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  1. #1
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    My recommended buffing pads for the Flex PE14

    My recommended buffing pads for the Flex PE14


    One of our forum members asked me which pads and backing plates I would recommend for the Flex PE14. I get this question fairly often so below is a collection of what I would consider the minimum collection to have for the ability to tackle any project in your garage.


    First and top recommendation
    If you're brand new to using a rotary buffer then here's some free advice...

    Small pads are easier to control and thus easier learn with when first starting out using a rotary buffer. It will be easier to learn how to hold and guide a rotary buffer over both flat panels and curved panels. So get some good small foam buffing pads and a good backing plate.

    Here are three foam pads that work exceedingly well with the Flex PE14

    Lake Country 5" Hybrid Pads in Orange/Cutting, White/All purpose polishing, and Black/Finishing.

    Link to 5" Hybrid Pads





    4" Flexible Backing Plate
    You'll also need a small backing plate because the velcro backing on the back of the 5" LC Hybrid Pads is 4" in diameter. For this the 3 3/4" Lake Country Flexible Rotary Buffer Backing Plate fits perfect. The backing plate in the picture above and the picture below is a 3 3/4" LC Flexible Backing Plate. Because it's a smidgen under size it's easy to visually align to the back of these pads.

    Link to 3 3/4" Flexible Rotary Buffer Backing Plate





    Medium size foam buffing pads
    The trend for years now has been smaller pads for all tools and that includes the rotary buffer. In fact I'd say the 6" to 7" foam buffing pads are the new 8" to 11" foam buffing pads that were popular from the 1960's through to the year 2000.

    As you gain experience and hone your skills with the rotary buffer you're going to want to use larger pads for large body panels like the roof, hood, trunk lid, doors, etc.

    Below are the Lake Country 6.5" Hybrid Foam Buffing Pads. These pads work great with the Flex PE14 Rotary Buffer.


    Lake Country 6.5" Hybrid Pads in Orange/Cutting, White/All purpose polishing, and Black/Finishing.


    Link to 6.5" Hybrid Pads







    Small Wool Cutting Pad
    The great feature about the Flex PE14 is that it's quiet when operating but also its lightweight and compact size. This makes it great for doing heavy correction work to thin panels, intricate areas and complicated components.

    For this I like to use the Lake Country 3.5" DuroWool 100% Twisted Wool Cutting Pads with the Lake Country 2 7/8" Flexible Rotary Backing Plate.

    Link to 3.5" DuroWool 100% Twisted Wool Cutting Pad

    Link to 2 7/8" Flexible Rotary Buffer Backing Plate








    Large Wool Cutting Pad

    Technically the pad I'm recommending is a "finishing" pad not a "cutting" pad but here's the deal.

    First - Fiber pad cut more aggressively than foam pads because each of the individual fibers that make up a wool pad are a type of abrasive in and of themselves and each fiber can and will cut the paint. So the fiber itself is a type of abrasive and this is why guys that finish out with only wool pads on rotary buffers leave holograms in their customer's paint.


    Second - The difference between a wool cutting pad and a wool finishing pad is the degree of aggressiveness. In the BIG PICTURE when comparing wool pads to foam pads and in the context of using these pads on a rotary buffer, either type cutting or finishing is going to do a GREAT job of abrading or cutting the surface compared to any foam pad. This is key to doing the correction step in the fastest and most effective way.

    If you work in a body shop and have to cut new paint jobs all day long every day then by all means get a wool cutting pad.

    If you're detailing cars and thus not normally wetsanding the paint first, then simply by using a wool finishing pad for any heavy or major correction job, this will put you miles ahead time-wise versus using a foam cutting pad.

    Plus wool pads cut cooler than foam cutting pads and this is important because it's not good to heat up clearcoat paints. Even though you might read someone on another forum say something like,

    You need to heat the clearcoat up in order break down the abrasives

    or

    You need to heat the clearcoat up in order to re-flow the paint


    Both of these statements and practices are wrong and this is called destructive paint polishing.

