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Thoughts on orbital polishers?

Discussion in 'Detailing' started by L_S_SHOE, Oct 8, 2021.

  1. Oct 8, 2021 at 2:52 PM
    #1
    L_S_SHOE

    L_S_SHOE [OP] New Member

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    What's the consensus nowadays on random orbital or other mechanical tools to polish and wax?

    Personally, I've never seen a mechanical polish or wax that didn't also scratch the crap out of the clear coat. It didn't matter who did it, how good they were, what they used, or if they decontaminated the paint first. I watched detailers do this to nearly new cars, and it made me cringe. They were either blind to the swirls they created or just didn't care. One very expensive detailer said he knew the orbital created swirls, but that the "wax fills them in, so it's cool."

    For that reason, I've always hand washed and hand waxed, with good results. Unfortunately, I've gotten so busy that I can't detail my cars myself anymore. I'm having trouble finding a detailer that doesn't use a random orbital. Did something change? Are the tools better than they were 10 years ago? Am I crazy?
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2021
  2. Oct 8, 2021 at 2:58 PM
    #2
    2mchfun

    2mchfun Lead foot, left lane, loud stereo

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    Wash, dry, wax with carnuba, let haze, sprinkle with corn starch fairly well, wipe off with a terry cloth, rinse, dry. No buffing, no swirls, no problem. YW
     
    L_S_SHOE [OP] likes this.
  3. Oct 8, 2021 at 3:01 PM
    #3
    alb1k

    alb1k Chickens to paralyze in the back of the Ridgeline

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    I've seen swirl marks, I've never created them by hand or machine. Not sure how that happens
     
  4. Oct 8, 2021 at 3:38 PM
    #4
    Warreng

    Warreng New Member

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    I have friends that paint stuff for a living and they use non orbital polishers. Their stuff always looks mint. Im going to get a milwaukee non orbital in the future after polishing my trailer with an orbital. Pretty sure I took a year off the lifespan of my hands from the vibrations.
     
  5. Oct 9, 2021 at 3:06 PM
    #5
    briarpatch

    briarpatch New Member

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    Bottom line is...everything is better than it was 10 years ago. I worked with a rotary (non-orbital) many years ago, but all of my detailing for the last 5 years has been with a DA (orbital) polisher. If every detailer you saw polish a car swirled it, then every detailer you watched had no idea what they were doing. Most detailers do not break out the rotary unless there are deeper, more difficult defects to correct, or the paint is just not responding to the DA.

    Most swirling happens as a result of poor washing and/or drying technique. I've had cars come in so swirled it was unreal......only to have them leave with no swirls, and much more clarity, gloss and depth of color, thanks to the DA and plenty of pad/product options.

    In response to post #4....most painters learned how to cut paint with a rotary, because, back in the day, that was all we had. Thankfully, that skill is being passed on to today's painters as well.
     
    Buildn, L_S_SHOE [OP] and Warreng like this.
  6. Oct 21, 2021 at 1:21 PM
    #6
    AgileTundra

    AgileTundra New Member

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    Im using the same orbital polisher for the past 30 years. This is what was available to professional detailers back then.

    20211021_161938.jpg
     
    L_S_SHOE [OP] likes this.
  7. Oct 21, 2021 at 1:47 PM
    #7
    L_S_SHOE

    L_S_SHOE [OP] New Member

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    My wife said she couldn't wait for me to complete my research and decided to have her 1 year old Telluride detailed. The guy she chose came highly recommended and had excellent reviews. He took his time, used a clay bar, clean pads and an orbital during the wax. There are faintly perceptible swirls everywhere. I was expecting it to happen, so I wasn't upset.

    It might just be me. Maybe I'm noticing what would go otherwise unnoticed or what others would consider normal. I realize some swirls are probably inevitable over the life of a car. But, I remain skeptical that anyone can take an orbital to a car finish without swirling it.
     
  8. Oct 21, 2021 at 1:53 PM
    #8
    68rs75z28

    68rs75z28 New Member

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    I loved rotary until I used an orbital, much easier to control and does an excellent job with the fine swirls and scratches.
     
  9. Oct 21, 2021 at 2:09 PM
    #9
    briarpatch

    briarpatch New Member

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    Much like my earlier response, if you paid him to correct the paint, then he had no idea what he was doing, and you should not have paid him. Based on your experiences, I'm not shocked at your skepticism. Was your car swirled before it got there? After the clay bar, did he use a compound, or at the very least, a polish prior to applying either a wax or sealant? Are you sure what you are seeing are swirls and not holograms?

    Take a few minutes and have a look at Youtube....search 'paint correction'....or look at videos by FAB automotive detailing, Mike Phillips or Apex Detail. Take a look at some of the stellar work by our own Ckatz right here on this forum...the man is a wizard. I think you will be surprised at what a legitimate detailer can do with a DA.
     
    Hi06silver and Confused_02_base like this.
  10. Oct 21, 2021 at 2:14 PM
    #10
    Rodtheviking

    Rodtheviking New Member

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  11. Oct 21, 2021 at 2:38 PM
    #11
    Jchetty

    Jchetty New Member

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    Your limited, sample-size of detailers does not speak for the entire industry. I used to be very active in detailing 10+ years ago and the stuff today is insane.

