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Thread: Buffing An Edge

  1. #1
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    Buffing An Edge

    Hi Mike and fellow detailers,

    Lately I have noticed a pattern that is getting very popular in the detailing world, and I don't know if I am missing something here.

    Alot of professional detailers having polishers that range from 1 inch to 6 inches and will constantly break down each panel they are using based on the best fit for the pad. So if there is a large flat surface, they may use the 5 or 6 inch polisher and backing plate/pd, but if there is a small piece of painted trim, they use either a 1 - 3 inch backing plate and pad, constantly making reference of the edges on paintwork and how the pad shouldn't touch it or overhang it as there is minimal clear and the risk is too high. It's important to note that ALL these detailers are using free spining dual actions and not rotories.

    I personally am a forced rotation and oscillation (FRFO) tool guy. I love my 3401 and XCE. And it's my default go to in my workshop. I do have the other free spinning and smaller machines, but find using my 3401 doesn't fart around trying to look pretty and gets the job done. I also find it is just fine in tight areas by tilting the pad, adjusting speed and technique. So far I have never burnt an edge or gone through clear on an edge, even when the pad is overhanging an edge during a pass. But I'm beginning to doubt myself when I see the latest trend of other pros that I respect have to have a machine for every type of panel width and avoid edges like it's COVID19.

    So Mike, as you are a straight shooter and in my opinion, the greatest "real world" detailer, where time is money - my questions are:

    1. Is using a larger pad on smaller panel areas where the pad overhangs the edge when spinning a reckless technique?

    2. Is tilting the pad on a FRFO to make it fit into tighter areas reckless?

    3. Is doing a pass where the pad hands off an edge with a free spinning dual action, or a forced rotation and oscillation machine reckless?

    5. Do you really need all these machines and pads to accommodate each panel width?

    Thanks in advance. Really looking for some real world clarity here.

    Sent from my CPH1979 using Autogeekonline mobile app

  2. #2
    Senior Member MarkD51's Avatar
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    Re: Buffing An Edge

    I'm not Mike Phillips, but I can say and do know this. The Flex 3401 is a powerful tool, and yep, like the Junkman (Junkman2000) once said in one of his u-tube vids, and talking about various tools.

    When he picked up the Flex 3401, he said, "Yes boys and girls, this bad boy can burn your paint!"

    Just like a Rotary, one always must stay away from edges as much as possible.

    I recall Mike once explaining some principles, and of the Flex, and Rotary Polishers, not only is there usually much more heat being generated with forced rotation, and that can be the killer, but as well, due to qualities of how paint is, and in regards to edges on a vehicle, the paint is often thinner in such areas, due to gravity-etc when being painted.

    Even with a free spinning DA, best to not run wild on any edges, very lightly if any at all, and might be best to lightly do such areas by hand. Curves are one thing, but sharp edges are another altogether.

    Same holds true with Trim, let's take A and B Pillars, that with larger pads, there's overhang, and again, overhang of a pad, especially on a rotary or Flex 3401 can again get you into trouble on such areas, and burn edges.

    It's one reason most experienced detailers will reach for a smaller machine and pads to do such areas. They've selected the right tool for the task-job at hand. None will likely try to do every square inch on a vehicle with just the 3401.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Senior Member 2black1s's Avatar
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    Re: Buffing An Edge

    My answers...

    1. Is using a larger pad on smaller panel areas where the pad overhangs the edge when spinning a reckless technique?

    It can be but doesn't necessarily have to be. As long as you tilt the pad slightly so the rotation is going parallel to, or away, from the edge the risk is minimal. If the pad rotation is into the edge you are asking for trouble.

    2. Is tilting the pad on a FRFO to make it fit into tighter areas reckless?

    No... As long as you lighten up on the pressure/speed and don't gouge the pad into the paint.

    3. Is doing a pass where the pad hands off an edge with a free spinning dual action, or a forced rotation and oscillation machine reckless?

    Same answer as #1. Note that the risk is higher with a forced rotation tool than with a free-spinning tool.

    5. Do you really need all these machines and pads to accommodate each panel width?

    This is really a matter of personal preference. Certainly if you have multiple machines at your fingertips, with different size pads, then the different size pads are beneficial. On the other hand, if you're constantly changing backing plates and pads on a single machine, I'm not sure it's worth the hassle. Personally, I just do the areas I can't get to with my polisher by hand.

    My answers are based on my experience having learned to polish with a rotary many years ago when they were single-speed, 15 lb. monsters. Many of the same principles apply today regardless of machine.

    And finally... Where's question #4?

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  5. #4
    Senior Member psnt1ol's Avatar
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    Re: Buffing An Edge

    I am also a force oscillation guy since my buffing style best match the tool. Prior to me acquiring other tools (LHR 75E mini, Ibrid, G8, mini polisher on RO) and various backing plates sizes for a number of machines, I did almost everything with the Flex 3401. Areas that I couldnt get to with the Flex, I would do it by hand and fingers. Tilting the Flex to get to edges or tight areas was a normal routine for me. This was a time when the old Griot mini 3" was the only small tool around. Longthrow machines didnt come to the market yet.