    (See page 124 of The Complete Guide to a Show Car Finish)


    So if you're mostly doing reconditioning work aka detailing cars, then you'll do fine and be safer plus be able to do any follow up polishing steps faster by sticking with the pad I recommend below instead of a full-on, hardcore wool cutting pad.


    Flex recommends using 8" wool pads and smaller with the Flex PE14 so the below wool pad is perfect at 7.5" and is called the Lake Country 7.5" Electrified Sheepskin Final Polishing Pad.


    Electrified?
    The word electrified means Lake Country has taken the extra step to electrify the wool which removes the natural sharp barbs found in wool creating a pad that cuts fast but finishes with less scouring of the paint. This is a real benefit when buffing thin, scratch-sensitive clearcoat finishes.

    Note: I see a few guys come to this forum and recommend using a brand of black wool pads so just to note, these pads have the barbs.


    Link to 7.5" Electrified Wool Finishing Pad






    Medium Size Backing Plate
    You'll also want a flexible backing plate, here's a good one and Meguiar's also makes a great one. This is the 6" Flex-Foam HD Rotary Backing Plate.

    Link to 6" Flex-Foam HD Rotary Backing Plate

    Meguiar's 6" Solo Easy Buff W66 Rotary Backing Plate




    Steel Pad Cleaning Spur
    In all my detailing classes (and as a personal best practice), I teach people the most important thing to do when using any polisher and especially a rotary buffer is to clean your pad often. For a wool pad you want a steel pad cleaning spur like the one I show in the picture below.

    Link to steel pad cleaning spur







    Small Precision Foam Buffing Pads
    Meguiar's 4" foam buffing pads work great with the Flex PE14 and the key to their excellent performance is not only the foam resin used to make the pads but the tapered design.

    Tapered pads don't twist-in during use like cylindrical pads and this maintains the full face of the pad in contact with the paint plus prevents the backing plate from becoming exposed to the surface being buffed. Cylindrical pads tend to twist-in and can be used successfully as long as you focus on the task at hand. Tapered pads work better and are safer when doing intricate, detailed work.


    You'll also want to get their backing plate for use with these pads.

    Link to Meguiar's Maroon Foam Cutting Pads

    Link to Meguiar's Yellow Foam Polishing Pads

    Link to Meguiar's Black 4" Foam Finishing Pads

    Link to Meguiar's 3" Rotary Backing Plate







    Gold Foam Jewelling Pads
    Hey who doesn't love the look of paint that has been meticulously jeweled to perfection? I know I do!

    But in order to jewel paint to perfection with a rotary buffer you must use a super soft, gold jewelling pad to avoid instilling even the faintest of holograms. Below are 3 gold jewelling pad and they all will work but flat pads are always the safest choice when jewelling paint because the flat surface avoids any potential for excess product or foreign particles to deposit in design voids in the surface of non flat pads.

    I've used the CCS pads successfully just be sure to clean and inspect the collapsed cell divots often.

    My favorite types of pad are pads with a simple flat surface design. There's the least amount of risk for problems since the face is completely flat and they are a lot easier and faster to clean since you can brush 100% of the face of the pad using a nylon pad conditioning brush.



    Gold Jewelling Pads

    Link to CCS 6.5 inch Super Soft Gold Jewelling Pad

    For the Flat 5.5 and 4" Gold Jewelling Pads call 1-800-869-3011 as these are not listed on the AG store and there's only one or two boxes left in our inventory.


    The backing plates shown below work great with these pads, in order from left to right

    Link to 6" Flex-Foam HD Rotary Backing Plate

    Link to 5" Flex-Foam HD Rotary Backing Plate

    Link to 2 7/8" Flexible Rotary Buffer Backing Plate

    Note: The Lake Country 3 3/4" Flexible Backing Plate fits the back of the 4" Gold Jewelling Pad but there's not much safety margin from the outside of the pad to the outside of the backing plate and these pad are so soft that they compress very easily, especially the smaller pads and even more so when they start to become wet with product so for this reason I use and recommend the even smaller 3 3/4" LC yellow backing plate. See the picture below to see what I'm talking about.










