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  1. #1
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    Pigtails - Need help figuring out cause?

    Pigtails - Need help figuring out cause?


    Hi Mike,

    I want to say I'm a big fan and really appreciate your availability and expertise.

    My boss and I want to cone to a class with you. We live in Pennsylvania. I'm hoping you or another member can give me some direction with an issue. I was recently hired at a custom car shop after doing details and paint corrections as a hobby for years. I lost my job as a Physical Therapist Assistant and am fortunate to find good work in another field. The cars I'm working on have fresh 1-2 week old clear and are very soft.

    They hand sand in jumps of #500 grit to #1000 grit to #2500 grit and want to be able to use power sanders to cut down time and wear and tear on their bodies.

    I generally hard rubber block at #1000 grit then go to the DA for 3M Trizact #1500, #3000 and then #5000 then buff with Menzerna 2500 on a FLEX 3401.

    However its not been the case with this paint. I have been plagued by pigtails everywhere all over the car after buffing out. I'm using a quality DA sander with 2.5 mm throw 60 psi and slower speed. I had to completely re-sand the car by hand in #2000 to fix most of it. Ive found myself with a rotary buffer, white 3m foam pad and SONAX CutMax just to fix it all.

    Could it be the DA sander or maybe the 3M paper?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.



  2. #2
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Pigtails - Need help figuring out cause?

    Quote Originally Posted by MattyJ View Post

    Hi Mike,

    I want to say I'm a big fan and really appreciate your availability and expertise.
    Hi Matt,

    Great talking with you over the phone this morning. Let me comment on your info and then I'll summarize our conversation.



    Quote Originally Posted by MattyJ View Post

    My boss and I want to cone to a class with you. We live in Pennsylvania.
    Would love to have you and your boss attend any of my classes. I know I'm biased - but I think my car and boat detailing classes are the best in the industry. I also beleive they are the most hands-on in the industry plus - they are fun too.

    For yourself and everyone else that will read this thread into the future, here's the link to get more information about any of the classes I teach.


    Mike Phillips Detailing Classes



    Quote Originally Posted by MattyJ View Post

    I'm hoping you or another member can give me some direction with an issue. I was recently hired at a custom car shop after doing details and paint corrections as a hobby for years. I lost my job as a Physical Therapist Assistant and am fortunate to find good work in another field.
    Congratulations on getting a job at a shop that builds and then paints custom cars. That's a great gig if you can get it. Especially when the owners and the rest of the team truly care about the quality of work they put out including the final results for the paint finish.

    Some shops focus on build quality, that is building and bolting a car together and then the paint looks like swirled-out crap. Kind of misses the mark if you ask me.



    Quote Originally Posted by MattyJ View Post

    The cars I'm working on have fresh 1-2 week old clear and are very soft.

    As we discussed on the phone, I believe this is where we need to start. I think it's important to always start at the beginning of a process if there are problems and troubleshoot from there. If the clear paint being sanded and then buffed is still soft after 2 weeks - I think this is the problem. In a perfect world, the paint is neither too soft or too hard, it's right in that sweet spot where it can be easily sanded, cut and polished to perfection every time. No guessing, no this or that, just a dialed-in paint system and paint process that results in consistent results on the paint hardness aspect.


    Instead of trying different sanding papers or sanding discs; instead of trying different tools, pads and products - I would start first by contacting the Paint Rep for the brand of paint the shop is spraying and just like a Detective, investigate the entire process from start to finish.

    Have the Painters go through each step of their daily routine before spraying the paint. Which clear are they using, how are they reducing it, are they using a hardner, a flex agent, "anything" added to the paint. Then take a look at the process after the paint is sprayed, the drying/curing/baking process.

    A good Paint Rep should be an expert at looking at the process being used with THEIR product line and be able to troubleshoot if there are any problems and if there are problems leading to soft paint - where the process can be adjusted or tweaked.

    Instead of trying to fix soft paint and pigtail problems downstream, try to prevent them upstream.


    At least that's how I would start to solve this pigtail problem.


    Mike Phillips
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  3. #3
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Pigtails - Need help figuring out cause?

    And just to comment...


    Quote Originally Posted by MattyJ

    They hand sand in jumps of #500 grit to #1000 grit to #2500 grit and want to be able to use power sanders to cut down time and wear and tear on their bodies.
    Wow!

    Starting the sanding proess at #500 grit sounds really coarse, heck even #800 grit would sound course to me.

    Is there a ton of orange peel in the paint or other defects that need to be sanded flat?

    Seems to me, with a decent finish coming out of the paint booth, a person could start by blocking out at #1500 grit to get the paint flat. If you really need to cut faster then drop down to #1200 or #1000 but starting at #500 grit is something I would reserve for flattening out gel-coat.



    Quote Originally Posted by MattyJ

    I generally hard rubber block at #1000 grit then go to the DA for 3M Trizact #1500, #3000 and then #5000 then buff with Menzerna 2500 on a FLEX 3401.
    The above sounds like a process I would use. With the Nikken brand of finishing papers - you might be able to start at #1200 or #1500 grit. These are an electronics grade finishing paper that offers faster cutting with more uniform sanding mark pattern than conventional wet/dry automotive sand papers.

    I'll send you some to test out.



    Quote Originally Posted by MattyJ

    However its not been the case with this paint. I have been plagued by pigtails everywhere all over the car after buffing out.
    So here's what's happening - assuming you're right about the paint being soft - the pigtail problem is not being caused by stray grains of abrasives coming off the Trizact sanding disc and then being trapped between the disc and the paint - it's a result of the soft paint EASILY being abraded.

    Then when you go to buff out, the shallow pigtails buff out first and any deeper pigtails that remain stand out like a sore thumb.

