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Old 05-29-2012, 08:58 AM   #1
Todd@Autopia
 
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Choosing the right style and type of DA polisher




Choosing the correct machine can be tricky and confusing. After all they are significant investment and there is a lot of information, sometimes conflicting information about the machine polisher's you can purchase for your car.

All machine polishers work by creating friction on the paint's surface. This friction caused by the movement the machine polisher creates as it moves a polishing pad across the surface. It should be noted that since all machine polishers create friction and the process of polishing paint means that you are removing paint, there is always some risk involved.

Types of Polishers:
  • Dual Action Polishers: Dual Action Polisher, or DA Polishers, work by moving the pad in two patterns at the same time. They combine an oscillating movement (tiny orbital movement) with a spinning movement. Depending on the type of machine, the spinning action can be free wheeling (Random Orbital ) or direct (Forced Rotation).
  • Rotary Polishers: Rotary Polishers, which are also referred to as Variable Speed, High Speed, and/or Circular polishers work by moving the pad in a spinning motion. These machines generally create much higher friction due to the rapid rate at which they move the pad.


DA Polisher Types: - Since this article focuses on choosing the correct Random Orbital Style Polisher, we will look at the two types of DA Polisher Types: Random Orbital and Forced Rotation

Random Orbital DA Polishers: Random Orbital DA Polishers have a free-spinning or free-wheeling pad. There is no direct drive between the pad spinning and the motor. Random Orbital DA Polishers instead drive the pad in a tiny orbital movement that very much mimics the movement of your hand if you where applying wax in the Mr. Myagi "wax on/wax off" motion, only much smaller circles and a much higher rate of speed.

A free-spinning bearing connects the backing plate (pad mount) to the machine. Centrifugal force, created by the tiny orbital motion, allows the pad to spin. Since there is no direct link between the machine and the rotation of the pad, applying too much pressure will cause the pad to stop rotating. This can prevent over heating the paint as well as prevent to much paint removal.

On the surface, Random Orbital DA Polishers are the safest and easiest to control for new users. Random Orbital Polishers have another unique advantage. Because there is no direct link between the rotation and orbital movements, it allows the pad's to create an infinitely variable (hence Random) pattern of movement across the paint. Manipulation of this pattern, by experienced users, can dramatically increase the cutting power or finishing ability.

Random Orbital Polishers-

Porter Cable 7424 XP- Porter Cable, with the original 7424, is the company that introduced DA polishing to enthusiasts. The "XP" has more power, more speed, and less vibrations. While some would say it "only" features a 1-year warrenty, many would argue that they never need one to begin with.

Griot's Garage 6 Inch DA- The Griot's Garage is a power house with a life-time warrenty. It features a power 850 watt motor that may resist bogging more than the other models.


Meguiar's G110v2- The Meguiar's G110v2 features a soft start feature, rubberized soft-touch body, and ultra smooth performance. It also has the same high speed as the other polishers and a powerful motor. It is a little more polished then the other machines, but just as capable. It also features an extremely accurate speed dial.



Forced Rotation DA Polishers: Forced Rotation DA Polishers get their namesake because the directly drive both the orbital motion and the rotational movement of the pad. The pattern the pad creates as it moves across the paint's surface is controlled and never changes; the only variable is the rate (speed) of the movement. These machines are very much a blend between Random Orbital DA Polishers and direct-drive Rotary Polishers.

Instead of a free-spinning bearing assembly, Forced Rotation DA Polishers use some type of gearing system to tie both movements together. This adds to the complexity of the machine, but also increases the available polishing power, particularly when pressure is applied. With a Random Orbital DA Polisher the pad may stop spinning under pressure. With the Forced Rotation DA Polisher it will continue to spin (and orbit) increasing the potential for polishing power.

Since the pattern of movement of the pad is fixed (the pad will orbit a fixed number of times per rotation) the only variable the operator controls is the rate (speed) of movement and the pressure. This actually shortens the learning curve of the machine and allows almost new users to achieve maximum results with little learn time.

