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  1. #1
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    Frustrated with detailing lights

    When the sun hits my truck in just the right spot, I can see tons of swirl marks on the side panels. These are very light swirls that are clearly from improper washing by the previous owner. It is frustrating bc I can only see them when I have just the right lighting. So, I picked up an Astro 50SL color matching light as I read that they are special lights used for this purpose. I cannot see any difference between using this light vs any other light. I see no defects at all using this light. I have tried holding it at every possible angle.

    Is there any light on the market that would be able to show these defects or am I just wasting my time here? Is this something that would only be possible to see under just the right sun light?

    I am planning on doing a polishing to remove these defects, but I would like to have some way to inspect my work.

  2. #2
    Super Member 2black1s's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated with detailing lights

    Get yourself a 5000k 17W LED bulb and an old school trouble light fixture... Probably around 20 bucks total. If you can handle plugging in a trouble light with a bright 5000k LED bulb you should be able to find any swirls that exist.

    The only real advantage I see with swirl finder lights marketed towards detailers, like the one you mention, is their small size and portability.

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  4. #3
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    Re: Frustrated with detailing lights

    My thing with the special magic detailing light is that it doesn’t seem to work.. like at all. I’m just wondering if these lights are a total gimmick or if I’m possibly not using it right.

  5. #4
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    Re: Frustrated with detailing lights

    Scangrip Sunmatch 3 has 5 settings from 2500k to 6500k. This is to inspect deeper and more light marring on different colors of the paint. White paint is usually needs a warmer light to 2500k and darker paint colder light up to 6500k.

    I just put it out that some things that can look like light marring or buffer trails in the sun. Can be that you have to much of protection on the paint or it's a oily residue that's shows up in the sun light. Especially if you have done a finishing polish and not a thorough wipe down with a panel wipe product. You can check this under the sun light and look at it while you gently wipe with a microfiber towel. And you see it changes. If it don't change it's micro marring. Scangrip Multimatch R is the work light version of the handheld Sunmatch. I have the older version of the Sunmatch that don't changes the kelvin. And I have problems on light colors to see everything easier. So it may solve for easier spotting marring and scratches with something like the Sunmatch 3. I don't know if Astro has another that you can change the warmth of the light setting on it. But in general this makes it easier. For an example under the orange light on gas stations you can see some swirls easier that you don't see anywhere else. And some that you see under the sun. It's the closest you come either than under the sun with this lights.

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  6. #5
    Super Member Bosko's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated with detailing lights

    If you really want to see defects in paint use the light at night time....the type of light isn't going to make a difference....unless it is a soft box type(difussed)

    Color temperature of a light(4000/5000/7000K) means nothing when checking paint for defects in this fashion

    In most cases when people struggle with lighting to check for paint issue, it's because they don't know how to use the light correctly.

    It's all about the "Angle of Incidents"....what I light to say pool table angles..

    The light needs to reflect "back" to your eyes....not bounce away...


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  8. #6
    Super Member Desertnate's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated with detailing lights

    Great example of using the angles to see defects.

    The best lights I've ever used for seeing defects was a really cheap halogen work light rig I bought at Lowe's. They were probably around 3500/4000K. I'd place the lights at a steep angle to the vehicle and then back off a distance facing the lights and looks at the surface from a similarly steep angle to see the swirls. While working on the pannels the angles might be a little steeper than my initial assessment, but they are still pretty wide. I also move both my site lines and the lights as I go. Curvature/height of the panels makes it almost impossible to stand in one place and get an accurate view of the entire thing.

    I think the color temp (i.e. K's) does help with the visibility. The warmer the temp (3500~4000) seems to work better on a wider range of paint colors. I've found cooler temps work OK on lighter colors, but warmer temps work better on darker colors. My new light stands are LED's and I've noticed a difference in the ease of spotting defects.

    Eliminating other light sources also helps. When I'm accessing the paint condition or polishing, I'll turn off all the lights except for the light stand. This helps greatly. I do struggle due the the blinds on the windows in my garage not doing a great job of blocking bright sun in the afternoons and the white walls reflecting light. I could paint my garage a dark color and put black-out curtains on the windows, but I'm not going to go that far for work I only do once or twice a year at most.
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