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Old 15-12-2017, 05:54 PM   #1
Mike Phillips
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FLEX 3401 or RUPES? - A question I get asked a lot! -Mike Phillips

FLEX 3401 or RUPES? - A question I get asked a lot! -Mike Phillips



FLEX 3401 or RUPES?




The other day ago I signed a FLEX 3401 for a customer, (thank you that means a lot to me to be asked to sign tools), and then shared this on my Facebook page. The first question posted was,

Flex vs Rupes? Which is better?


Here's what I replied,

If I had a dollar for every time I was asked this question I'd be wealthy



Here's my real answer and I've been consistent in my answer since the day Autogeek became a distributor of RUPES brand. (We were a distributor for FLEX for years before we became a distributor for RUPES).





First - comparing the FLEX 3401 to any RUPES orbital polishers is comparing apples to oranges.

Why?

Because the FLEX 3401 is a GEAR DRIVEN orbital polisher. All of the RUPES tools are FREE SPINNING orbital polishers with the exception of using the rotary attachment on the iBrid. So it's really a useless comparison but I think this fact needs to be pointed out because a lot of people simply don't know or understand the difference. This could be because they've never seen nor used either tool. It could be because they are new to detailing or new to machine polishing and as such, they simply don't know the unique characteristics of the FLEX 3401 vs. any of the RUPES free spinning tools.

It's all good and I understand that others don't understand so that's why I say/type that comparing the FLEX 3401 to any RUPES free spinning tool is comparing apples to oranges.


Here's a video from 2012 that explains how the FLEX 3401 works...





FLEX 3401 will turn and churn any pad or product
Both FLEX and RUPES make great tools but the FLEX 3401 will work with just about any pad and any compound, polish or cleaner/wax. (these are products that use abrasive technology). The most important thing when using a FLEX 3401 is to use quality brands that use great abrasive technology in their compounds, polishes and cleaner/waxes. Also thick pads tend to work better on any gear-driven tool. Thin pad designs are primarily for free spinning orbital polishes and there's less mass for a free spinning tool to maintain pad rotation.


RUPES is not a tool - it's a paint polishing system
RUPES engineers engineered their tools to work as a system. This means the tools, the backing plates and the buffing pads are all specifically designed to work together as a system. I came up with a test to demonstrate this fact and when I went to Norway in 2016 as the special guest of RUPES for their first European BigFoot Seminar, I shared this with Marco D'Inca the head engineer for RUPES BigFoot and I could tell by his interest and expression this was the first time he had seen this test of his tools and pads.

Here's my article on this and it's also in my RUPES how-to book on page 7


The Air Test - Using NON RUPES pads on RUPES Polishers by Mike Phillips





I even titled my RUPES book to INDICATE it is not a tool but a system.








So when people ask me


Mike,

Which is better? The FLEX or the RUPES?



My answer is,


If you're asking about which is better, the FLEX 3401 or any of the RUPES free spinning polishers, then you're comparing apples to oranges.

If you're going to go with RUPES then go all in. That means, budget for and purchase a RUPES tool, the matching pads and the matching compounds and polishes.

AFTER you become experienced and skilled with their SYSTEM - then if you want to start experimenting with other pads and products go for it. And if you run into trouble maintaining pad rotation with NON-RUPES pads or if you experience VIBRATION with NON-RUPES pads then you know how to get out of this problem. Simple - go back to RUPES pads.

If you run into trouble with NON-RUPES compounds and polishes then simple - go back to RUPES compounds and polishes.


The FLEX 3401 is a beast and it doesn't really care what pad you place on it as it's going to maintain pad rotation no matter what the shape of the body panel. But just like ANY tool for buffing paint, the MOST important factor is the abrasive technology.




Whether you want to go with FLEX or RUPES - the good news is here at Autogeek we carry both!





On Autogeek.com


FLEX Power Tools


RUPES Power Tools




And no matter which tool you go with, be sure to get a copy of my book for each tool and my recommendation is to read it from cover to cover before even removing the new polisher from its box.


How to use the Flex XC 3401 VRG Dual Action Polisher
For both Production Detailing & Show Car Detailing

How to use the RUPES BigFoot Paint Polishing System
for Production Detailing and Show Car Detailing







:dblthumb2:
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Old 15-12-2017, 05:57 PM   #2
Mike Phillips
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Here's the real deal on the topic of FLEX vs RUPES or ANY tool...


If you put the time in behind the buffer you can make any tool dance on the paint...

It's not just about the tool - it's about you.



Once you make your decision as to which tool you're going to go with, the next thing is to start spending time behind the tool. This means start buffing out cars. After you buffed out plenty of cars, that is you have hundreds of hours behind the tool of your choice, then with the right pads and products you should be able to make magic happen.


Making these two tools dance on paint...



Edging with the FLEX 3401 at one of our detailing classes


How to use the Flex 3401 to remove swirls & water spots









Buffing a tight area UP ON EDGE using a RUPES BigFoot 21

Custom Paint Job - 1980 Corvette - RUPES & Gyeon - Extreme Show Car Makeover at Autogeek


Buffing on edge with the RUPES BigFoot 21 Mark II

I cover this technique on page 64 of my RUPES how-to book.







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