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View Full Version : Rotary Buffer vs DA Polisher vs Traditional Orbital Buffer



mikes maxima
Jun 14th, 2004, 07:09 PM
Lately i have seen a lot of threads regarding pc vs a regular orbital buffer.

I was wondering what are the difference between these 3 options. What are the pros and cons of these three tools.

Thanks... -Mike

Mike Phillips
Jun 15th, 2004, 07:28 AM
Rotary vs DA Polisher vs Traditional Orbital Buffer (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1395)


First, let's start with the information in Meguiar's *NEW* FAQ (http://www.meguiars.com/faq/)



2. What's the difference between? (http://www.meguiars.com/faq/_index.cfm?faqCat=Working%20with%20a%20machine%20versus%20working%20with%20your%20hands&faqQuestionID=62&section=_62#_62)

* Dual-Action polisher
* Orbital buffer
* Rotary buffer (http://www.meguiars.com/faq/_index.cfm?faqCat=Working%20with%20a%20machine%20versus%20working%20with%20your%20hands&faqQuestionID=62&section=_62#_62)


Dual-Action polishers and Orbital buffers

The motors and drive units on these two types of polisher's oscillate in an eccentric circular motion. This type of motion is much safer to the paint because it's virtually impossible to apply too much concentrated pressure in one place at one time. Chances are good that when too much pressure is applied, the oscillating action will come to a stop thereby protecting the finish.

Because these types of machines oscillate instead of rotate, they will not instill the dreaded buffer swirls or holograms into your finish as long as you use the appropriate chemicals, buffing pads and bonnets. This safety feature makes these machines highly popular with enthusiasts who would like to use a machine but at the same time, are afraid of burning or inflicting swirls into their car's finish.

Both the G-100 and Orbital buffers offer a number of benefits:

* Uncomplicated – Remove from box, attach buffing pad or bonnet, plug in, turn on, start buffing.

* Versatile – Can be used for cleaning, polishing, and applying waxes.

* Takes most of the labor out of the process, the machine does the work, all you do is hold it.

* Faster, more thorough - you can cover more area and do a better job with a machine.

* Creates a more uniform, higher gloss finish than your hands.

* Pushes polishing oils and protective waxes into the pores and microscopic surface imperfections far better than your hands can ever accomplish.



In recent years, the Porter Cable Dual-Action polisher (G-100) has become the machine of choice over the older style Orbital buffers for a number of different reasons:


* Smaller size and lighter weight makes them easier for anyone to use.

* Very easy to control, requires no previous experience or skill to use correctly.

* Smaller size enables you to work on small panels and tight areas easier with better control.

* More options for buffing pads and bonnets.

* Velcro® interface makes changing between pads fast and easy.


Rotary buffers

Rotary buffers are drastically different in the way they work compared to Dual-action polishers and Orbital buffers.

The drive unit used in a rotary buffer is referred to as a direct drive. What this means is the auger, (the threaded part to which the backing plate attaches), is driven directly off the electric motor. This results in a powerful rotating motion. This rotating motion is typically clockwise as you look at the rotary buffer from behind, as though you were using it on a panel.

Because the rotary buffer is a direct drive machine, it can do a lot of work very quickly. By work, we mean, the rotary buffer will remove paint.

Meguiar's understands the average person doesn't want to remove precious paint from their car's finish. However, sometimes removing paint is necessary in order to create a high gloss, defect-free finish. Example: If you have a scratch in your car's finish, say someone keyed your car, or a cat jumped up on the hood and left behind claw scratches. From a horizontal point of view, these scratches would look like this,

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/2scratchesinpaint.jpg

In order to remove these scratches, you will need to remove enough paint surrounding the scratches in order to make the surface level. As you can see in this example, removing the scratches will require removing quite a bit of paint material, and in the case of the deep key scratch (where the arrow is pointing), you will not be able to completely remove it without exposing the base, or color coat of paint. This is a situation where you are better off improving the scratch, not completely removing the scratch.

Second Example: Many cars, after being painted, are wet-sanded in order to remove orange peel or to bring the surface to a show car quality finish. After the finish has been sanded, the way you remove the sanding marks is to buff the finish with a cutting compound and a rotary buffer. The cutting compound abrades the paint, removing, or leveling the finish until it’s completely flat.

