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Old 01-10-2009, 10:38 PM   #1
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Kevin Brown Method

I first saw the Kevin Brown method described on another forum several months ago. He seems like a guy who has started a whole heap of hype, and then been to precious to actually describe his method in a reasonable way.

From what I can take from it he uses non-diminishing abrasive compounds, instead of diminishing abrasives. Basically, I think he must push down on the polisher with a lot of pressure, then ease off towards the end. I think he covers the whole pad in polish too, rather than just a couple of blobs that we normally use.

Does anyone know which would be the best type of polish to use for that method, or have any more information about it?

I have been waiting patiently for something to happen, but have kind of given up on the guy. Everyone on the US sites are licking the guy's ar$e thinking it's acceptable to wait for a gold engraved tablet containing the holy grail of polishing or something, but for me I'd have a lot more respect for the guy if he just helped people out and gave them a few simple instructions.

I've googled it, but just get like 40+ page forum posts that I can't be ar$ed trailing through. Anyone else got any thoughts?
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:09 PM   #2
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Does anyone know which would be the best type of polish to use for that method, or have any more information about it?
I cant confirm its the best product, but my car was machined polished back in June using the Kevin Brown meth, and the product used was Megs 205.

This is a link to mine.

Dave KG did a comprehensive write up on megs 205 for further information.

I however have no idea if the Zenith point method is different to the KB one, sorry.

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Old 02-10-2009, 03:26 AM   #3
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Where are you LOOKING for your info?!

Thanks for your interest in my paper. It is a work in progress.
There is a LOT of info out and about already... don't know if you've seen any of it so I spent about 30 minutes and gathered some to post it here for you. By the way- several guys regularly chime in when questions arise about the KBM (Kevin Brown Method). Hey- I didn't name it/them that!!!! Todd Helme (TH0001) did. He actually mentioned it first in this thread: (post #2)
Originally Posted by TH0001 View Post
1948 Lincoln Continental V12
Detail Time: 15 hours / Full Exterior Paint Correction / LSP’s / Paint: Autoglym Super Resin Polish

This is a very rare car with a very cool flat head V12. I only polished the exterior and did no other detailing. All polishing was done with Meguiars M105 on a porter cable using Kevin Brown’s methods of madness.
Here is a little bit about the random orbital process: (post #44) 07-30-2009, 11:38 PM
Quote:I was interested to see this post resurrected. Has his infamous paper ever come out?

No,not yet. I apologize for it all the time, too!
The paper is worked on nightly, sometime a few minutes, sometimes a couple of hours. But I do something with it every night. I have been stuck on three diagrams lately- not the graphics but words! For these three diagrams, I just realized I need to throw them into the Word program, place them, read the surrounding text, and then add the text in the diagrams. I certainly am no author, nor am I a graphics expert. Hopefully it will all come together in a sensible manner and be useful to those interested in the topic.

Part of the reason for its delay is because the focus of the paper has changed. It has shifted from being primarily about the application of M86 and M105 with the random orbital to how the random orbital works, and how to get the best results when using it. I have not even LOOKED at the original text in weeks! Instead, I have been adding to the beginning of the paper. The beginning is going to be graphics-heavy versus the end portion.

As for all the grease splatters, busted shafts, wheezing and whirling noises surrounding these poor little machines... I recommend that if you are experiencing these problems, you could do a few things about it. First- if you are finding all sorts of information on the forums telling you how to build a platform on your random orbital so that you can stand on it to add some "pressure", don't do it. The whole "pressure" thing has been overblown. The amount that should be used is dependent upon upon many factors. The buffing pad and buffing liquid types are certainly at the top of the list. Pad rotation is almost always mentioned when the "method" is discussed because it should be used as a gauge to help determine whether the combination you are using is working efficiently.

If you are having to press down extremely hard to notice an improvement in defect removal versus a normal amount of pressure, you need to either use a smaller diameter pad, a shorter pad, or a pad utilizing a different material. Another reason you may not be seeing a big improvement in defect removal may have to do with the machine's stroke diameter. If you are using a small stroke machine (3/32" or 3/16" is pretty small), try using a machine using a 5/16" or 3/4" orbit diameter.

