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  1. #1
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    Help with pads section

    I dont really detail vehicles but instead paint/buff show cars. I have always used a mikita or dewalt rotary with 3m wool and foam pads and either 3m or mothers compounds and polishes. I am thinking about buying a rupes 19e or flex pe14 and trying sonax or menzerna compounds and polishes instead but not sure what pads I should get. Most of my work has 6 coats of clear applied at one time than sanded with 600, 1000, 1500, 2000, 2500, 3000 and finished with 5000. Thanks

  2. #2
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Help with pads section

    Hi Ohioatrodder,


    Sounds like you have a really dialed-in process for sanding and buffing. I would recommend adding a dual action polisher to your arsenal for the last polishing step to 100% absolutely innsure a hologram-free finish but that's up to you.


    For products and pads,


    I'd recommend getting a bottle of SONAX Perfect Finish. This is a medium cut polish that finishes out like a fine cut polish. It's specifically formulated and designed for use with a rotary buffer. At SEMA this year, I used it with a rotary polisher on black paint under excruciating lights in front of huge crowds, (all of them sidewalk experts) for 4 days straight and consistency finished out with a super nice finish that also appeared to be hologram-free. It was very impressive.


    For pads, nothing wrong with the 3M foam pads, but I'm a FLAT pad guy. Anytime you introduce a shape or design to the face of the pad you create the potential for a problem as contaminants can lodge into the shape or design and then dislodge and mar or scratch the paint.

    Arc Scratches
    I coined the term arc scratches to describe the appearance of a scratch caused by a partial that gets trapped between a pad and paint and then leaves a partial circular scratch in the paint like an arc

    Kind of like this --> (

    We carry a lot of pads, more than I can think of or remember. In my opinion, the most important factor when it comes to polishing paint is the abrasive technology as it touches the paint first. Pad are not as important as long as you match the right type of pad to the product and process. By this I mean, use a foam cutting pad when removing defects, use a foam finishing pad when doing final polishing work. The brand is less important because all the recognized brands we carry make great pads.

    I'm not a YouTube Influencer so take what I say with a grain of cyber salt.



    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  3. #3
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    Re: Help with pads section

    Thank you for the quick response. I do have a rupes 21es and also a 5" backing plate for it and a lot75 plus an ibrid. I prefer rotary since it's what I have used the most. Do you think a flex or rupes rotary with smaller pads have any benefits to my mikita or dewalt? If I bought a rupes 19e could I use the pads and polishes I have for my 21es on it?

    That is my problem you have to many pads to choice from lol. I have spent the last week or so researching pads and have driven my self insane

  4. #4
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Help with pads section

    Quote Originally Posted by ohioratrodder View Post

    Thank you for the quick response. I do have a rupes 21es and also a 5" backing plate for it and a lot75 plus an ibrid.
    Another RUPES guy. I'm a fan of the BigFoot 21 Mark III for final finishing work. Don't use the LHR75 much, it works good, I just don't use it. I do like the Nano in rotary mode.

    Shot a video using it on a 1969 Coronet just last week. I used it to clean up around the air intake scoops on the hood after heavy claying. If you look closely around the area surrounding the air scoops, you can see where I've used my finger to spread product for buffing with the Nano.






    Quote Originally Posted by ohioratrodder View Post

    I prefer rotary since it's what I have used the most.
    I figured that. I've been interacting with people, people meaning,

    1. Body shop guys like you all over the world.
    2. Pro detailers all over the world.
    3. Enthusiast detailers all over the world.



    So I get it. Nothing new to me. You probably know what the word wheel means. As in

    I'm going to wheel a car


    I just don't believe that a truly 100% hologram free finish can be created using ONLY a rotary buffer. It's a great idea and it's easy to believe using only the human eyes. But at the surface level a pad spinning in only one direction will leave it's own scratch pattern called - holograms.

    Over the last 32 years in this industry, I have met a lot of guys that consider themselves,

    The GOD of the Rotary Buffer

    More power to them.


    Quote Originally Posted by ohioratrodder View Post

    Do you think a flex or rupes rotary with smaller pads have any benefits to my mikita or dewalt?
    No. I have all three of these buffers in the garage, use them when I teach my wetsanding class and my boat detailing class. I actually still have my original




    I keep it because I used it to feed myself until the gears finally completely wore out. It shows decades of wear-n-tear from real use in the real world.

    sandcast aluminum worn down...




    Rigs on the plastic handle worn off,








    Quote Originally Posted by ohioratrodder View Post

    If I bought a rupes 19e could I use the pads and polishes I have for my 21es on it?
    The answer is "yes" as foam pads are not that picky as to what you attach them to, but for finishing work, stick with the yellow and white foam pad. RUPE does in fact make great foam pads.




    Quote Originally Posted by ohioratrodder View Post

    That is my problem you have to many pads to choice from lol.
    I hear you... it use to be people complained because there too few choices, now people complain because there's so many choices. The Internet is the root cause for so many products on the market. It leveled the playing field for bringing products to market.




