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  1. #1
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Fibers are a form of abrasive - Foam Pads vs Microfiber Pads by Mike Phillips

    Fibers are a form of abrasive - Foam Pads vs Microfiber Pads by Mike Phillips


    >>> insert picture here<<<



    The below is some real meaty info you'll only find on a forum.



    From this article,


    Here's what you need to get into machine polishing - Recommendations for a beginner by Mike Phillips





    Foam pads versus microfiber pads

    Here's the primary difference if you're new to machine polishing and don't know which style of pad to go with.

    You can quote me on this statement,

    When comparing foam pads to microfiber pads, foam pads will finish out nicer and more consistently on a wider spectrum of paint systems - Mike Phillips


    What this means is, cars have paint on them. The paint comes from a paint manufacturer. There are about a dozen paint manufacturers that provide paint to car manufacturers and the re-finishing industry. (re-finishing industry is the local body shop or dealership that fixes the dents in your car and sprays fresh paint on the repaired area so it matches the rest of the car.

    Paint systems are not only different in their hardness and softness, or what I like to call polishability, but paints are ALWAYS changing. So there's no simple way to know if the paint you're buffing on is hard or soft without testing and experience, (I cover this in my how to book on page 7)

    So when I say, that foam pads will finish out nicer and more consistently on a wide spectrum of paint systems that means

    A: For the finishing step, not the compounding step. (look at what I wrote)

    B: I used the words wide spectrum because thousands of people will read this and then be buffing on a car somewhere and it will have a "paint system" on it and none of us except the person buffing on this car will know if the paint is hard, soft or somewhere in-between.




    Fibers are a form of abrasive

    Just like the headline reads, fibers are form of abrasive. A gentle abrasive in most cases but an abrasive all the same. If you put a wool cutting pad on a rotary buffer and then buff on some black paint with some baby oil, after you strip the paint of the baby oil and look at the paint there will be hologram swirl scratches in the paint. They will not have come from the baby oil or the tool, so what put the scratches into the paint? Answer. The fibers that make up the wool pad.

    You can extrapolate this out to microfiber pads for orbital polishers. While for some paints, (harder paints), you can both compound and finish out with a fiber/microfiber pad, for other paints, (softer paints), you can compound with a microfiber pad and remove defects but the fibers that make up the pad can and will leave a scratch pattern called micro-marring. That's okay if you do a follow-up step after compounding and re-polish the paint but if you're seeing micro-marring from a microfiber pad then you'll have a high chance of finishing out without micro-marring if you switch over to a foam pad.

    And the above explanation is what I mean when I say,


    "When comparing foam pads to microfiber pads, foam pads will finish out nicer and more consistently on a wider spectrum of paint systems"


    Of course, you never know what you can do until you try.... and then inspect the results. And when inspecting, to measure the true and accurate results you'll need to chemically strip the paint and inspect with a quality swirl finder light or bright overhead sunlight.



    Car Detailing History 101

    To help understand the history of microfiber pads and when and why they were introduced into the car detailing world, I like to use the Meguiar's Microfiber DA Correction System as an analogy.


    Meguiar's introduced this system to change the production detailing industry by getting rid of the universally abused rotary buffer. The production detailing industry uses the rotary buffer for SPEED, not quality. The problem with the rotary buffer is that all to often it leaves the paint filled with holograms.

    Holograms = a circular scratch pattern IN the paint caused by the single rotating action of the buffing pad on a rotary buffer.

    Holograms mimic the pattern a rotary buffer is moved over the paint. Holograms is a SPECIFIC type of scratch pattern only inflicted into paint by rotary buffers, not orbital polishers. Orbital polishers can instill micro-marring and a visible pattern of how an orbital buffer was moved over the paint can be seen on darker colors but this pattern is NOT called holograms. You can call it buffer trails, or buffer haze or buffer shadows, or buffer patterns but it is NOT called holograms.

