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  1. #1
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    How to divide larger body panels into smaller sections for machine buffing

    How to divide larger body panels into smaller sections for machine buffing


    How I would section any body panel would be easier to figure out if I were standing right in front of the vehicle, that said, here's how I would probably divide the hood of a 2007 Tahoe into smaller sections to polish with a Porter Cable type dual action polisher.

    If using a more powerful tool, rotary , Flex 3401 or Rupes, you could take the small section I've outlined and tackle more of them at one time. I'd still divide the center large mass of the hood into at least two section and possibly 4 sections depending how much correction is needed.






    These, longer, THINNER sections of a body panel are the norm for a lot of cars, trucks and suvs and this is why I like 5.5" pads on tools like the PC and even 4" Spot Repair Pads and that's because smaller diameter pads fit modern cars better than large pads.





    As far as the raised body lines go, for the soft rolling body lines I wouldn't bother taping off these areas. Just don't hammer on them when buffing over them.

    For any SHARP raised body lines, get some painter's tape and cover these to avoid any risk as paint tend to be thinnest on sharp raised body lines. You can also bet the 1/4" or 1/8" 3M Blue Vinyl Tape.



    3M Vinyl Tape 1/4 Inch - 06405





    3M Vinyl Tape 1/8 Inch - 06404






    The big picture idea is...

    • Break larger panels into smaller sections.


    • Try to use natural edges, raised body lines and segmented panels as natural dividing lines for the smaller sections.



    Avoid trying tackle too large a section at one time when using tools like the PC/Megs/Griot's polishers or you'll end up with shiny swirls.

    That is, you'll feel like you're getting a lot of work done because you're knocking out larger sections but at the end of the day, when you do the final wipe-off of wax the swirls will still be in the paint, (because you didn't remove them), they'll just be shiny.



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  2. #2
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: How to divide larger body panels into smaller sections for machine buffing

    The size of area to work is also shared as an important factor in this article....


    DA Polisher Trouble Shooting Guide


    It's listed as the #1 most common issue when ti comes to learning how to remove swirls when using a dual action polisher.


    If you're brand new to machine polishing, be sure to read the above article BEFORE you start, before you run into trouble...



    Mike Phillips
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  3. #3
    Senior Member kjn's Avatar
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    Re: How to divide larger body panels into smaller sections for machine buffing

    Great article! I always just did squares, now I know. Btw I hate doing the very center of hoods and roofs.

  4. #4
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    Re: How to divide larger body panels into smaller sections for machine buffing

    Mike: Thank you for share this tips. Nice write up

  5. #5
    Senior Member Justin M.'s Avatar
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    Re: How to divide larger body panels into smaller sections for machine buffing

    How about your tips/tricks/tools used for handling those bumpers? Or do you not pay them as much attention when it comes to polishing?

    I find the flat panels pretty simple, but bumpers can be tricky. I usually use my PC with 3" backing plate and pads for the awkward bumper lines.

  6. #6
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: How to divide larger body panels into smaller sections for machine buffing

    Quote Originally Posted by Justin M. View Post

    How about your tips/tricks/tools used for handling those bumpers?

    Or do you not pay them as much attention when it comes to polishing?



    I would run down the front or face of the buffer with the same process used on the rest of a rig like shown in the pictures. I never skimp, I treat every car I buff out like it's my own as explained in my article here,

    The Mindset of a Professional Detailer




    I have a motto and a personal best practice , as well as an article and it goes like this,


    If it has paint... it gets polished...


    Numbers Matching 1967 Corvette 396 Big Block



    1959 Corvette
    I'm buffing this out in a Glass Shop in Albany, Oregon, glass dust everywere...




    Nate Truman's Batmobile



    1969 El Camino I used for the "How to dampsand" article





    Heck I even wax the shocks on my truck...




    :D
    Mike Phillips
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Justin M.'s Avatar
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    Re: How to divide larger body panels into smaller sections for machine buffing

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike.Phillips@Autogeek View Post
    I would run down the front or face of the buffer with the same process used on the rest of a rig like shown in the pictures. I never skimp, I treat every car I buff out like it's my own as explained in my article here,

    The Mindset of a Professional Detailer

    As do I I wasn't suggesting that you skimped on the bumpers vs. the rest of the car, sorry if that came out wrong. In my comparatively little experience, the bumpers sometimes do not need as much attention as the rest of the car as they are in better shape. I was just curious what you used in those situations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike.Phillips@Autogeek View Post
    I have a motto and a personal best practice , as well as an article and it goes like this,

    If it has paint... it gets polished...

    ...snipped...

    :D
    From this thread it appears you use the 3403 with the smaller pads for those type of places. So that helps, thanks!
    Last edited by Justin M.; 12-18-2013 at 02:00 PM. Reason: 3403 that is...

  8. #8
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: How to divide larger body panels into smaller sections for machine buffing

    Quote Originally Posted by Justin M. View Post

    As do I I wasn't suggesting that you skimped on the bumpers vs. the rest of the car, sorry if that came out wrong. In my comparatively little experience, the bumpers sometimes do not need as much attention as the rest of the car as they are in better shape. I was just curious what you used in those situations.
    And I didn't take anything you wrote in the wrong way

    I just type for a very diverse audience and I know into the future we'll have lots of forum members as well as lurkers reading this that don't know my background.



    Quote Originally Posted by Justin M. View Post

    From this thread it appears you use the 3403 with the smaller pads for those type of places. So that helps, thanks!
    Yes.

    I wrote what I think is the first article ever on how to machine wetsand, or dampsand using Meguiar's Unigrit Sanding and Finishing Discs when they were first introduced and this was before the Flex PE14 had been introduced.


    Dampsanding Tools, Tips and Techniques by Mike Phillips


    So that's why I was using the Flex 3403 and in that picture I'm working a small thin panel.

    For other areas of this project I used a full size rotary buffer, the Makita 9227C and this was before the DeWALT 849X was introduced.


    From post #7


    Compounding - Makita 9207 Rotary Buffer, Flex 3403 Lightweight Rotary Buffer, M105, W-5000 Double Sided Wool Cutting Pad, W-7204 4" Inch Foam Cutting Pads.


    Max, the owner of PBMG has the #1 Flex PE14 production unit and I have the #2 Flex PE14 production unit and we received these back at SEMA 2010


    Flex Presents Flex #1 to Max



    Mike Phillips
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Justin M.'s Avatar
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    Re: How to divide larger body panels into smaller sections for machine buffing

    Good stuff, thanks!

    That Flex #1/#2 are awesome

  10. #10
    Senior Member Caleb@ImpeccableImage's Avatar
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    Re: How to divide larger body panels into smaller sections for machine buffing

    Great writeup!

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