    Quote Originally Posted by ohioratrodder View Post

    I have spent the last week or so researching pads and have driven my self insane
    Copy that.

    A year ago I did a TON of testing for a class I taught at Mobile Tech Expo last year,

    2019 Mobile Tech Expo Classes

    One of my classes was to show how to use a rotary buffer to "jewel" paint.


    Class 5: Jeweling Paint with Rotary Polishers
    Thursday, January 10, 2019
    Time: 2pm- 3pm
    Instructor: Mike Phillips


    As a part of prepping for the class I tested about 13 recognized brand name fine cut and ultra fine cut polishes and some very soft pads. I took pictures of the holograms every polish left in my black paint demo hood. My conclusion is the same as it's always been and that's because paints are different, it's impossible to finish out 100% hologram-free on 100% of all the paints on the market. Some paints simply polish better than others.


    The softest pad I found on the market today for final finishing with a rotary buffer is the CarPro Gloss Pads

    CarPro 6.5 inch Gloss Pad

    CarPro 5.5 inch Gloss Pad



    Besides the above, any of the brands we carry, they make great foam pads. Lake Country, Meguiar's, Buff & Shine.


    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
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  5. #5
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Help with pads section

    I was in Powell, Ohio this last summer.


    I'm not saying you "need" a class, but I do think you would have "enjoyed" the class. I cover ALL the tools and bring in hundreds of pounds of tools, products and pads.


    Pictures: Roadshow Class with Detail Pro Shop in Powell, Ohio

    And my classes are 100% hands-on. We started at 6:30am and finished at 6:30pm the first day. The next day I let the guys sleep in an extra hour and we start at 7:30am. When we start, we're on our feet working. No chairs. No Power Point.





    Click here to view the original image of 1200x900px.


    And cool cars to test out all the cool tools on.


    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
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  6. #6
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    Re: Help with pads section

    I have been wanting to take one or more of your classes for a couple years now, problem is having the free time and the dates of your classes at the same time.

    I must have missed your class in ohio, but this year i have been extra busy and missed a bunch of shows i normally go to also.

    Unfortunately my 21es is the original, i bought it months before the mark ii was mentioned, i have been thinking about upgrading but hard to justify the cost when i only use it a few times a year.

    Once i learn to jewel paint properly and effectively i will use it more often or be willing to upgrade to a new polisher.

    My nano is mostly used when i sand and buff jambs and other similar areas. I dont plan to use the rotary for final polish mostly compounding and first polish.



    1965 corvette with a 1958 corvette doghouse and cove section i body worked and painted a few years ago

    Help with pads section-12024-jpg

    Help with pads section-20180410_1059501-jpg

    Help with pads section-20180410_1350491-jpg

    Help with pads section-20180410_1350011-jpg

    Help with pads section-20180410_1349511-jpg



    sanded before buffing

    Help with pads section-20180404_1810101-jpg

    Help with pads section-20180404_1809591-jpg



    1958 corvette i body worked and paint a couple years ago

    Help with pads section-20181214_2012391-jpg

    Help with pads section-20181214_2011071-jpg

    Help with pads section-20181130_2005081-jpg



    sanded before buffing

    Help with pads section-20181126_1721171-jpg

    Help with pads section-20181126_1720301-jpg

    Help with pads section-20181129_1416541-jpg

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  8. #7
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Help with pads section

    Freaking amazing work!

    I've never seen anyone do this before, graft the cove of a 1959 Corvette and front clip onto a 1965 Corvette. It's easy to see you have incredible skills.





    As for the original or Legacy RUPES BigFoot 21, I hear you on investment and usage. One thing I know, when it comes to tools, everyone has to START. RUPES started and you have one of their first long stroke polishers. On flat panels it's nice.

    The Mark II was a good improvement and the Mark III is a GREAT improvement. Here's my review of the BigFoot 21 Mark III and I'm being my normal honest


    Review: RUPES Mark III BigFoot 21 Polisher by Mike Phillips

    I used a one-step cleaner/wax on this old 2-door Chevy when I tested the tool. The Vette had NEVER been waxed since purchased new in 2014 BUT to the owner's credit, they washed it carefully for the 4-5 years they owned it before I machine buffed it. It only had normal light marring and car wash scratches.

    I used the RUPES 7" white foam finishing pad on about speed 4-5 and here's the results. Swirls and scratches are all removed.




    for the next week or so while the car remained in the garage, everyone that saw it asked the same question,


    What ceramic paint coating did you use on it?



    I like the RUPES long neck Nano in rotary mode, the long neck, thin body and plenty of cordless power makes it perfect for doing what I call

    Surgical buffing


    The new PXE 80 from FLEX kicks butt in 12mm free spin mode, so another great tool to consider down the road and the rechargeable battery system from FLEX is very robust.







    The original chargers that came with the

    The charger was not labeled it would accept the 10 volt but it will accept both the 18v and 10 volt batteries.


    The ONLY place the batteries are labeled is 10.8 Europe. In North America, FLEX labels the SAME battery as 12 volt. The internals are the same, it's just not a crucial factor.
    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
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