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Old 11-08-2015, 07:52 PM   #1
matt-rudd
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Paint thickness gauge DT-156 review, opinion and comments

After hmm'ing and ahh'ing about a paint thickness gauge I have finally bitten the bullet and purchased one.

I've been struggling to find an in depth review regarding the one I've bought which is the CEM DT-156.

After attending waxstock and having little prep time I only lightly polished my car with a finishing pad and Meguiars 205 swirl removing polish but there was and still is some deep marks within my paintwork. It isn't worth the risk to keep polishing the car without taking readings and without spending over £150 on a paint depth gauge I've spent half on that on mine. It took 3 days to arrive which wasn't very long but with me being impatient it felt like a very long time.



As you can see it comes complete with all relevant information, both a manual and a CD which you can load the software onto your pc and download all the information stored within the PDG. As you take readings it automatically stores them within it and gives you a live average reading and reading count which is very useful while taking many readings on a certain panel or for an average over a whole car.

Again with my impatience I had to test it out on the closest thing, my toolbox!



So how good is it?

Firstly the LCD Backlit display is great and I'm sure it will have its uses on either a sunny day or dull day as it can be switched on/off as required.

While sat at home twiddling my..fingers it was worth a try! I zero'd the device using the metal shims provided which was very simple to do with the press of a button while holding it on the shim. Afterwards I tried it on the iron shim with a calibration piece (101um) and to a pleasant surprise it was correct.



Was it just chance, I asked myself so went on to try all the other calibration pieces as the photos show the gauge is very accurate and gives me great confidence to believe it while using it on my car.









Next it was on to the aluminium shim which is also supplied with the PDG using it with the same calibration pieces and it automatically changed the settings as you can see in the top right from Fe to NFe which saves trawling through settings and getting lost. As the photos show it is very accurate again which gives me confidence to use it on my car and others too.











As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Without buying or trying a paint depth gauge which is twice as much as what I paid for this I couldn't see how it would warrant paying much more for the results I've received today. I gave it a quick go on my car just out of curiosity which wasn't a bad reading!



Without getting too deep into it I could now download the results from the device to the PC and store/review them.

For a piece of vital equipment less than £80 I would encourage anyone who is going to be using a machine polisher to purchase this which could save a lot of money on a respray or highlight a possible respray on a future purchase of a car.

Any questions I will try my best to answer!

Last edited by matt-rudd; 11-08-2015 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 11-08-2015, 08:37 PM   #2
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That looks a decent piece of kit for a good price Matt.

I bought the Paint Detective PD8 gauge years ago, and its been a great help, not only seeing where body shop work has occurred, but where paint removal has happened already.

Its paid for itself in stopping costly mistakes.

I did my friends X5 which had 1200um of paint on the rear wing.
My other friends Range Rover which had some strike through on the front wing

And I'm halfway through correcting the mrs's black MINI.
If anyone has a R56 variant MINI, and a paint thickness gauge, they know what I mean

100um paint thickness on most panels, down to 80um in places.

Although, from experience, and as was the case on the MINI, correction only resulted in the removal of an average of 2um paint thickness.

I won't want to be machining it any more to be honest
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Old 11-08-2015, 08:47 PM   #3
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It'll be interesting to see how affective different pads and compounds work together giving greater accuracy with the correct and maintenance on my own car knowing how much I can or can't remove with passes. Will have more of a play with it on a weekend and get to know the thicknesses on my car. Knowing it hasn't had a respray as buying it from new is a bonus but you never know with vauxhalls paint where it can or can't be thick/thin!

Also on the family's cars will be a good test to try their paints out, may even keep it in my pocket for when I go to the supermarkets just for curiosity!

It's good to hear that it had already paid for its self saving a respray or a purchase of a complete write off!
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Old 11-08-2015, 08:50 PM   #4
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Looks a good piece of kit. I wouldn't be without my Paint Detective PD8.
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Old 11-08-2015, 08:59 PM   #5
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I have some plastic panels on my car as well as metal...would this read on both surfaces?
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Old 11-08-2015, 09:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ljh1991 View Post
I have some plastic panels on my car as well as metal...would this read on both surfaces?

I briefly tried it on my rear bumper which is plastic and the answer to that is no, it didn't give a reading from it. Will try again on the weekend and hopefully report back
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Old 11-08-2015, 09:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ljh1991 View Post
I have some plastic panels on my car as well as metal...would this read on both surfaces?

Doubt it, big money for kit to do that.
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Old 11-08-2015, 09:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDC250 View Post
Doubt it, big money for kit to do that.
So with many cars now having plastic pannels, a bit of kit like the OP posted isn't really of much use if you want to know the FULL condition of your paint?
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Old 11-08-2015, 09:12 PM   #9
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Paint thickness gauge DT-156 review, opinion and comments

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ljh1991 View Post
So with many cars now having plastic pannels, a bit of kit like the OP posted isn't really of much use if you want to know the FULL condition of your paint?

Not for the full condition then in this case, no. But for 2 out of around 12 panels it will give a good indication. If you did want to it's a little jump from £78 for a metal only gauge to around £1500+ for a metal and plastic one. I know it's not always the case but on an average on a car (if it hasn't been written off for certain) you can work out what the plastics should be but be very careful as to what you take off.

Last edited by matt-rudd; 11-08-2015 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 11-08-2015, 09:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by matt-rudd View Post
Not for the full condition then in this case, no. But for 2 out of around 12 panels it will give a good indication. If you did want to it's a little jump from £78 for a metal only gauge to around £1500+ for a metal and plastic one. I know it's not always the case but on an average on a car (if it hasn't been written off for certain) you can work out what the plastics should be but be very careful as to what you take off.
Thanks for the response. How can you work out the plastic panels?
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