Detailing/Rotary questions...(My FIRST post!)

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First of all, great forum. I must've been one of the first members because I remember Anthony being the only one posting. I've learned much from Anthony's posts on and have practically the entire OPT line. I've been lurking for awhile and have learned much by reading and trial and error. The weather has been unusually nice all winter long in NorCal and has allowed me to experiment all season.


Detailing is a release for me, and luckily I have the time to enjoy it. I have a PC 7424 with 6 1/2 LC pads, Optimum products including: OHC, OC, OP, OPS, OCW, Protectant Plus, and Tire Shine; Klasse twins, Poorboy's Natty Blue, and most recently a Hitachi SP18VA rotary with 7 1/2 LC rounded pads.


I've had great success with the PC alone, but it seemed to take forever with the correction of some paint problems including spiderwebbing, light clear coat scratches, etc. I've been working on a dark metallic green Honda Accord 2001 with clearcoat, a 86 Ford Escort with black single stage paint (no clearcoat), and a 1997 red Chrysler T&C minivan with clearcoat. I wanted to get a rotary to speed up the process and to tackle more aggressive defects in paint.


I decided to try to use the Hitachi on the Honda to get out some clearcoat scratches and to remove the remaining cobweb scratches that were greatly minimized by the PC. I've also seen some of the amazing pics you guys post, under the sun, under :( halogens and strive for the many "after" pics on the site. OK finally...on to the questions....


1) Polishing occurs in the shade, correct? Car was washed and clayed. I used an orange LC pad with OPS and while it left a smooth finish, it also left some light hologramming on the car, noticable when I pulled the car back into the sun. I kept doing that to check my work. With OPS, I worked on the trunk because it was flat, worked slowly and until the product was almost gone. I kept the speed low on the Hitachi between 1 and 2, approx 600-1000 RPM and the paint surface was not even warm to touch. How do you check for hologramming after polishing with a rotary?


2) Is hologramming normal? These were nowhere near as bad when I screwed around with the wrong pads, poor technique and wrong product (the terrible triad!) on a Harbor Freight ($17) rotary a few months back. Was it my pad choice? I'm thinking maybe it was too agressive to start. The hologram was easily corrected with the PC, orange pad and OP, but again, the only complaint is the time it took.


3) Is it normal to use a PC to finish, in order to correct the holograms? I tried to use a white LC pad with OPS to correct the holograms, but with little effect. I've read that some people can compound and finish polish with the rotary :cool2[1]:


4) Finally, when do I clean the pad or move onto a new pad on single stage paint? Will the paint/oxidation hamper/damage panels after being saturated?


Any advice would be welcomed, from pad choice, to product to technique.


TIA for the help! :(

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Welcome to the wonderful world of the rotary :( is is a big step from the PC but you will be glad you did when you get your technique down. I feel the OPT line is the easiest to use on a rotary. the polishes have lots of lubricating oils so you are not dry buffing the finish. the one thing is that using too much will clog your pad and create some issues. polishing in the shade is the way to go but I do not have a garage and I am forced to polish in the sun. I do admit that your technique must be very good when working on a black car in the sun LOL ! I need to do the sunny areas first after washing and drying. to be honest I have not had any issues with holograms and that might be due to the fact that I am outdoors when I am working. make sure you are keeping the machine moving and start with a less aggresive pad in my test spot, is my motto. makes sure the polish is broken down before removing it. did you see the videos Anthony did , they may be a way to compare your technique or give you some ideas. I do use the variable trigger and spread the product on a slow speed and work my way up. I am very comfortable using a rotary on any car and knowing that my results will be great. take your time and do not be in a hurry to crank that puppy up as it seems like people have the urge to do. also try and not do a very large area as you may be taking on too much at once. if you can find the green pads like Propel used to make , they are very rotary friendly IMO. as far a single stage paint I will say that I refer to when I am detailing boats with oxidation. when the pad becomes clogged you will notice that the machine may start being harder to control and your end result is not what it should be. I just lay it on the ground at the lowest speed and use a nylon brush to clean the pad. I use only 6.5 inch pads on my rotary and find they are very easy to control. hope some of this info may help you out. just my two cents.

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Hey buddy,


GREAT series of questions you have asked and I hope to reply to them and help ya out as best I can.


First, as noted, polishing in the sun can be done but is not your ideal situation. Polishing on a cool surface (but not too cold) is ideal, out of the sun BUT in proper lighting.


Secondly, make sure you have your pad centered properly. This helps reduce fatigue as you strain to keep the buffer under control. If you notice your rotary doing a weird oblong type of gyration then your pad is off center. The rotary should be running smooth and be fairly easy to control.


Third, no need to run your rotary over 1500 rpm's in most cases, especially on clears. You'll want the paint to be toasty warm to the touch after you have buffed an area. If you can't place your hand on the paint then you're running the buffer to fast and/or moving too slow. Reduce rpms and increase your speed or passes a bit.


Fourth, halograms are par for the course in rotary work so don't expect swirl free paint at the start. Remember that halograms are micro scratches cause by the action of the rotary and the pad/product choice. Think in terms of prepping wood for stain and shellac. If you sand a table top with 400 grit paper and stop right there you'll have a really ugly table top after it has been stained and sealed but if you continue sanding down to a super fine grit paper and then stain and seal you'll have a table top that looks like glass.


Same concept with rotary work. You cut or level the paint and to get that glass look you continue down the aggression scale until you end with a fine polish and pad. This is why I always say....the finer the pad/product the fewer the swirls.


Fifth, no reason not to finish with the PC. After you did a rotary polishing and ended with a fine finishing pad and product use the same pad and product on your PC or Cyclo. You should have a swirl free or close to swirl free finish.


Sixth, you'll want to clean your pad when working on a single stage paint about every other panel, especially when in the leveling stage. I do this with an APC (all purpose cleaner) and running water.


Lastly, make sure you're not tense as you buff as this causes you to apply a death grip on the buffer. A flat pad does not equal "no swirls" as so many people put forth. I buff with my pad on an angle about 90% of the time. Make sure you buff INTO an edge or seam and not on top of an edge or seam as the paint in these areas is thinner and can lead to burn through. I highly recommend beginners get a scrap hood piece from a body shop and purposely BURN the paint. You should know what it looks like and how it can happen. Use an old pad though as the heat can warp the pad.


I know this advice is not very thorough and only tips the huge iceberg of rotary work but I hope it helps you out,


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