    The faint swirling you see is probably micromarring. This is usually caused by the applicator used to remove product. That would be the rags/towels- microfiber or whatever. No matter how good your eyes are, there are special lights that are used to shine and inspect for micromarring.

    Clay bars are already legacy equipment. Drop it once- it is no longer good for paint. Clay mitts and clay pads are used now-a-days and the clay bars should be used on wheels.

    Let me paint a picture for you. I take my car to the mechanic and he ruins the skid plate and cross-threads the lugs. This experience allows me to claim ‘man mechanics are horrible’. Then the dealer tries to fix it and chips my paint. Moral is this- just because you pay someone to detail your vehicle doesn’t mean they are good.

    How much did you pay for your detail? A $20/hour mechanic can’t possibly be good. For a wash, clay, wax on a tundra with no interior should start at around $200 depending on paint condition . So he washed, mechanically decontaminated, then waxed. That is a big no-no. Now-a-days, pros : foam wash, bucket wash, chemical decontaminate, mechanical decontaminate, and then one step (combo light +polish wax), followed by spray ceramic.

    So if your guy didn’t foam wash, didn’t chemical decontaminate, didn’t spray ceramic wax…..yeah- don’t be so quick to judge all detailers. When I was active, I would also do the engine and shampoo the interior with an extractor.

    Speaking of Mike Philips, I got to meet him back when he was with Meguiars. Awesome guy. Detailer can’t do it by hand- they have to make money. Us amateurs can take all day. There was one guy Scottwax on autopia.net that was the same way. Amazing detailer but did everything by hand.

    Then he saw the light and started using machines. His work didn’t get much better but he could do more with less fatigue. Ruppes and Flex make also orbitals that I promise you won’t leave any swirls. Was your guys using a corded or cordless orbital. Again detailing is a combo of product, process, any technique. Fail at any one and swirls are the result.
     
    Tundratoofun likes this.
  12. Oct 22, 2021 at 1:58 PM
    #12
    L_S_SHOE

    L_S_SHOE [OP] New Member

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    Everything you said sounds entirely reasonable, and I'm willing to admit that great detailers are out there. Problem is, I've never met the kind you are describing. If you know anyone Southeast Louisiana, lemme know.
     
  13. Oct 22, 2021 at 2:06 PM
    #13
    Jchetty

    Jchetty New Member

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    Wish you weren’t so far away. Got some buddies coming over to watch football and doing some detailing.

    I absolutely understand about being fastidious. These trucks are expensive and last forever if maintained. They run for so long we gotta take care of the paint….I mean they will be on the road for another 15-20 years.



    Will be playing with these.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2021
  14. Dec 4, 2021 at 10:27 PM
    #14
    2021 Semi Pro

    2021 Semi Pro New Member

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    Flex is king , I polish fiberglass with flex tools they are awesome.
     
  15. Dec 5, 2021 at 9:15 AM
    #15
    briarpatch

    briarpatch New Member

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    Yes they are.....they are a slightly different animal than your average DA, most of which are free spinning and not gear driven like a Flex. Free spinning DA's
    can and will stall, while a gear driven just powers through. As a hobbyist/semi-pro, I could never justify the cost of a Flex. If I ever turn this side hustle into more of a money maker, maybe I will take the plunge.
     
  16. Dec 26, 2021 at 11:27 PM
    #16
    Confused_02_base

    Confused_02_base New Member

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    Let us not forget about the surroundings and atmospheric conditions when doing a job. Working outside? Are you covered and free from dust, leaves and any other fallout being blown about that may land on the vehicle? Working indoors? Again, free of breezes that will kick up dust or other debris that will land on the surface during or after prep work? Using quality products and the correct product in the proper manner? Those will also affect the outcome of a detail.

    Went to pick up a car from a dealership's bodyshop a few years ago and happened to catch their 'detailer' outside in a gritty parking lot, just as he was loading a pad with compound. Looked at the panel and thought, yup, needs to be cut, polished and sealed. The guy then proceeded to add two other products to the pad to 'save time'. That pad never touched the panel and neither did their 'detailer' after that. Dealership paid me to do the job (costs deducted from work order). Never mix compounds and the work should have been done indoors, not outside, in direct sunlight, on a blazing hot day, in a gritty, dusty bodyshop parking lot.

    Have yet to get my mitts on a Flex but a buddy just got one and loves it.
     
  17. Jan 23, 2022 at 5:14 PM
    #17
    69signal

    69signal New Member

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    I do detailing and ceramic coating so if you know how to work with a dual action machine I will recommend you to go to Harbor Freight and get this one which is $99 if you don't want to spend a lot of money. I will compare that dual action machine with some of the good brands out there. You will also going to need good products some of them are expensive if you want professional results. Here are some of the ones that I use in a daily basis. if you need more assistance with this topic let me know.

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    20220123_200502.jpg
    20220123_200513.jpg
    20220123_200438.jpg
     
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