View Full Version : Pictures from 2015 NXT West

Michael Stoops
Jun 30th, 2015, 12:03 PM
For four days in late June the NXT Institute took over the Meguiar's Training Center and hosted some of the most talented professional detailers in the US and Canada, and from as far as Trinidad, Denmark and The Netherlands. In conjunction with Kevin Brown of buffdaddy.com we held two days of "standard" NXT training and two days of "advanced" NXT training. Both courses consisted of advanced wet sanding and buffing techniques, with the advanced course focusing more time to the actual hands on aspect - many hours each day, in fact - as well as dealing with more advanced aspects of sanding and polishing very small areas or in very tight confines.

While the majority of attendees had several years of experience under their belts already, a few were quite new to detailing, or at least to wet sanding. To watch the level of openness, sharing, camaraderie, enthusiasm and passion among everyone present, regardless of skill set, was inspiring in itself. Lead instructors for the program were Kevin Brown, Meguiar's own Jason Rose, and myself. Assisting us during the hands on sessions were Greg Nichols of Reflections Detailing in Utah, Christopher Brown of OCDcarcare.com, Joe Fernandez of Superior Shine and Derek Bemiss of Detailwerks. During the classroom sessions these guys would totally reset the garage, cleaning up the mess from the previous session and setting the work stations with the proper tools, liquids, pads, etc for the next step of the process. Volunteering to help with this critical task (including regularly doing the laundry!!) were Bob Bartel and Andy Wong. Without the help of this group of guys, who did simply out of their passion for detailing, this would have been a very different experience. I know I speak for both Kevin and Jason when I say this team was invaluable throughout the four days, and we can't thank you guys enough!!!

Wednesday was spent getting the work stations set up; a huge task all by itself!!

Pick your polish (or compound, as the case may be)....

Pick your pad...

Pick your polisher.

With a maximum of 20 students per day being taught by 3 primary instructors and 3 or 4 assistants (depending on the day), the student to instructor ratio was such that everyone got plenty of one-on-one assistance.




Kevin shows off an edging technique with the MT300

Below is an interesting comparison of two sanding techniques: texture leveling versus texture matching. With texture leveling the intent is to do just that - level the texture and remove orange peel. With texture matching the goal is to remove defects from an area of the paint without causing the repaired area to now look different from the rest of the vehicle. These two processes are accomplished with similar, but strikingly different approaches. Leveling makes use of hand block sanding, or DA sanding with a sanding disc rather than a finishing disc. Matching involves the use of only a DA finishing disc paired with a foam interface pad. In the image below the panel had been taped off and one side was hand sanded with 1000 grit and then 3000 grit sand paper. This did an excellent job of leveling the heavy texture present in the test panel. The tape was then removed and the entire area was sanded using only a 3000 grit finishing disc on a DA sander. The area you see here has been sanded by not yet buffed out. The right side shows the flatter reflection while the left side still shows all the orange peel. Notice, however, that in the orange peel section there are no shiny areas which would indicate that the bottoms of the orange peel "waves" had not been touched. The entire contour of the peel has been sanded, potentially removing defects while maintaining uniform texture throughout the vehicle.


Working with a 1" sanding disc on a small pneumatic DA sander.

The two advanced days, Friday and Sunday, saw the garage reset to accommodate cars rather than hoods and panels. Yep, this got real in a hurry!

One technique we discussed was "edge work" versus "panel work". Sanding in the middle of a large panel is pretty straightforward, but working the edges properly takes a bit more patience, skill, time and potentially some specialized tools. Here, just the panel has been sanded. While our preference is to take care of the edge work first as it gives you a visible safety zone around the perimeter when tackling the main panel, it's not the end of the world if you do it the other way around.


We normally recommend keeping the pad as flat as possible to the paint, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. Using a 7" wool pad to handle edge work while removing sanding marks means you'll sometimes be using some serious angle of attack. Will this create a buffer swirl? Most likely, yes, at least to some degree. But that's easy enough to remove with a secondary polishing step.


Another specific approach that we discussed was the use of 3000 grit damp sanding for the removal of more severe defects, rather than just hammering away with a buffer and an aggressive pad/liquid combo. The latter can introduce a lot of heat into the paint, and modern paint simply does not like heat. Using a 3000 grit finishing disc and water introduces no heat, yields a very controlled and uniform sanding mark, and it extremely easy to buff out without stressing the paint. In many situations, as counter intuitive as it may sound, sanding and then buffing instead of simply buffing really is the less invasive and safer approach.

