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Cosmetic Maintenance: Washing, Waxing, Detailing, Bodywork, Protection Anything related to keeping your Camaro clean and in good cosmetic condition.

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Old 07-15-2010, 07:17 PM   #1
spacecowby
 
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Flex Polishers

I read all the negatives about these, not for newbies, can burn paint, etc...But what are the positives? I am getting a new hood but plan to keep my old one so I can perfect my PC technique, learn to wetsand and so on. I was thinking about getting a flex to learn with, but what are the positives? Faster time, easier to remove swirls, makes her more pretty?
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Old 07-15-2010, 08:55 PM   #2
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Flex isn't necessarily THE most dangerous tool you can use, but you need to be aware going in that the forced rotation of the head makes it less safe than the PC, so buffing on or near edges or careless use can have catastrophic results. Not as dangerous as a straight rotary, but certainly more so than the PC.

You are gonna get more cut out of the flex, but outside of that theres not a huge upside. The backing plate is not interchangeable so you're stuck at one size for pads, kind of annoying for a machine that costs as much as it does.

I also wouldn't consider it nearly as reliable as the PC... there are numerous complaints about having to have the machine serviced for various issues.

In the end it would be a little bit of a time saver, thats about it... I have yet to meet the average paint condition that can't be corrected with the PC, time, and the right technique.
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Old 07-15-2010, 09:58 PM   #3
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^^ What Dylan said...

My flex is out of commission.
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Old 07-15-2010, 10:11 PM   #4
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The PC is a fantastic tool and can do a LOT of corrective work.

The FLEX is MUCH more powerful and has the potential to correct quicker and easier, there is no question about that.

With a single, complete pass of the PC and M105 on an orange pad I did this on a neon I was working with. The PC is still a powerful tool when you learn to use it correctly. The problem most people have is they try to move the tool too quickly or do not apply enough pressure (or sometimes apply too much pressure). Experience pays off when learning to correct paint.

The deeper scratches that remained in this photo would've needed wet-sanding to remove.

Before:



After:

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Old 07-16-2010, 02:09 PM   #5
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Flex XC3401VRG is a true dual-action machine. There's a huge difference between the two. With the Porter Cable 7424XP, the pads do not rotate, they oscillate, or jiggle, in a random pattern designed to simulate hand application. The "throw" or amount of "jiggle" is not disclosed by Porter Cable but it is very, very small. With the Flex XC3401VRG, the pads do have a forced circular motion, they rotate or "cut". Plus, as the pads rotate, they oscillate, or move, in a random pattern. Hence the name, dual action. One action is the circular rotation and the second action is the random movement of the pad while it is rotating. This random oscillation also has a exceptionally "long throw" of 8 mm. The forced circular pad rotation coupled with the long throw of the oscillations give the Flex considerably more cutting power than the Porter Cable 7424XP.

The Flex XC3401VRG has a bale-style handle which puts your hands at the 6 o'clock and 12 o'clock position which most professionals prefer. This gives you an even weight distribution between your hands, making the polisher less fatiguing when used for long periods. A six position speed control allows you to limit rpm's between 160 rpm and 480 rpm. Under the speed control, a variable speed trigger allows you to feather the oscillations per minute (OPM's) up to the maximum set by the speed dial. A very nice touch for keeping the rpm's low for applying waxes and sealants which you normally can not apply with a circular polisher.

Specifications:

Motor Amps 7.5
Rotary RPM: 160-480
Orbital OPM: 3200-9600
Recommended pad size 6.5" - 7.5"
5.5 inch Velcro® backing plate included (not changeable)
Weight 5.75 lbs
Warranty 1 year
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Old 12-10-2011, 12:51 PM   #6
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What is the technique to Feather the trigger?
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Old 12-15-2011, 01:25 AM   #7
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I love the design of the Flex and the power is exceptional. They put all the controls right at your fingers under grip, so there is no "searching" for dials and on/off switches like on the PC. The trigger can be 'feathered' or locked into action and easily unlocked by a simple tap. The dial allows you to machine-wax/glaze/wet sand at low speed or go full speed for total correction. 6.5" pads can do a lot of work and if you're careful you can use 5.5" pads too-on open, flat surfaces. It's a very smooth but loud machine. Sometimes the front handle can tip downward while working and OH MAN will your knuckles hurt if it does. I can say that after about 500 uses, i had to get mine serviced. I use it to do both paint correction and floor mat scrubbing with a unique attachment. I'd say only a dozen or so times have I been unable to achieve full correction with the Flex and wished i had a rotary.
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Old 12-15-2011, 02:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxspeed View Post
What is the technique to Feather the trigger?
The trigger control on the flex operates much like a throttle... pull a little and you get a little, pull more you get more. Basically what you do is set the speed dial at what you want your 'max' speed to be, then you have a range from 0-100% of that setting based on how far you pull the trigger.

When you first start spreading the polish over the finish you'll feather the trigger (pull slightly) to spread the product out, then once you've got it spread over your working area you can go full tilt.

Also, I should update this thread... a lot has changed since July 2010 when it started. The Flex has definitely improved in reliability and our failure rates for both the PC and Flex 3401 are about identical at this point.
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:58 AM   #9
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Hey, and come Jan 1, 2012 Flex is releasing a kit with a 4" and 6" backing plate!!! Great news for Flex users!

edit: you can just get the backing plates if you already have the Flex
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:38 AM   #10
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Thanks for the info Dylan. I watched the vid when Adam said feather the trig and focused on his hand. It looked to me like he was pulling the trigger quickly on and off until the polish was spread.
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