    The idea was to replace the rotary buffer with a free spinning orbital polisher from Meguiar's called the G100 which was a copy of the Porter Cable 7424 orbital polisher, and then later the MT300, which offers the same 8mm orbit stroke length has the G100 (or the Porter Cable), but has a longer body than the G100. (same 8mm free spinning orbital polishing action)

    To make up for the loss of direct drive power and speed offered by the rotary buffer, Meguiar's incorporated a microfiber pad or a FIBER pad to assist in faster defect removal. Or you could say this as faster PAINT REMOVAL as removing defects is actually removing paint to level the surface, that is level the surface with the lowest depths of the defects you're trying to remove to create a visually flat and also visually perfect finish. The fibers act as a form of abrasives and aid the actual abrasives in compounds and polishes.


    The downside of increasing the aggressiveness or cutting ability of an orbital polisher by introducing a microfiber pad is the risk of introducing micro-marring when the fibers instill their own scratch pattern into some paints, typically softer paints. This tradeoff is considered a net gain as compared to having the detailing industry inflict every car buffed out with a rotary buffer with hologram scratches.


    The above is an attempt to explain not only why there are microfiber pads on the market but where they fit into the car detailing or car buffing processes.


    Foam pads reduce the risk of micro-marring because they offer a uniform texture of the entire face of the pad, not individual fibers, or loops of fibers in the case of some brands of microfiber pads.

    You won't know if a microfiber pad will induce micro-marring into the paint of any car you are going to buff out until you do a Test Spot. One option for detailers that want increased cutting from any free spinning orbital polishers is to START with microfiber pads for the compounding or cutting step but finish with foam pad.


    Besides pads, abrasive technology is a HUGE factor as to whether you will see micro-marring or not no matter what type of pad you use. This is why I believe the most important factor when buffing out a car is the abrasive technology, not a person's technique, not the tool or the pad. It all starts with the substance TOUCHING the paint and in the car detailing world this would include,



    1. Compounds
    2. Polishes
    3. Cleaner/waxes --> most cleaner/waxes, or cleaner/sealants contain some form of abrasive technology like compounds and polishes and this is why I include them in this group of substances that touch the paint.






    So when it comes to pad choices, in a nutshell,


    1: If you find your car has medium to soft paint, you may be able to start with a microfiber pad but you'll need to finish with a foam pads to avoid micro-marring, or micro-scratching.


    2: If you find your car has hard paint, you might be able to both start and finish with a microfiber or micro-wool pad. Only a Test Spot will tell you what you can do. You should also chemically strip the paint and inspect with bright overhead sunlight and/or a swirl finder light to make sure there's no hidden micro-marring.


    3: If you don't know what kind of paint is on your car, hard or soft, the stick with foam for cutting, polishing and finishing.


    4: If you're using an AIO also called a cleaner/wax or cleaner/sealant or up and coming, primers, then stick with foam. You shouldn't be expecting paint perfection anyways. You might get it - but usually with an AIO you've forgone a dedicated abrading step for speed and convenience - so stick with foam.



    Hope this helps.....






    Mike Phillips
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  3. #2
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Fibers are a form of abrasive - Foam Pads vs Microfiber Pads by Mike Phillips

    More....

    Car Detailing History

    Here's a Viper that Richard Lin and I detailed using only microfiber pads. The paint was hard and I think most people that have detailed Vipers have found the factor paint to be hard. So "yes" we were able to both start and finish with fiber pads.

    Note: This was in 2005 - way before microfiber pads were introduced to the public.


    Detailing a Viper in 2005 with Microfiber Pads


    I used my first Meguiar's MF pad back in 2005 these were their OEM pads and not available to the public. I'm pretty familiar with what they can and cannot do.


    Here's the first car I buffed out using the OEM Meguiar's microfiber pads with M86, this was back in 2005















    After







    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  4. #3
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Fibers are a form of abrasive - Foam Pads vs Microfiber Pads by Mike Phillips

    More....


    The above Viper was detailed using Meguiar's OEM microfiber pads in 2005.


    The first microfiber pads for the public i.e. detailing industry and enthusiasts was launched in 2011 - that's 6 years later.

    Time stamp for this authoritative video is 2011





    Here's the second video launched on the Meguiar's microfiber pads system - the time stamp is 2013




    So I feel very comfortable discussing the topic of foam versus microfiber and the fact that

    Fibers are a form of abrasives.



    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
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