On this rental car there was a long and fairly deep scratch in the trunk lid. Jason talked about the process and then got to work on the defect.


A little 3000 grit on a 3" DA sander.

Immediately after sanding... yes, that white residue is indeed clear coat.

Using the exact same tool with which we sanded the area, we switch to a microfiber cutting disc and M105.

In just a couple quick passes across the paint the sanding marks were gone, and with them so was the original scratch.

At certain angles, with the right light, you could still find a trace of the deepest part of the scratch, but it was impossible to capture with the camera. The remnant in question is right above the fingertip in this shot. Seriously, it's there if you have just the right conditions to find it. Sometimes a defect is just too deep to level safely. But if we can, very quickly and with almost zero heat, take that scratch to this using just two very quick steps, we don't think any car owner would complain.

One again, an enormous thank you to everyone involved - from the assistant instructors to the volunteer clean up crew to the attendees themselves - for making 2015 NXT West such a huge success. We hope to see you on the East Coast in September for 2015 NXT East (http://www.meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?63098)!!

davey g-force
Jun 30th, 2015, 03:22 PM
Wow, that looks awesome.

If only I could attend, I'd be like a kid in a candy store! All those products, tools and detailing gurus all in the one place... :bow

Jun 30th, 2015, 03:32 PM
Great stuff indeed. I can't wait for NxT Institute East Coast :pc

Jun 30th, 2015, 07:59 PM
Fantastic event indeed!

Davey, maybe we should plan a little US holiday that just happens to coincide with the next one of these!

davey g-force
Jun 30th, 2015, 08:23 PM
Davey, maybe we should plan a little US holiday that just happens to coincide with the next one of these!

Sure thing!

While we're there, we can also do: SEMA, Detail Fest, Barret Jackson, Carlisle x 3, Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance etc etc... :)

Jun 30th, 2015, 09:01 PM
Sure thing!

While we're there, we can also do: SEMA, Detail Fest, Barret Jackson, Carlisle x 3, Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance etc etc... :)

Perfect itinerary! Book the tickets today?

Jul 2nd, 2015, 05:31 PM
All bases covered. Awesome hands on.
I'll would like to get more into detail with the advance wet sanding techniques.
Brought you by the All star Team @ Meguiars.
Great tools too. Even a little rotary that has yet to be promoted in the us was part of the arsenal.

Michael Stoops
Jul 6th, 2015, 07:24 AM
Sure thing!

While we're there, we can also do: SEMA, Detail Fest, Barret Jackson, Carlisle x 3, Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance etc etc... :)
So, an entire year in the US then, right guys?

Hey, you wouldn't be the first from Australia to attend NXT as we had a couple of Aussies here last year. We'd love to have both of you attend and, quite frankly, I'd love to meet both of you guys anyway!

davey g-force
Jul 6th, 2015, 11:04 AM
Likewise Mike!

Perhaps Meguiars can fly us over? You know, in the interests of international PR... ;)

Jul 6th, 2015, 05:30 PM
This trip sounds like a great MOL write up in the making... :band

Jul 7th, 2015, 11:21 AM
NXT West 2015 was an incredible event. Kevin Brown, Jason Rose, and Michael Stoops always manage to fit in a wide amount of information in a short time span while offering new insights each time it is presented.

It was my pleasure and a great honor to accompany Derek Bemiss, Jose Fernandez, and Greg Nichols as an assistant helping throughout the entire event with things like: set up, resetting the training garage between curriculum segments, to helping the attendees explore the development of their skills and understanding.

As always NXT sets the Detailing Training bar rediculously high.

It was indeed a great 6 days, filled with a ton of learning, high level conversations, laughing, and lot of paint perfection!

Jul 11th, 2015, 06:11 PM
Cool tools too!!!! I wonder whats was the feedback on the Rupes Rotary.

Aug 8th, 2015, 07:15 PM
Cool tools too!!!! I wonder whats was the feedback on the Rupes Rotary.

Yeah, is that a non-230V Rupes LH 18ENS? How does someone get their hands on one of those?!<script type="text/**********" src="safari-extension://com.ebay.safari.myebaymanager-QYHMMGCMJR/34e5e60d/background/helpers/prefilterHelper.js"></script>