After the surface is buffed flat, it will then be polished with a cleaner/polish like Meguiar’s M-83 Dual Action Cleaner/Polish with the rotary buffer to restore a swirl-free, high gloss finish. Rotary buffers are necessary to do both of these procedures because both of these procedures require that some portion of the paint is removed.

Dual-action polishers and Orbital buffers do not have an aggressive enough action to remove small particles of paint in an effort to remove most defects, including sanding marks. This is the same reason Dual-action polishers and Orbital buffers are safe… they don’t have an aggressive action, thus they are safe. However, because they are safe (do not have an aggressive action), they are not aggressive enough to remove all but the finest of scratches.

Do not purchase a dual action polisher or orbital buffer hoping to use these to remove major or even minor scratches, as they are just not aggressive enough. They can often be used to remove fine or shallow scratches and swirls, but they will not remove any scratch that is deep enough to place your fingernail into.

Remember, using a rotary buffer successfully requires both skill and experience. If you use a rotary buffer and are not skilled in its use, you can easily apply too much pressure to the paint and burn right through it, requiring a new paint job. This same result can happen if you use a buffing pad attached to an electric drill.

Mike Phillips
Jun 15th, 2004, 07:49 AM
Again, from Meguiar's *NEW* FAQ (http://www.meguiars.com/faq/)


1. Which is better for applying cleaners, polishes and waxes, machines like the rotary buffer, Meguiar's G-100, Dual-Action polisher or the tried and true method of applying products by hand? (http://www.meguiars.com/faq/_index.cfm?faqCat=Working%20with%20a%20machine%20versus%20working%20with%20your%20hands&faqQuestionID=61&section=_61#_61)

This is not a one is better than the other issue.

Each method offers it's own unique benefits and features. Machines like rotary buffers, dual action polishers, and orbital buffers are simply tools. Depending on the surface condition and what you're trying to accomplish, one may be better suited for the task over another.

Back when traditional paints, like lacquers and enamels were used at both an OEM factory level and in the refinishing industry, the average person with average skills could perform all of the common detailing procedures by hand and get really good results. This is no longer true in light of today's modern, catalyzed base coat/clear coat paint systems.

Modern paint technology, generally speaking, is much harder than traditional paints and requires special buffing pads and chemicals to remove defects where just a decade or so ago, a can of polishing compound, a rag and some elbow grease could accomplish the task satisfactorily.

While hand application of Meguiar's paint cleaners, cleaner/polishes, pure polishes and waxes can achieve brilliant results a majority of the time, professional painters and detailers prefer using a machine such as a rotary buffer, dual-action polisher or an orbital buffer for a number of different reasons.

Here are a few:

* Depending on the procedure, machines are nearly twice as fast as your hands.

* Machines are much less fatiguing to your hands, arms, and back.

* Dual-Action Polishers and Orbital buffers apply a thinner coat that's easier to wipe off.

* Dual-Action Polishers and Orbital buffers spread polishes and waxes more evenly, for more uniform results.

* Machines do a better job of cleaning deeper and removing surface defects and oxidation more thoroughly.

* Machines are better at removing swirls.

* Machines force more polishing oils into the surface, for deeper gloss and reflections.

* Machines are more effective at removing serious defects than your hand.

* Either of the two power buffers Meguiar's offers mimic your hand motions and will give you an impressive finish without any risk of burning your paint, even if you've never used a buffer before.


For expert advice on getting the most from out of either of these two machines, we invite you to check out the Online Buffer Clinic.

For those of you who own or are thinking about purchasing a rotary buffer, be sure to check our new video, "How to remove paint defects". This in-depth video (50 min.) covers techniques and procedures professionals have developed for using the rotary buffer to remove serious paint defects and create flawless, show car results. It's important to remember that while a rotary buffer can do a lot of good, it can also be dangerous, potentially creating swirls, or burning through paint if not properly used. Using a rotary buffer correctly requires skill, good technique, and experience. Don't expect or even try to learn how to use a rotary buffer on any vehicle that is important to you. Instead, find an old junker, or go to a wrecking yard and find the hood off a junked car to learn and practice on.

Mike

Mike Phillips
Jun 15th, 2004, 09:46 AM
Here's one more from Meguiar's *NEW* FAQ (http://www.meguiars.com/faq/)



3. Will an orbital buffer work with your products?

Yes.

Orbital buffers are designed to help you safely produce a better shine with less effort on your part. Orbital buffers, offer the safe oscillating-action that Meguiar's G-100 Dual-Action Polisher uses, the primary difference being one of size and design.