    If the above scenario is in fact the situation - using a more aggressive compound or more aggressive pad or more aggressive tool may remove the pigtails faster and more efficiently - but the root cause of the problem is the paint - not the process.

    This is why if it were me - I would start by calling your Paint Rep and asking them to pay a visit to the shop to go through the process from start to finish. That is from squirting the paint to final polish and wipe-off. Most established brand of paint should be more than happy to provide technical assistance and old-fashioned customer service to ensure the reputation of their brand.

    IF not - there are other paint companies that will be more than happy to invest in your success with their brand.




    Quote Originally Posted by MattyJ


    I'm using a quality DA sander with 2.5 mm throw 60 psi and slower speed.
    That's really tiny. I'm going to guess the orbit stroke is close to 5mm or 3/16 inches. I have a Dynabrade finishing DA Sander and I believe mine is 3/16" - I'll check.


    Quote Originally Posted by MattyJ

    I had to completely re-sand the car by hand in #2000 to fix most of it. Ive found myself with a rotary buffer, white 3m foam pad and SONAX CutMax just to fix it all.
    Not only is sanding and buffing a car twice a lot of work and time - it's also removing a lot of the precious paint the painter sprayed.


    Quote Originally Posted by MattyJ

    Could it be the DA sander or maybe the 3M paper?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.


    I wish I were there to do some testing and I would be better able to diagnose the root cause of the problem and dial-in a process that worked and produced consistent results from car to car. But I'm not.


    Working on soft paint is difficult. Every aspect, sanding, buffing, polishing and even wiping. It's also going to be a problem for the final owner of the car. What we all really want and need when it comes to car paint is something that's not too soft nor too hard but right in the sweet spot where anyone with a basic Porter Cable dual action polisher can work on it.


    I have your shipping address, I'll get some Nikken Finishing Papers and the new SONAX Ultimate Cut 6" out today.


    Please keep us updated and thank you for your trust and for reaching out to me. I appreciate it.



    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  4. #4
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    Re: Pigtails - Need help figuring out cause?

    Hello again, Mike. Thank you for taking The time today To help me troubleshoot the issue Im having. I spoke with the owner , who also paints and he contacted the paint rep today. He mentioned he has been looking at a baking systen to install to help, but is diligent about getting the paint system worked out first. .

    To clarify about their sanding procedure , I meant to say the shop traditionally goes in jumps of 500 grit at a time; They start with 1000 Grit rubber hard block then 1500, 2000, 2500, and polish from there. They Previously have produced world class finishes but admit it takes alot of work to get them flat and cut by hand. They have had no luck with orbital machine sanding as they had the pigtailing issues.

    I look forward to trying out the sand paper and Xtra cut. I will report back with my thoughts.

    I am including some photos for yourself and other forum members to see what i am talking about.

    Thank you again for your time and expertise. I will update the posts as we work through the trouble shooting process.

    Pigtails - Need help figuring out cause?-90ac2154-cc1c-4f08-b0bf-2f223381094e-jpg
    The machine sander with 1500 just seems to float in the surface and does not make much slurry like a cured panel.

  5. #5
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    Re: Pigtails - Need help figuring out cause?

    Attachment 71577

    65 Shelby Hertz rental that we are prepping for a photo shoot for Hemmings later this week.

  6. #6
    Senior Member TMQ's Avatar
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    Re: Pigtails - Need help figuring out cause?

    Seen this many times while working in a body shop.

    It usually happens when body shop "dry" sand clear coats is stead of wet sanding. They use DA with sand paper to get panels flat for rotary work.
    The issue (my thoughts) is that the sand paper gets loaded up with knobs of soft clear coats in the sandpaper. Then they get harden and act like large pieces of 80 grit and cut pig tails---the same pattern in DA movements.

    Then you have pig tails in clear coats....

    I tend to not try to remove all the tails---I'm never sure how deep they go into the clear coat. If rotary wasn't able to get them out, I think they are too deep. You might be able to wet sand them down enough to take them all out and buff to final finish. Me....I wouldn't bet on it...

    Tom
    Mr Tommy's
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  8. #7
    Senior Member TMQ's Avatar
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    Re: Pigtails - Need help figuring out cause?

    Check with painter that did the sanding. They might tell you how much more you can sand down the clear.

    The painter at the shop I worked at---does dry sanding all the time. And then he rotary finishes the paint. From time to time he'll mess up. He just then turn around, pushes car back into the booth and repaints the car again.

    That IS WHY I tell people to get the paint people to sand down and buff the paint. Then I'll refine and correct paint at the final stages.

    Tom
    Mr Tommy's
    Wash, Buff, Wax
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  10. #8
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Pigtails - Need help figuring out cause?

    First, here's the full sizer version of your picture,


    Pig tails look BAD!





    Quick question Matt,


    Tom brought up DRY SANDING - I didn't think to ask you over the phone if all the sanding is being done dry or wet?

    I assumed both the hand sanding and the machine sanding are done wet?


    Mike Phillips
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    Re: Pigtails - Need help figuring out cause?

    To add, I’ve seen it done both ways—-DA dry and DA wet.

    In both cases, sanding paper loads up quickly and they wait too long before switching out the paper-causing pig tails.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Mr Tommy's
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  13. #10
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    Re: Pigtails - Need help figuring out cause?

    Quote Originally Posted by TMQ View Post
    To add, I’ve seen it done both ways—-DA dry and DA wet.

    In both cases, sanding paper loads up quickly and they wait too long before switching out the paper-causing pig tails.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    This is a big cause, jammed up paper and not working clean enough.

    Another thing is, unlike da polishing during a paint correction with compounds and polishes... try to keep the pad rotation to a minimum and see if that helps. No pad rotation would be just fine.
    Ripping through your mind like a hurricane full of novocaine

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