The flip-side is because the motion is directly driven there is more heat transfer to the paint. Forced Rotation DA Polishers will also drive or stear more across the paint as they work. You do trade some safety for the increase in polishing power, although it still remains an extremely safe way to polish paint.

Forced Rotation DA Polishers-

Makita BO6040 Polisher- The Makita "Two-Mode' is unique in that it features both a Random Orbital mode and a Forced Rotation mode. Simply turn a dial to switch between the different functions. Unlike the other polishers in this article, it features a smaller, 3/16th in stroke (the distance of the orbit) which makes it great for machine sanding in Random Orbital Mode.


FLEX 3401 VRG Dual Action Polisher- The FLEX 3401 is one of the most popular polishers on the market and for good reason. It gives polishers the ability to remove serious paint defects quickly on the first use. A variable speed dial and variable speed trigger allows the user to find the right speed for the application and the rugged design never seems to dissappoint.


Picking the right polisher:

Before deciding on the exact model it is good to first evaluate your needs and the style of Dual Action Polisher will fit you.

Random Orbital Polishers (Porter Cable, Griot's, Meguiar's) used to be considered under-powered beginner's tools. Now with the advent of modern pad systems (low profile foam pads and microfiber discs) and abrasives this is no longer the case. In fact there has been a resurgence in Random Orbital Polisher use with advanced and experienced users. Learning how to master the Random Orbital DA Polisher takes a lot of time, but for the few that have, you will rarely see them use another machine.

Forced Rotation Polishers combine many aspects from Random Orbital DA Polishers and Rotary Polishers. The result is a polisher that has near the cutting power of a rotary while being nearly as safe as a Random Orbital DA. For many enthusiasts this is the style of choice. With minimal experience they can generate incredible results, quickly.

Regardless of the sytle of DA Polisher you choose, Autopia-CarCare has the support team and the tools (pads/polishes/towels/misc items) to make sure you are on your way to high level polishing.
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:26 AM   #2
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My 2 cents worth - I bought the PC 7424 and I love the results, but my hands hurt for days after using it. Girl-hands are not as big or as strong as man-hands and I think that's my problem. I can hand-polish all day long, hands don't hurt. When I used my little $15.00 wal-mart cheapie-polisher my hands didn't hurt. I did not expect days of pain after detailing my car! I love the results though, and am sucking it up by taking lots of ibuprophen.
My husband is thinking I should have gotten something I could hook up to our air compressor instead. It would be lighter if it didn't have the electric motor in it. Is he right? Is there a d/a polisher out there that is not electric?
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:52 AM   #3
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My 2 cents worth - I bought the PC 7424 and I love the results, but my hands hurt for days after using it. Girl-hands are not as big or as strong as man-hands and I think that's my problem. I can hand-polish all day long, hands don't hurt. When I used my little $15.00 wal-mart cheapie-polisher my hands didn't hurt. I did not expect days of pain after detailing my car! I love the results though, and am sucking it up by taking lots of ibuprophen.
My husband is thinking I should have gotten something I could hook up to our air compressor instead. It would be lighter if it didn't have the electric motor in it. Is he right? Is there a d/a polisher out there that is not electric?
There sure is let me see if I can find the link for you. They're super expensive and you have to have a pretty good air compressor though.

http://www.griotsgarage.com/product/...ortby=ourPicks
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:43 AM   #4
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There sure is let me see if I can find the link for you. They're super expensive and you have to have a pretty good air compressor though.

http://www.griotsgarage.com/product/...ortby=ourPicks
Thank you!! We actually have a pretty decent compressor although it's a dinosaur about the size of a riding lawn mower. Hubby is taking me tool-shopping today, I love the griots you linked me to, that gives me an idea of what's out there.
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Old 05-29-2012, 12:02 PM   #5
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We also offer the 3M Pneumatic DA.