Traditional Orbital buffers are typically larger than the G-100 and typically have two handles on opposite sides of the buffer unit itself. There are smaller Orbital buffers on the market, and some with different handle configurations, but in the end, they all do the same thing and that's use a random, oscillating motion to safely apply cleaners, polishes and protectants.

The benefit to using an orbital buffer is, generally speaking, they will produce better, more even results than the results you can achieve only using your hands. The only drawback to the orbital buffer is sometimes their larger size can make it difficult to work on small areas, like windshield posts, or tight spaces like the space under a rear deck wing. Since most orbital buffers use a large 8" to 11" buffing pad, you tend to use more product because the pad itself will absorb a certain amount of your product.

Note: Meguiar's more aggressive Paint Cleaners and Compounds in the Professional Line should only be applied with a rotary buffer by an experienced technician.

Meguiar's G-100

In recent years, Meguiar's G-100 Dual Action Polisher has become incredibly popular with serious enthusiast and avid Meguiar's fans. Unlike traditional orbital buffers, the G-100 uses a backing plate, which utilizes a Velcro Quick Change system so that you can quickly and easily switch from a polishing pad like the W-8006 to a final finishing pad like the W-9006. The smaller 6" size provides plenty of cleaning and polishing action while using dramatically less product because of the smaller size. The G-100 is also lighter in weight making it incredibly easy for just about anyone of any skill level to use. Its smaller size allows it to be used on smaller areas and in tighter space making more versatile all around. Best of all, Meguiar's offers a LIFETIME WARRANTY in case there are ever any problems. Simply return the G-100 to Meguiar's and Meguiar's will replace the G-100 with a brand new model, no questions asked.

Mike

Mike Phillips
Jun 27th, 2005, 07:25 AM
*Bump*

Moved from Detailing 101 to this forum, Hot Topics as it is a popular question/topic.

RamAirV1
Jun 27th, 2005, 03:12 PM
So the DA is not any more aggressive than the ordinary orbital buffer you can buy at Sears? It seems to me that the DA at least oscillates faster (set on 5.0).

RamAirV1

Mike Phillips
Jun 27th, 2005, 03:16 PM
Originally posted by RamAirV1
So the DA is not any more aggressive than the ordinary orbital buffer you can buy at Sears? It seems to me that the DA at least oscillates faster (set on 5.0).

RamAirV1

No. It would appear as though I have not used enough words to make it clear that the dual action polisher is dramatically more aggressive than a traditional orbital buffer because of it's optional higher OPM's and because it utilizes a smaller back plate, you can use a smaller foam pad and thus increase the amount of pressure applied over a smaller area.

OPM Speed and smaller pad size are two of the greatest features the dual action polisher provides over fixed speed/slow moving traditional orbital buffers.

RamAirV1
Jun 27th, 2005, 04:10 PM
I got the part about the smaller pad size. I even tried a 4" LC pad and it worked great the first time. The second time I used it the pad fell apart.

So I would add the fact that Meguiars pads are available for the PC as another advantage. They work better and are longer lasting. Even running the PC wide open (6.0) has not hurt the pads.

RamAirV1

rusty bumper
Jun 27th, 2005, 04:36 PM
The G100 is a very balanced tool.

I noticed that it is easier on my back muscles than a traditional orbital is.

My Craftsman orbital has too much wobble & vibrations when I use it vertically.

silence
Jul 1st, 2005, 04:09 AM
Will a orbitol buffer work with meg's deep crystal paint cleaner in remiving embedded water spots and fine scratches that I can't get out by hand? Currenty i'm using the hi tech-yellow wax, what can I use that will produce the same great shine as the yellow with the orbital buffer?

silence
Jul 1st, 2005, 07:43 AM
Anyone? I goin to try and run to the store after work.

rusty bumper
Jul 1st, 2005, 08:30 AM
Originally posted by silence
Will a orbitol buffer work with meg's deep crystal paint cleaner in remiving embedded water spots and fine scratches that I can't get out by hand? Currenty i'm using the hi tech-yellow wax, what can I use that will produce the same great shine as the yellow with the orbital buffer?
It might remove fine scratches, but it would take a lot of buffing with an orbital/DC #1 combo to remove embedded stains.

I would try ScratchX by hand on those water spots, and finish the rest with the orbital. Some on the forum have said that SX is good at removing stains.