    In my opinion... having multiple sizes of pads and machines are to me what knives are to a chef. Technically, one can use a cleaver to cut or chop anything but certain knives (with their unique sizes and shapes) would be much more efficient at certain specific tasks. By having multiple machines with different sizes at hand, it actually helps me in planning out a detail.

    I am about to make a statement that might get under the skin for a lot of people. "You will never miss what you never had". Once I acquired more tools, I find it very difficult to go back to how it was. Prior to that, I really didnt give it much thought and power thru with what i had on hand. Its neither right or wrong but rather just...is.

    Oh... btw, where is question #4? LOL

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  7. #5
    Senior Member Rsurfer's Avatar
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    Re: Buffing An Edge

    Quote Originally Posted by psnt1ol View Post

    In my opinion... having multiple sizes of pads and machines are to me what knives are to a chef.

    Technically, one can use a cleaver to cut or chop anything but certain knives (with their unique sizes and shapes) would be much more efficient at certain specific tasks.

    By having multiple machines with different sizes at hand, it actually helps me in planning out a detail.

    I compare having multiple polishers to removing a long nut and bolt. You can remove it with an open end wrench, or you can use a socket and ratchet.




  8. #6
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    Re: Buffing An Edge

    Thank you all for your replies, it's been a great help.

    I guess the bottom line confirms my thoughts on the matter. Having every tool and size pad for each panel is ideal, but we can utilise what we have to do the job (even if it requires polishing by using our fingers to get to those tight areas).

    There are higher risks, but as professionals who do this every day, I personally feel that we should have the knowledge and experience to mitigate most of those risks in ways that enthusiasts or DIYers can't. And yes, sometimes the risk calculated is too high and we use the smaller machines etc.

    Though I'm sure I'll still end up getting the Flex PXE to completemy arsenal...for now.🤦#♂️

    Btw, I got to run, got to get back to join the search party trying to find question 4. Its not looking good for that number I'm afraid.

    Sent from my CPH1979 using Autogeekonline mobile app

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  10. #7
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Buffing An Edge

    Quote Originally Posted by fou4thought View Post


    Hi Mike and fellow detailers,

    Lately I have noticed a pattern that is getting very popular in the detailing world, and I don't know if I am missing something here.

    Alot of professional detailers having polishers that range from 1 inch to 6 inches and will constantly break down each panel they are using based on the best fit for the pad.
    The above is the RUPES approach to professional detailing. This means, if you're going to be a PROFESSIONAL - then just like a professional mechanic that has a professional collection of tools so they have the right tool for the job, anyone that wants to be a professional detailer and also use the RUPES system, then they build up a complete set of tools so like a Professional Mechanic, they have the right tool for the job.

    If you're an enthusiast or weekend-warrior, then the presents a dilemma because now you're trying to pick just ONE tool and do everything with it.

    Their approach is completely sound. If you ever are around a Pro Mechanic, take a look at their tool chest. It's also one of the reasos that when I TITELED my RUPES how-to book, I specifically titled it like this,


    The RUPES BigFoot Paint Polishing SYSTEM




    Note I stated in print, on the cover no less, it's a SYSTEM - not a tool.


    I would say RUPES is the only company that has approached the detailing "business" and the detailing "industry" in this very purposeful manner. Other companies are doing something like this but not to the degree of purpose that RUPES has implemented from my guess - Day 1.




    Quote Originally Posted by fou4thought View Post

    I personally am a forced rotation and oscillation (FRFO) tool guy. I love my 3401 and XCE. And it's my default go to in my workshop. I do have the other free spinning and smaller machines, but find using my 3401 doesn't fart around trying to look pretty and gets the job done. I also find it is just fine in tight areas by tilting the pad, adjusting speed and technique. So far I have never burnt an edge or gone through clear on an edge, even when the pad is overhanging an edge during a pass.

    But I'm beginning to doubt myself when I see the latest trend of other pros that I respect have to have a machine for every type of panel width and avoid edges like it's COVID19.

    Nothing wrong with comparing your approach to the approach of others. I do this but I also keep it real. I post this a lot when replying to questions on this forum and here goes again.

    When you're reading a WRITE-UP I've taken the time to invest in, this means while buffing out a car I STOPPED buffing and took pictures. Then later did SOMETHING with them, (name any other "instructor" in this industry that does this to the volume I do it), when you see these types of write-ups - TAKE A LOOK AT ALL THE TOOLS, PADS, TOWELS AND PRODUCTS I share. I do this for multiple reasons but at least one of the reasons is to show others what I do and if they so choose, they can do it like me too.


    Here's a recent example - ONLY 2 tools. Normally I also use the RUPES Nano Long Neck in rotary mode.