http://www.autopia-carcare.com/3m-random-orbital-air-sander.html
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Old 05-29-2012, 12:12 PM   #6
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thank you for the link, Todd. What is the difference between sander and polisher? Is it variable-speed? I'm tinkering with a paint gun, and I'm using an old mazda pickup fender to practice on, a d/a sander would also be good for sanding on old paint, chips, etc as well as get used as a polisher? Sorry if I sound like a noob, and thanks for the responses
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Old 05-29-2012, 01:02 PM   #7
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thank you for the link, Todd. What is the difference between sander and polisher? Is it variable-speed? I'm tinkering with a paint gun, and I'm using an old mazda pickup fender to practice on, a d/a sander would also be good for sanding on old paint, chips, etc as well as get used as a polisher? Sorry if I sound like a noob, and thanks for the responses
There is no real difference in terms of how the machine operates. Many DA Polishers can (and are) used as sanders. In fact the Porter Cable was originally designed for finish sanding on wood work.

Oh and you are welcome!
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Old 05-29-2012, 02:00 PM   #8
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thank you for the link, Todd. What is the difference between sander and polisher? Is it variable-speed? I'm tinkering with a paint gun, and I'm using an old mazda pickup fender to practice on, a d/a sander would also be good for sanding on old paint, chips, etc as well as get used as a polisher? Sorry if I sound like a noob, and thanks for the responses
The flex is a solid step up. The PCXP tends to vibrate a lot due to the throw of the machine. That is probably what made your hands sore. The flex on the other hand is a little heavier, but it doesn't vibrate nearly as bad. My griots DA, electric version, makes my arms hurt after a full day of correction. My flex on the other hand, doesn't bother me at all.
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Old 05-29-2012, 02:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd@Autopia View Post



Choosing the correct machine can be tricky and confusing. After all they are significant investment and there is a lot of information, sometimes conflicting information about the machine polisher's you can purchase for your car.

All machine polishers work by creating friction on the paint's surface. This friction caused by the movement the machine polisher creates as it moves a polishing pad across the surface. It should be noted that since all machine polishers create friction and the process of polishing paint means that you are removing paint, there is always some risk involved.

Types of Polishers:

  • Dual Action Polishers: Dual Action Polisher, or DA Polishers, work by moving the pad in two patterns at the same time. They combine an oscillating movement (tiny orbital movement) with a spinning movement. Depending on the type of machine, the spinning action can be free wheeling (Random Orbital ) or direct (Forced Rotation).

  • Rotary Polishers: Rotary Polishers, which are also referred to as Variable Speed, High Speed, and/or Circular polishers work by moving the pad in a spinning motion. These machines generally create much higher friction due to the rapid rate at which they move the pad.

DA Polisher Types: - Since this article focuses on choosing the correct Random Orbital Style Polisher, we will look at the two types of DA Polisher Types: Random Orbital and Forced Rotation

Random Orbital DA Polishers: Random Orbital DA Polishers have a free-spinning or free-wheeling pad. There is no direct drive between the pad spinning and the motor. Random Orbital DA Polishers instead drive the pad in a tiny orbital movement that very much mimics the movement of your hand if you where applying wax in the Mr. Myagi "wax on/wax off" motion, only much smaller circles and a much higher rate of speed.

A free-spinning bearing connects the backing plate (pad mount) to the machine. Centrifugal force, created by the tiny orbital motion, allows the pad to spin. Since there is no direct link between the machine and the rotation of the pad, applying too much pressure will cause the pad to stop rotating. This can prevent over heating the paint as well as prevent to much paint removal.

On the surface, Random Orbital DA Polishers are the safest and easiest to control for new users. Random Orbital Polishers have another unique advantage. Because there is no direct link between the rotation and orbital movements, it allows the pad's to create an infinitely variable (hence Random) pattern of movement across the paint. Manipulation of this pattern, by experienced users, can dramatically increase the cutting power or finishing ability.