#26 Hi Tech Wax will give good results with an orbital, but you can apply any wax with an orbital.

silence
Jul 1st, 2005, 08:49 AM
well I was thinking t o try sx on the stains, but they are all over the car. thats alot elbow grease to do the whole car.

Mike Phillips
Jul 1st, 2005, 08:55 AM
Originally posted by silence
Will a orbital buffer work with Meg's deep crystal paint cleaner in removing embedded water spots and fine scratches that I can't get out by hand?

No. The Deep Crystal Paint Cleaner is a chemical only paint cleaner, it contains no diminishing abrasives and this is what you need to take a little paint off in order to remove the defects you have listed.


Currently I'm using the hi tech-yellow wax, what can I use that will produce the same great shine as the yellow with the orbital buffer?

Any Meguiar's' wax will produce a great shine applied by hand or machine. There are other characteristics you can bring out of paint like depth, clarity, richness of color etc. that some waxes will work better than others, but as far as shine goes, all Meguiar's waxes will create shine if the surface is clean and smooth to start with.

Mike Phillips
Jul 1st, 2005, 08:58 AM
Originally posted by silence
Anyone? I going to try and run to the store after work.

Your hand with a little passion will be more effective at removing paint than an orbital buffer unless the paint is a very soft single stage like single stage black paint.

ScratchX by hand on a clear coat will be more effective than anything on a traditional orbital buffer.

silence
Jul 1st, 2005, 09:05 AM
ok well than i will just have to pick the spots that are very noticeable. The hood is my big problem, but I think i won't have the energy to do the whole hood with SX.

Mike Phillips
Jul 1st, 2005, 09:12 AM
Originally posted by silence
ok well than i will just have to pick the spots that are very noticeable. The hood is my big problem, but I think i won't have the energy to do the whole hood with SX.

You can try using the ScratchX with the orbital buffer, but two things, one is if this orbital is they large style, it's going to be a fixed speed buffer and this will be a slow speed, (as compared to the dual action polisher), making it pretty in-effective, (but you can try). Also, if it a large style orbital buffer like one of these,

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/2OrbitalPolisher2.jpg http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/2OrbitalPolisher3.jpg

Then take into account that a lot of your product is going to be sucked up into the bonnet itself until it reaches a certain saturation point.

davey g-force
Jul 13th, 2006, 09:25 PM
I'm looking at purchasing a G-100a for applying wax. (I've been trying to win one for the last few months, but to no avail !!) ;)

My paint is in very good condition - I wash the car every week and wax by hand every 2-3 weeks. The car is always parked under cover.

I want the G-100 for two reasons:

1. To make my fortnightly waxing quicker and easier
2. To hopefully remove some light scratches/swirls in the clear coat that don't come out by hand.

Would the G-100 used with NXT wax achieve the two points above? Or would I need another product with the G100? Or should I just use another product by hand and forget about the G-100?

Thanks in advance...

Murr1525
Jul 13th, 2006, 10:18 PM
Probably worth a new thread, but here is an answer for now:

Recommended Products - G100a Dual Action Polisher (http://www.meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=7116)

Using the G-100 to remove swirls with the Professional Line (http://www.meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2965)

Nxt is just a wax, dont worry about any cleaning ability it has. You are going to want a dedicated paint cleaner to remove swirls.

#80 is kind of the go-to product for this sort of thing. It can remove swirls, but still nice and mild.

So a real fast detail could look like:

1. Wash
2. #80
3. 2 coats of Nxt.

davey g-force
Jul 16th, 2006, 07:53 PM
Thanks Murr1525. Those links were very helpful.

The second link says to use M83 first for neglected or abused surfaces (which mine isn't). So are you saying that M80 is much less aggressive?

I'm a bit worried about doing more harm than good, as I've never used a polisher before. Should I try something even milder than M80? Or what would I use if I decide to do it by hand?

The swirls are very fine - only visible under flourescent lights...

Zet
Jul 17th, 2006, 01:31 PM
Yes, the #80 is much less aggressive than #83, and when used with the PC, it is very mild. So it should be fine to start out with.

If you want to try removing the swirls by hand, you should use ScratchX, like in this thread: How To Remove Swirls By Hand (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=7011)

If the swirls are very fine, you could try out something even milder like DC1. With the ScratchX you might be able to remove the swirls with just one application.

davey g-force
Jul 17th, 2006, 02:39 PM
Thanks Zet and Murr.

