Things to keep in mind when getting started with a rotary buffer
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  1. #1
    Sr. Global Product & Training Spec Michael Stoops's Avatar
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    Things to keep in mind when getting started with a rotary buffer

    If you're already a master of the rotary buffer, good. We're very happy to have you here on MOL and hope that you'll join in the discussions surrounding the rotary buffer.

    If you're just considering picking up a rotary buffer but have been put off by all the stories you've heard about how dangerous they are, how much damage you can do with one, or you're worried about burning through your paint, good.

    Good? Yes, because even though the rotary buffer is a fantastic tool, one that can do things much faster than hand work or D/A buffing can do, one that in many cases can do things you simply can not do any other way, it is not something you just pick up and start using on your favorite car. It's all about power, and with power comes potential. Potential for holograms, burning through paint or doing damage to other areas you may have not even thought about.

    Holograms are often just part of the process, especially when working with a compound and a wool pad, such as when removing sanding marks. This is a very aggressive process, perhaps second only to wet sanding itself. Holograms can be controlled and minimized, but you need to understand the proper techniques to do so. Otherwise you end up with something that looks like this, where you can actually trace the path of the buffer across the paint:



    We can only assume you are not coming here to learn how to do that to your paint, yet many a "professional" will return a car to a customer looking this way. Even so, for as bad as that looks, it can be corrected either by skilled use of the same rotary, or with a G110 or other D/A buffer. Ultimately you want to learn how to avoid doing this. There are discussions here in the Mastering the Rotary Buffer section of MOL that will help, but you may need to read through a few threads before things start to click for you.

    In this section of our forum you will come across a lot of discussion of basic rotary techniques, and several about more advanced processes. You'll read things written by novices, and some very insightful posts written by people who are true masters of the machine. You need to keep this in mind as you read, and always realize that "easy" is a relative concept. Anything is "easy" when you know how to do it. Some things are even easy to learn. The rotary buffer isn't necessarily all that hard to learn, there is just so much more going on when using this tool than when using other processes. And that is compounded by the fact that a rotary puts an awful lot of power into all those things going on.

    Go out to your car and feel the gaps where body panels meet. Do they lineup on the same plane? That is, are they level with each other, or is one a bit higher than the other? Does your vehicle have any sharp creases or body lines somewhere on it? Perhaps that little rise on the fuel door so you can open it easily? What does the area around the rear license plate recess look like? Do you have plastic trim around the windows? How about the door handles? Antenna? Do your plastic tail lights protrude a bit? Do you even consider these things when working by hand or with a G110? Probably not. But the power of a rotary buffer now means that all of these items, and more, are sitting ducks.

    Do you consider the differences in the substrate of the panel you're working on? Do you care if your doors are steel, your hood is aluminum and your bumper covers are a plastic or urethane of some sort? Well, if you're going to use a rotary buffer you might want to start. With a D/A you don't worry about these things because that process doesn't, under proper use, put a large amount of heat into those surfaces. But a rotary can, and will. And those substrates can react quite differently to that heat input, and that can have a huge impact on the paint.

    It's all about understanding how very different rotary buffing is from any process you've used before, and really thinking about what you're reading, considering the source (how experienced the author is/isn't), and paying close attention when finally getting that rotary in your hands... and on your paint. It's all about having a healthy respect for the rotary before you jump in and start polishing paint with one.

    There's a reason why in our Detailing 101 Classes, where we teach proper use of the G110, we use an attendee's vehicle for the demo but in our Advanced Class, where we teach proper rotary technique, we use a rental car. Think about it.

    Of all the tools you use when polishing paint - G110, rotary, backing plate foam pads, wool pads, compounds, polishes, cleaners, towels, lights, etc - by far the most important tool is your brain. Make good use of it.
    Michael Stoops
    Senior Global Product & Training Specialist | Meguiar's Inc.

    Remember, this hobby is supposed to be your therapy, not the reason you need therapy.

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    Registered Member Mark McGuire's Avatar
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    Re: Things to keep in mind when getting started with a rotary buffer

    Hey Mike, very nice write-up, very informative and to the point. Nice one.
    2005 Trailblazer LT Majestic Red Metallic
    AutoGeek's 6th Annual Detail Fest & Car Show
    1st Place-Best Overall Detail
    3rd Place-Best of Show
    March 26th, 2011

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    www.6speedonline.com the_invisible's Avatar
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    Re: Things to keep in mind when getting started with a rotary buffer

    Excellent introduction to the realm of rotary buffing, Michael Stoops!!!!

    I could not agree more that there are actually professionals handing cars back to their customers with obvious sanding marks on them.

    With the introduction of aggressive liquid products and foam cutting pads, I do not understand the needs for wool pads to buff paint surfaces.



    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Stoops View Post
    There's a reason why in our Detailing 101 Classes, where we teach proper use of the G110, we use an attendee's vehicle for the demo but in our Advanced Class, where we teach proper rotary technique, we use a rental car. Think about it.

    Seriously? Does the rental company know that you are experimenting with their cars?!

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    aka 2hotford Tim Lingor's Avatar
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    Re: Things to keep in mind when getting started with a rotary buffer

    Quote Originally Posted by the_invisible View Post


    Seriously? Does the rental company know that you are experimenting with their cars?!
    They do now! LOLOLOL

    Tim

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    'Pearly Gates' Eddie6th's Avatar
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    Re: Things to keep in mind when getting started with a rotary buffer

    Hi Micheal...Great to see some info here.

    I love using the rotary...Some points you made about raised edges,which is common,is of importance.

    I think wool pads have their place,Invisible.One thing i like is they are very much cooler than foam.I like the wool for cutting out sanding,followed by foam.

    Bodyshops are a great place for discarded bodyparts.Some people might not get the same satisfaction because they're working on something that will have no use,but I like to see what can be achieved.

    TOP


  6. #6
    Sr. Global Product & Training Spec Michael Stoops's Avatar
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    Re: Things to keep in mind when getting started with a rotary buffer

    Quote Originally Posted by the_invisible View Post

    Seriously? Does the rental company know that you are experimenting with their cars?!
    Actually, yes, and we bring the cars back in far, far better condition than when we picked them up. Keep in mind, the work being done on these cars is not "self taught" - that's part of the reason we keep those classes to a maximum of 12 people so that we only have 4 groups of 3 working on the vehicle. With 2 instructors present, and a very structured class, we really oversee just 2 people at a time. That is, each instructor oversees two groups of 3 students, but only 1 student from each group is ever doing anything at any given moment. Make sense? It is far easier to keep an eye on two people than 40.
    Michael Stoops
    Senior Global Product & Training Specialist | Meguiar's Inc.

    Remember, this hobby is supposed to be your therapy, not the reason you need therapy.

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    Registered Member roguetadhg's Avatar
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    Re: Things to keep in mind when getting started with a rotary buffer

    I hate digging up an old thread - but when are you going to be doing the next classes?
    - Cliff
    "Don't wait for the iron to be hot to strike it. Make it hot by striking."

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    Mr. greg0303's Avatar
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    Re: Things to keep in mind when getting started with a rotary buffer

    Quote Originally Posted by roguetadhg View Post
    I hate digging up an old thread - but when are you going to be doing the next classes?
    Here's 2011 Schedule:

    http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=166

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