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Thread: Flex 3401 vs. Rupes Mille/Makita P5000C, for those that are wondering.

  1. #201
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    Re: Flex 3401 vs. Rupes Mille/Makita P5000C, for those that are wondering.

    I can wait, but I don't want to.

    I am anticipating that the Mille will work well on gelcoat as a rotary alternative with the right pads; am I correct or am I still going to need/want a rotary for gelcoat correction?

  2. #202
    Senior Member VISITOR's Avatar
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    Re: Flex 3401 vs. Rupes Mille/Makita P5000C, for those that are wondering.

    Quote Originally Posted by jjackkrash View Post
    am I correct or am I still going to need/want a rotary for gelcoat correction?
    here's a couple of threads you might want to check out with the flex...
    https://www.autogeekonline.net/forum...on-whaler.html
    https://www.autogeekonline.net/forum...n-removal.html

  3. #203
    Senior Member Todd@RUPES's Avatar
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    Re: Flex 3401 vs. Rupes Mille/Makita P5000C, for those that are wondering.

    Quote Originally Posted by jjackkrash View Post
    I can wait, but I don't want to.

    I am anticipating that the Mille will work well on gelcoat as a rotary alternative with the right pads; am I correct or am I still going to need/want a rotary for gelcoat correction?
    Oxidation can be quite deep - as you remove the damaged paint it needs somewhere to go. This is why wool pads, with their increased surface area, can be so effective. RUPES will be launching specifically designed wool pads, tuned and balanced for the Mille, which should be the answer on those thickly oxidized gel coats.

    As Visitor nicely pointed out, if current gear-driven polishers work, then the Mille should work even better! Gel-coat work, even with a gear-driven polisher can take time. With the Mille, and its carefully designed ergonomics and minimal steering, I have a feeling a lot of marine detailers and boat owners are going to be very grateful.

    With all of the above said, nothing can produce the cutting power potential of a rotary polisher. It is able to develop a high amount of speed on the pad's edge which gives it the highest potential for cut. On some gel coats with really deep, really hard oxidation, you may still get the fastest initial cut by starting with a rotary polisher and a wool pad.
    dlc95 likes this.

  4. #204
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Flex 3401 vs. Rupes Mille/Makita P5000C, for those that are wondering.

    Quote Originally Posted by jjackkrash View Post

    am I correct or am I still going to need/want a rotary for gelcoat correction?
    Depends on how deep the oxidation is and your expectations for a "nice" finish.


    I cover deep oxidation in my boat classes, the next class is February 10th and 11th, 2018 - The fastest and easiest way to remove deep oxidation is to machine sand and then compound with a wool pad on a rotary buffer.



    I also cover this in my boat detailing how-to book. This is the most in-depth how-to book I've ever written due to how many tools there are on the market and also the wide spectrum of "conditions" boats can be in. Suffice to say, it's a lot more complex to "type" about than car detailing.


    There a 6 pages to the index alone. Here's the third page,





    I divided boat conditions into 4 categories,

    Category #1 New or Like New
    Category #2 Good Condition with Light Oxidation
    Category #3 Mild Neglect
    Category #4 Severely Oxidized and Neglected


    Category #1 you're good to go with a free spinning orbital polisher. Any free spinning orbital polisher s long as you can maintain pad rotation and pad oscillation.

    Category #2 you're good to go with any gear-driven orbital polisher or rotary buffer. Oxidation can be removed to a satisfactory level with a free spinning tool but it's going to take longer as compared to any gear-driven tool. Your time, you're money.

    Category #3 - At this level of oxidation, the fastest way to and here's the key word, thoroughly remove deep oxidation is with a rotary buffer, wool pad and top notch compound. You can use a gear-driven orbital but it's going to take longer to get the same results you can achieve using a rotary with a wool pad.

