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View Full Version : Please explain Pros/Cons between Rotary and Orbital Buffers



JohnMcD348
Apr 28th, 2007, 07:10 PM
Please explain Pros/Cons between Rotary and Orbital Buffers (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20546)

I have a Sears 9 Inch Orbital that I've had for a few years (but haven't used much). The more I look online for info and advice on properly cleaning and detailing I see the mention of Rotary buffers.

Can someone explain or send me in the right direction to properly use these buffers?

Usually, for me, I use it to apply the polish and wax to the car, switching the bonnets with each application. I'll usually use the same bonnet to apply and remove the polish/wax as I apply to the entire car and by the time I've finished that step the original has dried sufficiently that a pass with the buffer cleans it off.


Thanks
JTMcD.

PorscheGuy997
Apr 28th, 2007, 07:15 PM
Well, I give you a few suggestions:

There is a HUGE difference between a rotary and an orbital.

Orbitals are meant to apply and remove products that have very low or no abrassiveness. They are meant to speed up the process of application.

Rotaries are direct drive beasts - not really, but in the wrong hands, they are.

A rotary has tons of power and is meant to apply very abrassive products with tons of power to break down the abrassives. Rotaries are used to remove series defects or wetsanding marks. They also use pads instead of the bonnets.

Before making such a huge step, I would suggest getting a PC.

As for your orbital use:
You should switch to a clean bonnet before removing the product.

Ryan L.
Apr 28th, 2007, 07:22 PM
PorscheGuy997 covered the topic pretty well, give this a read to help understand even more...Rotary vs. PC vs. Regular Orbital Buffer (http://www.meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1395)

Hope this helps!!

JohnMcD348
Jun 1st, 2008, 08:07 AM
It's been awhile since I've been online but Thanks very much for the reply and info.

Andy M.
Jun 1st, 2008, 08:32 AM
Well, I give you a few suggestions:

There is a HUGE difference between a rotary and an orbital.

Orbitals are meant to apply and remove products that have very low or no abrassiveness. They are meant to speed up the process of application.

Rotaries are direct drive beasts - not really, but in the wrong hands, they are.

A rotary has tons of power and is meant to apply very abrassive products with tons of power to break down the abrassives. Rotaries are used to remove series defects or wetsanding marks. They also use pads instead of the bonnets.

Before making such a huge step, I would suggest getting a PC.

As for your orbital use:
You should switch to a clean bonnet before removing the product.

Hey Chris,

Very nice explanation!:werd1

Andy

J. A. Michaels
Jun 1st, 2008, 03:28 PM
Great explanation Chris. I would agree with going the route of the pc. They do a fantastic job, imho. Plus they are practically goof proof. The machine makes a tremendous improvement in your vehicles finish.

Mike Phillips
Jun 1st, 2008, 04:26 PM
This was written about 3 years ago and we should update it but it might help you...

Can a Rotary Buffer like a Makita or DeWalt be as Idiot-proof as a PC? (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6680)


Then there's this one... it was written a few months ago...

Scottwax2 Learning to use the Rotary Buffer (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21500) Scottwax4


:)

TH0001
Jun 1st, 2008, 06:03 PM
Rotary will do more defect removal then an orbital.

Rotary will finish the paint to a much higher quality then an oribital.

Unfortunately you need to really know how to use the rotary...

Mike Phillips
Jun 2nd, 2008, 06:04 AM
Here's a stab at a realistic explanation of what it means to buff a car out using a rotary buffer.

This tool...

The DeWalt 849 Rotary Buffer with the Stick Style Handle
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/forums/photopost/data/731/DeWalt849RotaryBuffer.jpg



Compared to this tool...

Sealy Orbital Polisher
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/forums/photopost/data/731/SealeyER230P.jpg




Besides being a much more powerful tool and all the things that includes, using a rotary buffer will require a lot of upper body and back strength when we start talking about buffing out an entire car in one day.

It's easy to make it look easy to stand in front of the hood of a car and buff on a horizontal surface about waist high, but that and the trunk lid are the easy areas, the roof will usually require to stand on something to reach it and because you don't want to bend over to use a rotary on vertical panels for the rest of the car you're either going to be on your knees or your bottom, that is unless you have a floor lift so you can raise the car.

Now consider that if you're looking for show car results, not hack job detailing, then using a rotary buffer over an entire car is going to mean going around the entire car at least twice, the first pass being your cutting pass to remove all the defects and the second pass to remove any swirls left by the first pass.

Now after all this work, to really insure all the swirls are gone, most people will go around the car using a DA Polisher and some type of light cleaning polish or cleaner/wax, (so they've changed the action of the tool which means they've changed the action of how the pad is moving over the surface).

So that's 3 machine steps and you still have to apply your finishing wax assuming you're not using a cleaner/wax with the DA and stopping there, this being true you project is 4 machine steps. You could apply your LSP by hand but if you have DA Polisher then you already understand that the machine always does a better job than the hand so we're talking about a 4 step machine buff-out to your car.

How long will that take? Depends upon the size of the car, your goals and the condition of the paint that you're starting with; there's a big difference between buffing out a 1992 Mazda Miata and a 1957 Chevrolet Nomad Wagon, considering the Miata is mostly smooth body panels while besides being HUGE the Nomad Wagon has body lines across the roof and the tail gate that have to be addressed.

Many of the people that have attended our classes that move up to using a rotary buffer will do a panel a weekend, that is one weekend they will do the entire process to the hood, the next weekend they may tackle a door and so on until they've moved around the car and put the paint through all the steps. Of course this takes weeks and even months and after each panel is finished, in the future they have to wash, dry and in every way they touch the paint be careful so the don't re-instill swirls and scratches.


Does that help to explain what you're getting into when you ask the question...



Can someone explain or send me in the right direction to properly use these buffers.



Instead of telling you 'how" to use the rotary buffer we did our best to explain to you the reality of what it means to use a rotary buffer in contrast to using what we call a Traditional Orbital Buffer or Polisher that by comparison to what you wrote and to what I wrote is a cake walk. :)





I use it to apply the polish and wax to the car, switching the bonnets with each application.

I'll usually use the same bonnet to apply and remove the polish/wax as I apply to the entire car and by the time I've finished that step the original has dried sufficiently that a pass with the buffer cleans it off.

JohnMcD348
Jun 11th, 2008, 06:46 AM
Excellent post. I GREATLY appreciate the info you passed on. I really kind wish I lived in your area so I could attend some of your classes. I'd even catch a road show class if they ever come my way. I've been waxing and cleaning my own vehicles now for over 20 years, pretty much using Meg's products to near exclusivity and I know 'm doing an OK job but can do better. I just need someone to show me the ropes.

Mike Phillips
Jun 11th, 2008, 07:10 AM
Excellent post. I GREATLY appreciate the info you passed on.


There's a lot of forums out there with detailing talk to read, and we alway encourage people to check them all out and then make up their own mind where they get their best answers and information.

We try to type up answers that enable people to go out into their garage and be successful and explain products, tools and procedures in ways that the average person can understand and apply to their situation.




I really kind wish I lived in your area so I could attend some of your classes. I'd even catch a road show class if they ever come my way.


Behind the scenes we are working on this for this year. It just takes time.

Patience....

:)