Random Orbital Polishers-

Porter Cable 7424 XP- Porter Cable, with the original 7424, is the company that introduced DA polishing to enthusiasts. The "XP" has more power, more speed, and less vibrations. While some would say it "only" features a 1-year warrenty, many would argue that they never need one to begin with.

Griot's Garage 6 Inch DA- The Griot's Garage is a power house with a life-time warrenty. It features a power 850 watt motor that may resist bogging more than the other models.


Meguiar's G110v2- The Meguiar's G110v2 features a soft start feature, rubberized soft-touch body, and ultra smooth performance. It also has the same high speed as the other polishers and a powerful motor. It is a little more polished then the other machines, but just as capable. It also features an extremely accurate speed dial.



Forced Rotation DA Polishers: Forced Rotation DA Polishers get their namesake because the directly drive both the orbital motion and the rotational movement of the pad. The pattern the pad creates as it moves across the paint's surface is controlled and never changes; the only variable is the rate (speed) of the movement. These machines are very much a blend between Random Orbital DA Polishers and direct-drive Rotary Polishers.

Instead of a free-spinning bearing assembly, Forced Rotation DA Polishers use some type of gearing system to tie both movements together. This adds to the complexity of the machine, but also increases the available polishing power, particularly when pressure is applied. With a Random Orbital DA Polisher the pad may stop spinning under pressure. With the Forced Rotation DA Polisher it will continue to spin (and orbit) increasing the potential for polishing power.

Since the pattern of movement of the pad is fixed (the pad will orbit a fixed number of times per rotation) the only variable the operator controls is the rate (speed) of movement and the pressure. This actually shortens the learning curve of the machine and allows almost new users to achieve maximum results with little learn time.

The flip-side is because the motion is directly driven there is more heat transfer to the paint. Forced Rotation DA Polishers will also drive or stear more across the paint as they work. You do trade some safety for the increase in polishing power, although it still remains an extremely safe way to polish paint.

Forced Rotation DA Polishers-

Makita BO6040 Polisher- The Makita "Two-Mode' is unique in that it features both a Random Orbital mode and a Forced Rotation mode. Simply turn a dial to switch between the different functions. Unlike the other polishers in this article, it features a smaller, 3/16th in stroke (the distance of the orbit) which makes it great for machine sanding in Random Orbital Mode.


FLEX 3401 VRG Dual Action Polisher- The FLEX 3401 is one of the most popular polishers on the market and for good reason. It gives polishers the ability to remove serious paint defects quickly on the first use. A variable speed dial and variable speed trigger allows the user to find the right speed for the application and the rugged design never seems to dissappoint.


Picking the right polisher:

Before deciding on the exact model it is good to first evaluate your needs and the style of Dual Action Polisher will fit you.

Random Orbital Polishers (Porter Cable, Griot's, Meguiar's) used to be considered under-powered beginner's tools. Now with the advent of modern pad systems (low profile foam pads and microfiber discs) and abrasives this is no longer the case. In fact there has been a resurgence in Random Orbital Polisher use with advanced and experienced users. Learning how to master the Random Orbital DA Polisher takes a lot of time, but for the few that have, you will rarely see them use another machine.

Forced Rotation Polishers combine many aspects from Random Orbital DA Polishers and Rotary Polishers. The result is a polisher that has near the cutting power of a rotary while being nearly as safe as a Random Orbital DA. For many enthusiasts this is the style of choice. With minimal experience they can generate incredible results, quickly.

Regardless of the sytle of DA Polisher you choose, Autopia-CarCare has the support team and the tools (pads/polishes/towels/misc items) to make sure you are on your way to high level polishing.
Thanks for posting very good info there, i like it when i learn something new.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:42 AM   #10
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Thanks for posting very good info there, i like it when i learn something new.
Honestly my pleasure!
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