    Category #4 - At this level of deep oxidation the fastest and most effective way to thoroughly remove oxidation is to machine sand to a fresh base of gel-coat and then remove your sanding marks using a rotary buffer. You can skip sanding and only use a rotary buffer but >you< are going to PUSH hard for HOURS against a surface that declines or angels away from you, very tough to do for hours. The results will look splotchy unless you REALLY focus on working small areas and closely monitor your pad overlap not only for the section you're buffing but when moving to a new section.


    At our boat detailing classes I bring in the WORST condition dark colored gel-coat boats and then show All of the above.


    Heck, you can oxidation by hand if you want and I show how in my boat detailing book but what I also say in the chapter on removing oxidation on boats in category #3 on page 54 is this,

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Phillips

    My guess is that anyone attempting to correct the finish on a boat in Category #3 by hand will get about an hour into the correction process before deciding to switch to a machine.

    I didn't address how to remove deep oxidation by hand for boats in category #4 because I don't know if there's a human alive that could do an entire boat. BUT if someone wanted to the 4-step process I outline for boats in category # would also work for boats in category #4.


    Mike Phillips
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  5. #205
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Flex 3401 vs. Rupes Mille/Makita P5000C, for those that are wondering.

    For reference, here's a full write-up showing how to machine sand a boat in category #4 using RUPES 5" sanding discs...


    How to wetsand, cut and buff a gel-coat boat






    I don't know if RUPES still offers these exact sanding discs in the 5" size? I had a collection of these sanding discs after a number of RUPES classes at SEMA and MTE and ended up with enough to sand a couple of boat projects for classes here at Autogeek. They did work very well.





    We did this project about 3 years ago. I think it's the only picture-documented boat wetsanding class on the Interweb...


    How to wetsand, cut and buff a gel-coat boat


    Mike@ShineStruck likes this.
    Mike Phillips
    Host - Competition Ready on Velocity Channel
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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    Click on a book to get your own copy.



  6. #206
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    Re: Flex 3401 vs. Rupes Mille/Makita P5000C, for those that are wondering.

    Mike, your Marine detailing book and the Rupes Polisher books came this weekend! I got through a big chunk of both last night instead of watching Game of Thrones.

    I am not opposed to using a rotary for bad cases, but looking to get away from a rotary unless its really needed.

  7. #207
    Senior Member VISITOR's Avatar
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    Re: Flex 3401 vs. Rupes Mille/Makita P5000C, for those that are wondering.


    the Flex 3401 has been tried and true for many years and has proven itself (very reliable German tool) to work in a variety of situations (it's been known to even detail Aircraft!). there is also a Flex service center here in the states in Omaha, NE (Powerhouse Distributing) that has been around since the beginning to service the tool if needed. they (Flex) also have a new mini DA coming out soon as well (pictured below to the right). they don't call the Flex 3401 the BEAST for nothing!




    https://www.flex-tools.com/en/products/polishers-2/
    Mike@ShineStruck likes this.

  8. #208
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    Re: Flex 3401 vs. Rupes Mille/Makita P5000C, for those that are wondering.

    VISITOR, thanks for the tip. I just bought a set of Rupes DA's and I'm pretty impressed with their build quality. I also like the idea of sticking with their "system" so to speak. If I went another route it would probably be with Makita, as I have virtually all of their cordless tools and a slew of other Makita corded tools, and I have never ever been sorry I bought a Makita.

    That said, I am also a big fan of German engineering, so maybe I will give the Flex tools a closer.

  9. #209
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    Re: Flex 3401 vs. Rupes Mille/Makita P5000C, for those that are wondering.

    So whats the favorite atm? Makita or rupes?

  10. #210
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    Re: Flex 3401 vs. Rupes Mille/Makita P5000C, for those that are wondering.

    Quote Originally Posted by WRAPT C5Z06 View Post
    I FB messaged Todd Helme(I trust very much) of Rupes asking him....






    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    "Orbit size is not that important on a gear driven" Is that an odd statement. I thought the orbit is what prevents these da's from causing swirls. If orbit size wasn't important wouldn't we be using rotaries?

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