevent pad stalling so you can remove the swirls out of every square inch of paint.




Mike Phillips
01-29-2015, 02:55 PM
The Polishing Step or Minor Correction Step

Sometimes the paint on the car only needs polishing to remove shallow swirls and scratches this would be simply called the minor correction step.

If you're following a major correction step with a follow up step then this step is simply called the polishing step.

There's a subtle difference especially if you're selling/educating a customer.

We followed the aggressive compounding step using the super soft Rupes Diamond Ultra Fine Gel Compound, (actually a polish not a compound as we use these terms here in America), and the super soft white foam finishing pad.

This combo was indeed dialed-in during the second test spot.

Here's Meghan using the Rupes Bigfoot 21 - this is how you do it...


You focus on the task at hand...


Meghan already owns a Rupes Bigfoot 21 and knows how to make show car polishing look easy! This also shows how smooth the Rupes Bigfoot polishers are and especially the fine cut and ultra fine cut polishes and matching polishing pads.


Here's Barry using light pressure to perfect the finish...



Mike Phillips
01-29-2015, 03:08 PM
Machine Waxing or Machine Sealing the Paint

Most high quality compounds and polishes are pro grade and one of the characteristics about pro grade compounds and polishes is that most of them are made to be body shop safe.

Besides meaning they won't contaminate a fresh paint environment, (body shop), it also means they tend to be water soluble and thus the high shine finish they create won't endure over time when the paint is subjected to,

Repeated washing and drying.
Repeated exposure to the rain.
Repeatedly being wiped down with spray detailers (high water content).

So what you want and need to do is seal the paint surface with something that is water in-soluble and this would be one of these three categories of products,

Car Wax - Typically have some form of Carnauba in them for high gloss and deep wet shine.

Synthetic Paint Sealant - These are man-made substitutes for car wax and quality synthetic paint sealants can equal the appearance of a high quality car wax plus they tend to last longer.

Paint Coatings - These are the new kids on the block and take the place of both car waxes and synthetic paint sealants.

For this car we're going to use Pinnacle Souveran Paste Wax because it's a true show car or finishing wax, (no abrasives or cleaners), and we're going to apply it by machine my preferred method of applying most waxes and sealants for reason I share and demonstrate in all my detailing classes.

In this shot I've removed the solid wax out of the wax jar and am carefully swiping the wax across the face of a soft blue Lake Country wax pad.


With the Porter Cable 7424XP you want to use a speed setting around the 4-5 speed setting. You don't want or need the highest speed setting for applying a finishing wax but you'll find the pad skims over the paint easier on the 4-5 speed setting than it will on the low speed settings.


One thing I like about the Porter Cable for applying waxes is that it's lightweight and compact so for vertical panels I can simply use one hand to hold the polisher and support and stabilize myself with my other hand.




Mike Phillips
01-29-2015, 03:36 PM
Wiping off the wax

This is actually a VERY IMPORTANT step.

The reason this step is important is because if your microfiber towels have any abrasive particles lodged into the fiber the particles will inflict scratches back into the paint and this is what I call working backwards. That is you're undoing all the hard work you did when you removed the swirls and scratches.

So before you take any microfiber towel and wipe the wax, sealant or coating residues off polished paint first take a few moments to both visually look at the towels for contaminants and then feel the towels with your clean bare hand.

A lot of time your hand will detect abrasive contaminants that your eyes could not see and you can either pick them out of the weave or get a different towel. And as a rule you should inspect each towel before use.

If you watch My Classic Car with Dennis Gage you'll see me demonstrate this tip this year in their new season of shows for 2015.

Here's Meghan demonstrating how to inspect a microfiber towel using her hand and after finding "something" she's removing it before folding the towel 4-ways and using it to wipe off the wax.



Next I demonstrate the technique,

Breaking open a coat of wax

And of course I share not only the technique for how-to in my classes but the why-to use this technique to make wiping any wax or sealant simple, safe and easy.


Then everyone inspects their towels, puts on a pair of microfiber gloves and carefully wipes off the Pinnacle wax for show car results.




Mike Phillips
01-29-2015, 03:40 PM
And here are the results or what I call...

The beauty shots....














Mike Phillips
01-29-2015, 03:45 PM
And here are the people behind this amazing transformation!



You to can learn how to use the Rupes Paint Polishing System as well as a host of other tools by attending one of this years detailing boot camp classes.

Each class is unique with amazing cars and hours of hands on training using the coolest tools on the coolest cars.

Here's the schedule for the rest of 2015

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.

See you here!


Mike Phillips
01-29-2015, 03:48 PM
As always... comments and questions are welcomed and even encouraged...


01-29-2015, 05:28 PM
Superb job everyone!

Imagine working on a show car, performing show car work, supervised by Mike Phillips... Oh, you just did it?

Being there is a dream coming true, congratulations to everyone attending.

Best Wishes, from Brazil.

01-29-2015, 11:09 PM
Hey Mike, I am looking forward to the 2016 classes. When will the 2016 schedule be released?
Thanks. Congrats for the results. Great job everyone!

01-30-2015, 12:43 AM
Great thread!

My better half wanted me to go to this one, but funds said otherwise.

I understand that as of now Rupes doesn't feature a protective step in their range, but what would be the most efficient way to install wax or sealant using the Bigfoot machines?

01-30-2015, 03:37 AM
Indeed, attending a Mike Phillips Boot Camp, would be a dream coming true. There are times in life you wish you were an American. Or to be living in US.
You guys who were lucky to be born in US, please don't take your country for a granted.
Regarding the Rupes, I'm planning, and saving $$$ for it, to buy an entire Rupes system to use with my 21. I think the only thing US is behind is the lack of 230V for my tools, I would miss that! All the best, from abroad.

01-30-2015, 06:25 AM
What a car!!
Mike, was the team using LHR15's for the correction work or 21's??