    A Jewelling Machine
    The 5.5" Gold Jewelling Pad with the 5" Flex-Foam HD Backing Plate is the perfect combination for the Flex PE14 for jewelling paint to perfection.






    Flex PE8 Foam Buffing Pads
    Flex has introduced the new PE8 Kompakt Rotary Polisher and a line of 3", 2" and 1" pads with matching backing plates.

    These new pad and backing plates will also work with the PE14.

    I had the opportunity to use these at the 2014 SEMA Show in Las Vegas and I can tell you straight up these new pads are going to be a huge hit because the market, (that's you and me) have been hoping and waiting for smaller pads for decades.






    Nobody has these pads in stock yet so here's three ways to be notified when they are in stock.

    1. Join the AG Newsletter

    2. Subscribe to this thread - I'll bump this thread and add the links when the pads become available

    3. Check the What's New Page often.



    So there's my recommendations for both wool and foam buffing pads for your Flex PE14 and if you don't have a Flex PE14 yet I highly recommend getting one. You won't regret it and even if you already have another rotary buffer I guarantee you'll become like me and when you need to use a rotary buffer the Flex PE14 will be the first rotary buffer you reach for. In fact, I even have an article about this topic.


    The Flex PE14 Rotary Polisher - The rotary I grab first...




    On Autogeek.net

    Link to the Flex PE14 Rotary Polisher


    Here's mine...




    The second production unit...




    Hope that helps....


    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Tato's Avatar
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    Re: My recommended buffing pads for the Flex PE14

    I was wondering recently exactly about this,

    Your attitude opening the answer to 'the public' really helped me, this thread answers all questions I had regarding what to pair a PE-14 with.

    Thank you so much for it,

    Just hope I'm able to get a PE-14 before Gold Flat pads stocks run out...

    Great thread: informative, useful, and very needed.

    Kind Regards.
    “Nature is pleased with simplicity. And nature is no dummy”

    ― Isaac Newton

  3. #3
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: My recommended buffing pads for the Flex PE14

    Quote Originally Posted by Tato View Post
    I was wondering recently exactly about this,

    Your attitude opening the answer to 'the public' really helped me, this thread answers all questions I had regarding what to pair a PE-14 with.

    Thank you so much for it,

    Just hope I'm able to get a PE-14 before Gold Flat pads stocks run out...

    Great thread: informative, useful, and very needed.

    Kind Regards.

    Thanks Raphael,

    I always appreciate that you take the time to post a comment. Taking the pictures, coding the links and then typing out information that will help people into the future as well as stand up under scrutiny and pass the test of time takes time.

    So thank you...


    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
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  4. #4
    Senior Member axel06's Avatar
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    Re: My recommended buffing pads for the Flex PE14

    Hay mike let axel stop buy to show the guyz and girlz some destruction paint polishing... lol

  5. #5
    Senior Member Toxix's Avatar
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    Re: My recommended buffing pads for the Flex PE14

    What a convienient time for this thread to be made, really.

    Thank you for taking the time to provide the links to the items as well.

    I was just messaging Mike (Smack) for some advice on what backing plate and pads to get because I've been eyeing a Flex PE-14 to get some work done faster.

    Mike, upon purchase I plan on using the PE-14 for correction and the 3401 for finishing.
    Since I'm correcting large panels and want to move quickly do you still recommend I stick with the 5" pads or move up to the 6/6.5".
    I was initially planning on going with the 6"

    Let me know.

    Semi-off topic:
    The PE-14 in the pic appears to be bright red opposed to the Maroon I find on the 3401. Is that just the camera flash?

  6. #6
    Senior Member axel06's Avatar
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    Re: My recommended buffing pads for the Flex PE14

    Buy the way thank you. Your detailed information will make my next purchase from autogeek exciting

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mike@DedicatedPerfection's Avatar
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    Re: My recommended buffing pads for the Flex PE14

    Nice informative post on pad selection for the PE14 Mike. I too use and love the Hybrid pads on the both Flex machines.