FYI- The DeWalt DW443 and the Festool Rotex RO150 FEQ each have a 3/16" stroke, the Meguiar's G100/G110/G220, and the Porter Cable machines use a 5/16" stroke, while the Makita BO6040 has a 7/32" stroke diameter. The Dynabrade 61379/61384 Dual Action Buffing Head features a 3/4" stroke (talk about a random orbital on steroids!).

Here is some good info. It was posted on another site by me:

Thanks for the kind words, guys.

I have intentionally avoided posting information about this method because there are soooo many reasons this method works. I think it is best to give a few pointers now, because there is a lot of misinformation and confusion about the procedure. I do not want newbies to try this method before using what is normally recommended!! NEWBIES- this is NOT for you!!! Until the paper is released, stick with the manufacturers recommendations if at all possible (with exception to the priming part- it helps every time I've tried it).

Luster... here you go!
While an increase in pressure is necessary, it is not the only factor that should be addressed when using the "method".

Proper priming of the pad is super important!
This one step will have more positive effect on polishing performance than anything else. Well, a clean pad is equally important.

Consistent pressure across the pad is key.

The pad should be rotating at all times. More speed is a good thing when heavy defect removal is the goal. This does not mean that slow rotation will not work. However- some pads rotate well while others do not. Oftentimes, if there is insufficient removal of defects even with a substantial amount of downward pressure, a swap of the pad to one that is more aggressive or smaller in diameter will work. The guys that are using smaller diameter pads to remove heavy defects are working smart- not hard.

After all of the defects have been satisfactorily removed, final polishing should be accomplished using the softest or mildest pad available, with a couple of caveats:

The pad must be able to accept firm pressure without marring the surface. If marring of the paint occurs, do a test spot by hand using a foam or microfiber applicator pad. Check your work. If the marring has been eliminated, the pad should be inspected for damage or contamination. If the pad is clean, it is likely that it is incompatible with the paint type when paired with the particular buffing liquid being used.

There is a lot of confusion pertaining to how much product should be used when using this "method".

In general, for defect removal
First, thoroughly prime the pad as shown here:

Add buffing liquid as needed, making sure to clean the pad prior to adding more buffing liquid. To properly clean the pad, lightly brush with a soft nylon bristled brush. Next, use compressed air to remove stuck on debris, followed by a quick towel cleaning of the pad. To towel clean, hold a microfiber towel in one hand and press the pad into it while throttling the machine using the other hand for 3-5 seconds (or until the pad looks clean). For safety sake, a microfiber bonnet over a foam pad works great!

To hold the bonnet/pad combo, this type of applicator is ideal (this link takes a minute to load so be patient):

(bottom of page 7, part number JPS-60)

For final polishing, prime the finishing pad as previously discussed, and let the pad sit for a few minutes. This will allow the buffing liquid some time to permeate the pore structure of the pad. Prior to use, remove a majority of the buffing liquid utilizing the towel cleaning method previously discussed. This will eliminate clumps of abrasive material and remove excess product from the pore structure of the pad (this way no added product will make its way onto the surface of the pad). At this point, the pad face should have a very consistently applied amount of buffing liquid. Then, polish at a slow speed setting, making certain that the pad is able to rotate (it does not matter how many rotations there are, the goal is to minimize the chance of "flatspotting the pad). Add small amounts of product as needed.

If some marring persists, super-clean the pad or replace it, re-prime as mentioned, and then remove as much product as you can using compressed air and the microfiber (as discussed). There will still be some fresh and moist buffing liquid attached to the pad. Use a very slow speed setting, use constant pressure, and DO NOT lighten up at the end of the cycle. That's all.