I think I'll try the ScratchX by hand first and see how that goes.
Do you think I can just apply the ScratchX to the affected areas without doing the whole car? If so, will the areas treated with ScratchX look different to the rest of the car?

Electric Shepherd
Jul 25th, 2006, 03:09 PM
You can try using the ScratchX with the orbital buffer, but two things, one is if this orbital is they large style, it's going to be a fixed speed buffer and this will be a slow speed, (as compared to the dual action polisher), making it pretty in-effective, (but you can try). Also, if it a large style orbital buffer like one of these,



Then take into account that a lot of your product is going to be sucked up into the bonnet itself until it reaches a certain saturation point.

Mike, with one of these larger orbital buffers [such as I own] is it worth wetting [so it's only just damp] the cotton polishing bonnet before use? Would this limit the amount of product that would absorb into it?

rusty bumper
Jul 25th, 2006, 03:20 PM
Originally posted by Electric Shepherd
Mike, with one of these larger orbital buffers [such as I own] is it worth wetting [so it's only just damp] the cotton polishing bonnet before use? Would this limit the amount of product that would absorb into it?
The ones that I have seen have rather thin bonnets. I wouldn't worry to much about it myself.

Mike Phillips
Jul 25th, 2006, 03:32 PM
Originally posted by Electric Shepherd
Mike, with one of these larger orbital buffers [such as I own] is it worth wetting [so it's only just damp] the cotton polishing bonnet before use? Would this limit the amount of product that would absorb into it?

Generally speaking the answer is "no".

You don't want to introduce water to the chemical you're using as the chemist didn't formulate it to be used that way. That is unless the directions on the label instruct you to add water or wet your applicator pad first.

motmoto1
Dec 2nd, 2008, 10:47 AM
This is all great info - I have a question regarding use of the PC. I know the PC won't remove major paint defects, but I assume it will remove moderate swirling and water spots? The paint on my car is very soft so hopefully I should get good results with it. I keep reading that the rotary would be best to remove major paint defects - whatare considered major paint defects - holograms, deep scratches?

Thanks again!

Noobie.

Mike Phillips
Dec 2nd, 2008, 11:01 AM
what are considered major paint defects - holograms, deep scratches?

Thanks again!

Noobie.

Anything deep, swirls, scratches, sanding marks, etchings, Type II water spots.

You'll be impressed with what a good DA Polisher can do when used correctly.

Just be sure to read through this before starting

If you're moving up to machine polishing, be sure to read the below thread before starting...

Tips & Techniques for using the G110, G100, G220 and the PC Dual Action Polisher (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20874)
(These are all similar tools)


Also, ALWAYS do a Test Spot with the products and pads you're planning on using over the entire car and make sure you can make one small area look good first.

Since this is your first post, welcome to Meguiar's Online!

:xyxthumbs

motmoto1
Dec 2nd, 2008, 03:03 PM
Definitely - thanks for the welcome. I will be going to the local junk yard and picking up a hood or a door panel. Hopefully, once I have it down, I can go on to other cars and see how it works. Hopefully I achieve the results I wish with the PC. I will only be using it to detail my car. Thanks again!

Brad777
Aug 26th, 2009, 11:20 AM
I really like this write-up so I'm replying with it in mind. I have a Milwaukee rotary I use to polish my car. Other than removing deep scratches, I generally use the meguiars yellow polishing pad to remove swirls and light scratches. M-80 has proved to be outstanding and to the task and I've had good luck with the Milwaukee. I often follow it with M7, then NXT 2.0 applied by a small orbital. Problem is that the Milwaukee rotary is really heavy. What would be a good replacement for it that would be lighter in weight and easier to control?

Thanks,

Brad

rusty bumper
Aug 27th, 2009, 04:59 PM
I really like this write-up so I'm replying with it in mind. I have a Milwaukee rotary I use to polish my car. Other than removing deep scratches, I generally use the meguiars yellow polishing pad to remove swirls and light scratches. M-80 has proved to be outstanding and to the task and I've had good luck with the Milwaukee. I often follow it with M7, then NXT 2.0 applied by a small orbital. Problem is that the Milwaukee rotary is really heavy. What would be a good replacement for it that would be lighter in weight and easier to control?

Thanks,

Brad

I would recommend the G100, but I'm not sure if Meguiars still sells them or not. I'm not too high on the G110 from what I've heard.