    I often match up the size of the pad to the panel I am working on. If working on large panels, trucks, or SUV's I will equip either machine with the larger 6.5" pads and vice versa for smaller panels.

    Quote Originally Posted by Toxix View Post
    What a convienient time for this thread to be made, really.

    Thank you for taking the time to provide the links to the items as well.

    I was just messaging Mike (Smack) for some advice on what backing plate and pads to get because I've been eyeing a Flex PE-14 to get some work done faster.

    Mike, upon purchase I plan on using the PE-14 for correction and the 3401 for finishing.
    Since I'm correcting large panels and want to move quickly do you still recommend I stick with the 5" pads or move up to the 6/6.5".
    I was initially planning on going with the 6"


    Let me know.

    Semi-off topic:
    The PE-14 in the pic appears to be bright red opposed to the Maroon I find on the 3401. Is that just the camera flash?
    Toxix, my response above on pad to panel size.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Eric@CherryOnTop's Avatar
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    Re: My recommended buffing pads for the Flex PE14

    Good write up, I also started using the hybrids after seeing Mike show his "smack technique." How would the foamed wool pads in the hybrid line compare to the ones you posted?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Cherry on Top Auto Detailing, Fishkill NY

    https://www.facebook.com/CherryOnTopDetailing

  9. #9
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: My recommended buffing pads for the Flex PE14

    Quote Originally Posted by Toxix View Post

    What a convenient time for this thread to be made, really.

    Thank you for taking the time to provide the links to the items as well.


    Mike, upon purchase I plan on using the PE-14 for correction and the 3401 for finishing.

    Since I'm correcting large panels and want to move quickly do you still recommend I stick with the 5" pads or move up to the 6/6.5".

    I was initially planning on going with the 6"

    Let me know.
    Normally you would match the pad to the size of the panel, i.e. use the large pads for large flat panels and the smaller pads for thinner panels. I cover this topic on page 23 and 24 of my book,

    How to use the Flex XC 3401 VRG Dual Action Orbital Polisher


    Quote Originally Posted by Toxix View Post

    Semi-off topic:

    The PE-14 in the pic appears to be bright red opposed to the Maroon I find on the 3401. Is that just the camera flash?
    Yes.

    I've had a couple of year now to practice with the settings on the Canon Rebel t5i and specifically taking pictures on our stainless steel workbench where it's lit from a florescent tube light above and the stainless acts like a mirror anytime you use the flash setting.

    To capture the products sharp and in focus the plastic housing comes out a little bit more on the red side.



    Quote Originally Posted by ekennett View Post

    Good write up,
    Thank you. Everything I show I use when I buff out cars except the new Flex mini pads as we don't have them in stock yet but when we do get them into stock I'll be using them with both the Flex PE14 and the PE8


    Quote Originally Posted by ekennett View Post

    How would the foamed wool pads in the hybrid line compare to the ones you posted?
    The foam pads I show are a traditional style or construction of wool buffing pads. These types of pads are VERY stout and you'll be able to buff out a lot of cars with them before they wear out.

    The foam wool pads are a much daintier type of construction, I used to use them on the Flex 3401 now I use the same 7.5" Electrified Wool Finishing Pad on the Flex 3401. It will really take a LOT of abuse and it's my go to pad for buffing out BOATS with oxidized gel-coats.


    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  10. #10
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    Re: My recommended buffing pads for the Flex PE14

    Thanks Mike for writing this all up.

    Got the 3401 as you know and the Hybrid pads and smaller backing plate is knocking it out of the park for me.

    I decided that I didn't really need the Rupes 75 for smaller areas, due to the small pad on the 3401, however did go with the PE-08 model? and waiting for it. That will be my go to tool for bumpers and A,B,C pillars and mirrors.

    Can you help us out a little on when the 1,2,3 in pads and plates will be available for it. Hopefully within the next few weeks, got a Bentley CGT I am doing mid month and want to try it out on a few spots.

    Again thanks for all your help, and Happy Holidays to you and your family.

    Andrew

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