Finally- if you do not think the effort is worth it, and swear by a rotary, no biggie! I am a rotary guy, too. This method does work and does not typically grenade machines. The "paper" is first about the random orbital, and then about the "method". If you decide to give it a go and are not seeing success, ask around, or you can always e-mail or call me! I am very easy to get a hold of, and the goal here is to help guy achieve better paint polishing results. Thanks!

Here are some diagrams which will be used in the paper: (post #9):

Same thread, post #51:

As some of you know (especially if you have chimed in on this thread!), I have been working on an in-depth paper about the random orbital. Like many of you, I check out several detailing sites. Occasionally, I stumble upon a question pertaining to the durability of the "clutch system" used in the random orbital. This is a seemingly reasonable concern, as most paint polishing enthusiasts do not typically worry about how the machine does what it does- they just want it to work well and work for a long time!

So, I thought I would post up some diagrams which I plan on using in the "paper". Now- for those of you that are wondering about the clutch system.... don't, because... There are no clutches in the random orbital.

Here are four diagrams that will hopefully help you understand how the movement is created:

And if these diagrams do not help you better understand the random orbital... then I am in a HEAP o' trouble!

About reverse rotation and how it occurs: (post #8)

I have sold hundreds of the Meguiar's G100 versions of these machines. They have an extremely good track record. The most abuse they seem to encounter is in the electrical cord (guys seem to bend them all sorts of ways). As for the mechanical quality, they certainly are durable as anything out there.

It actually takes almost no pressure to do this.
I can easily cause the pad to spin backwards with any speed setting, and the lightest touch imaginable. All it takes is a concentration of the machine movement, overall weight, and applied pressure to a small area.

To put it another way, if there is enough friction present to stop the random rotation of the attached buffing pad or sandpaper disc, then the eccentric orbit takes over. I have already covered this in the "paper". Here are the diagrams that will be used:

I hope these make sense.

More on the way...!

Last edited by Kevin Brown; 02-10-2009 at 04:03 AM.
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Old 02-10-2009, 03:46 AM   #4
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About the rotary method (not much to it..!) (good read throughout, procedure on post #16)

Since you've already got the M105 and the wool pad (plus plenty of others)...

Go ahead and try this:

1. Prime the pad THOROUGHLY.
Rub it in with your hand. It'll take a bit more than you're used to applying.

2. Apply a bead of M105 to the surface, pull it in, and polish at low speed (1000 rpm).
Try 2-3 passes, or until the M105 is just starting to dry.

3. Using a fine mist, spray the surface with water.
Do not add additional product- Just re-polish with what's already in the pad.

I think you'll see a 50% improvement in the cut, but you'll probably see an increase in swirling (it can be easily removed).

After trying this method (count it as one cycle), spur the wool pad (blow it clean with compressed air if you have it).

I won't PROMISE a better result, but I am pretty sure you're going to GET a better result.

A bit more about the rotary method (mostly about priming is all): (post #54 and #55)

Glad to give an opinion... thanks for contacting me weekendwarrior.

A quick call to Jason Rose of Meguiar's verified some thoughts I had about PRC. It was primarily designed to remove light to moderate defects with a rotary polisher. It had to leave the surface in very good condition while providing protection. It had to have a long application cycle but not sling, stick to the surface, or create lots of dust. It had to be easy to wipe away and not leave a white haze on textured plastics. If the shop using the product wanted to do a one-step application, it had to leave the paint looking pretty good once the protection went away. Finally, if a shop wanted to do a follow-up application with PRC, it had to further polish the surface, leaving no micro marring. A lot to consider, but overall, it seems that D151 comes pretty close to hitting the mark.

Now, just because Jason and the R&D team tailored this product for a specific type of detailing doesn't mean we shouldn't expect even more out of PRC, right?

I have some experience using D151 Paint Reconditioning Cream (PRC) but it's not my 'go-to' liquid. Therefore, I don't have the depth of knowledge that comes from using a product on a regular basis. However- I've used it a few times and I did test PRC prior to its release. I've found that increased downforce delivers impressive results. For defect removal I tend to use lower rpm and increased downforce when polishing with a rotary. The exception to this rule is when I'm using a compound to cut paint immediately after wet-sanding. To aid in leveling the paint, I run the rotary at around 1,800 prm and then back it down to 1,000-1,200 rpm to finish. Of course settings vary from car to car, but this is the norm for me.