    Removing Swirls in 1 Step - Pinnacle Jeweling Wax - 1957 Chevy Pickup Streetrod


    Tools, pads and products used




    The smaller PiXiE came in handy in some of the tight spots and intricate areas. And - even with 2 tools and one product, results were professional grade.












    Quote Originally Posted by fou4thought View Post

    So Mike, as you are a straight shooter and in my opinion, the greatest "real world" detailer, where time is money -
    Thank you for the compliment, I'll do my best to reply in a way that meets the above description.




    Quote Originally Posted by fou4thought View Post

    my questions are:

    1. Is using a larger pad on smaller panel areas where the pad overhangs the edge when spinning a reckless technique?
    It's not a "Best Practice". IF a person is skilled and has experience plus depending upon what they are doing - it can be done. I do it but I also wrote this article, which is just ONE example of KNOWLEDGE for doing this type of work with a very specific tool - the rotary buffer.

    How to buff off an edge when using a rotary buffer


    Right Technique
    In these pictures the body of the rotary buffer is held in a way so that when the pad is spinning it is buffing or rotating OFF the edge.










    Quote Originally Posted by fou4thought View Post

    2. Is tilting the pad on a FRFO to make it fit into tighter areas reckless?

    I do it all the time. I'ts NOT for everyone. WE all had to learn to walk before we could run, even yours truly.

    Here's my article on this topic.

    If you spend enough time behind any tool you can make it dance on paint -Mike Phillips

    Buffing a tight area UP ON EDGE using a RUPES BigFoot 21

    Custom Paint Job - 1980 Corvette - RUPES & Gyeon - Extreme Show Car Makeover at Autogeek


    Buffing on edge with the RUPES BigFoot 21 Mark II

    I cover this technique on page 64 of my RUPES how-to book.








    The KEY - is making sure you have GREAT pad attachment. Too many people buy a tool an "think" the backing plate lasts for ever. That's not true. The HOOKS wear out and pads can fly off. So going up on edge means being smart enough to know that the backing plate on the tool you're using still has great pad attachment. Newbies don't know this kind of stuff. So like I typed above, it's not for everyone.





    Quote Originally Posted by fou4thought View Post

    3. Is doing a pass where the pad hands off an edge with a free spinning dual action, or a forced rotation and oscillation machine reckless?

    I'm thinking I've answered this question, which is different but also the same as questions #1 and #2, sufficeintly enough above in my anwerers. Has to do with each individuals skills, knoweldge, expereince PLUS what they are using and what they are working on.

    There's a HUGE difference working on a car like I share in this write-up,

    Whisper Thin Paint on Classic Cars by Mike Phillips - Be Careful!





    And working on a new car where the factory clearcoat is all intact.





    Quote Originally Posted by fou4thought View Post

    5. Do you really need all these machines and pads to accommodate each panel width?

    Thanks in advance. Really looking for some real world clarity here.
    The simple answer is "no" but if all you have is a single tool - even with great skill you are more limited than the person with multiple tools.


    And of course, a person can always work by hand, it's just most people don't have the skill, ability, experience, tenacity, muscle or even energy to work by hand and when I say work by hand - I mean do paint correction, not wipe off a smudge.

    To work by hand, see LIVE Detailing Class #22 here,


    Complete List of Live Broadcast Videos on YouTube - Yancy Martinez & Mike Phillips





    :
    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  11. #8
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Buffing An Edge

    Quote Originally Posted by fou4thought View Post


    Thank you all for your replies, it's been a great help.

    I guess the bottom line confirms my thoughts on the matter. Having every tool and size pad for each panel is ideal, but we can utilise what we have to do the job (even if it requires polishing by using our fingers to get to those tight areas).

    Great summary.


    Let me just add, sometimes CONTEXT helps.


    I often get asked,

    Mike, which polishers should I buy?



    Instead of answering this initial question, I offer to change the question by inserting ONE word.


    Mike, which polisher should I buy first?





    Then after getting a good first all-purpose polisher like the Griot's Garage G9, a person can always add a second or third polisher down the road.


    A lot of how this question should be answered depends on the context of the what the person in question is doing.


    Is the person just detailing their own car?

    Is the person starting a detailing business or do they have an existing detailing business?




    Huge difference in "wants and needs" in the above two hypothetical scenarios.



    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
    Mike Phillips Facebook Page
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  12. #9
    Senior Member MarkD51's Avatar
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    Re: Buffing An Edge

    Mike, like that one analogy I've often said, "When the only tool you have is a Hammer, everything looks like a Nail!" LOL

  13. #10
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    Re: Buffing An Edge

    Wow. Thank you Mike for taking the time to answer my questions. Quite flattering when the worlds best detailer gives me the time of day to help me out.

    Thanks for your answers and advice...hoping one day to get over there to the US of A and sit in one of your classes..or 2..or 3.

    Sent from my CPH1979 using Autogeekonline mobile app

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