When removing defects with the random-orbital, I use high OPM and a LOT of downforce. For final polishing, I drop the speed and continue to use a LOT of downforce (not as much as the defect-removal step, but quite a bit). I know that this is not the way things are normally done, but the most recent Meguiar's products to hit the market are using very different technologies (as compared to the older traditional style compounds and polishes). In the case of Meguiar's products, this technique has worked well for me with M86, M105, and D151.

I specifically asked about use of this product with Lake Country's Foamed Wool Pad (FWP). As I've only used the FWP a very limited amount, I cannot claim to know all of its idiosyncrasies. So- I just used it, and it seems to be a very capable pad.

I did a quick but thorough test on the fender of my 1994 Mazda pickup (original paint). I hardly ever polish or wax the thing- I just drive the wheels off it and wash it every couple weeks. Many times, I just hit it with de-ionized water and wipe it with a cotton towel (if there's time).

I took some pics- I know they're not the best, and the lighting is not ideal. The main thing is- I was able to easily remove moderate defects and leave the paint looking pretty good. Here we go:

Not great shots, but the fender is covered with light defects, and a few moderate scratches. I scuffed each side with Abralon 2000 and water.

Left side, shows paint as-is and the Abralon scuffing.

Right side, shows paint as-is and the Abralon scuffing.

Rotary, foamed wool, D151 PRC.

Prime the pad. Rub the PRC in by hand.

Have to add more... still some dry areas.

I think I use a bit more product to prime the pad than most guys. It's like priming a lawnmower that's run out of gas- pour some gas in the throat of the carb, pull the string until it starts. Whatever gas it doesn't use, it spits out the exhaust! Same thing with a pad prime- what the pad doesn't use for priming will sling off the pad... I'm just kidding a bit here, but there was actually very little sling (if any).

I think this is one area that is overlooked as not so important. Well, it is very important, and really makes a difference to overall performance.

Apply a bead and buff. Left side: Lake Country Purple Foamed Wool Pad / 1,800 rpm / application time- 62 seconds.

Wipe clean, stripped 3x with Meguiar's Detailer Glass Cleaner (5:1 dilution)

Close-up shots.

Meguiar's W5000 Double-Sided Wool Cutting Pad. It's listed as an 8-inch pad, but edge-to-edge it's more like 10 inches. I guessed that I'd be using the pad effectively to the 8-inch diameter point.

Lake Country Purple Foamed Wool Pad. Looks like it's almost 8 inches (Lake Country's site shows a 7 or 7-1/2 inch pad. I guessed that I'd be using the pad effectively to the 6-inch diameter point.

Prime the pad. Rub the PRC in by hand.

Have to add more... still some dry areas.

A proper prime-job. This is a much bigger pad than the PFW pad.

At this point I wanted to adjusted my polishing speed. To be fair, I figured that I should drop my speed when using the larger diameter W5000 pad. This was to adjust the velocity of the pad closer to the velocity of the PFW pad.

I used the PFW pad at 1,800 rpm. Usable area was estimated to be 6 inches. Using this formula:

RPM * C = V
RPM = Revolutions per minute
C = circumference <- Notice this is 2*π*r
V = velocity

I came up with: 1,800 (rpm) x 18.84 (6 x 3.14) (6" diameter times pi) = 33,912.

So, using the same formula, and a problem of: X(unknown rpm) x 25.12 (8 x 3.14) (8" diameter times pi) = 33,912 (same as the total of the PFW pad). Then, 33,912 / 25.12 = 1,350 rpm. My buffer had a speed-setting of 1,400 rpm available, so I used it. The velocity wasn't exactly the same, but close enough considering I was only guessing the diameter of the pad actually being used.

Forgot to show the bead of product applied, but it was a little more than the PFW side because the area being polished was a bit larger (needed the space for the larger pad).

Wiped clean, stripped 3x with Meguiar's Detailer Glass Cleaner (5:1 dilution). Sun shot of the PFW side. Noticeable swirl, but not quite as bad as it looks in the pics... Some of the 'swirl' is light refraction.

Sun shot of the W5000 side, stripped 3x with glass cleaner. Noticeable swirl, and it's obvious that the swirling is worse on this side.

Shot of the left, masked, and right. Swirls are noticeable, but pretty fine.

Time to fire up the random-orbital. I'm going to use a Meguiar's W8207 SoftBuff 2.0 Foam Polishing Pad.

Prime the pad. Rub the PRC in with your hands.

More PRC to polish with.

I polished the entire area (working time approximately 1 minute). Residue shot.

Wiped clean, stripped 3x with Meguiar's Detailer Glass Cleaner (5:1 dilution).

I felt that I could get a better polishing result. So, I used a specially-sized Lake Country pad that my friend ZoranC had built for his personal use. ZoranC readily admits that the foam and sizing is nothing new, but not all levels of aggressiveness were available in this diameter and thickness. So, he ordered them up! He's actually got six foam variations. I like them (so far I've only used three of the six). I think he had to order more than he can actually use, so maybe he would sell some if the demand was there.

I primed the pad, and worked the entire area again. Working time was approximately one minute.
Picture shows a stripped surface, wiped clean, stripped 3x with Meguiar's Detailer Glass Cleaner (5:1 dilution).

Now, I know that I've basically done a three-step polishing job. But!- I could really bear down on this pad, comfortably. Looking back on it, I should have heeded my own advice and PUSHED a lot harder when using the W8207 pad. The main point of the final application was to show how well the PRC performed. Impressive defect removal and a pretty darn good finish. I used a variety of machines and pads- You can choose how you wish to apply PRC. The best advice I can give is super-prime the pad, and increase downward pressure when polishing. Hope this helps.

Originally Posted by weekendwarrior View Post
Kevin - how does the cutting ability and finish when using say an 8006 pad on the rotary compare to what you got with the Purple Foamed Wool? Any certain RPM range, or work time work best for the 8006 pad?
I don't see anywhere near the cutting power going from any string-style pad (wool, foamed wool, twisted, tufted, etc) to foam.

When removing defects with foam, I drop the speed to the 1,000-1,200 rpm range (to minimize a rapid increase in temperature due to pad velocity). Then, I increase applied downforce. This heats the paint more than light pressure, but it helps the pad to better remove the defect. Otherwise, the pad will not 'force' the abrasive onto the paint surface. The additional pressure better contours the pad to the surface, too. Think in terms of how a backing supports a piece of wet-sanding paper, helping the paper (and abrasive) better contour to the surface.

Remember- PRC uses a very refined abrasive particle, and it contains a very slippery lubrication and polymer (for protection).
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Old 02-10-2009, 03:48 AM   #5
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About the random orbital paired with the Surbuf:

Using the Surbuf Pad with a random-orbital for defect removal

No pictures of the procedure here.
I find it hard to capture the nuances of a surface properly leveled with a rotary compared to a surface leveled with this method.
Hopefully, one of the forum members will try this method and post some high quality shots of the process.

There are a few combinations that work well when using the random-orbital polisher to level paint. This particular combination uses products that are readily available. I am not suggesting that paint-polishing beginners attempt to wet sand their paint jobs and then polish away the scratches using this system! In fact, only those proficient with the use of a rotary buffer should attempt to use this method. This ensures that any remaining defects can easily be removed, should the listed procedure not work well with the vehicle’s paint type.

Here is the list of products I use for this particular system:

Meguiar’s G110 Random-Orbital Polisher
Meguiar’s M105 Ultra Cut Compound
Meguiar’s Last Touch Detail Spray
Surbuf R Series Microfingers 6.5” pad
Meguiar’s W9006 SoftBuff Finishing Pad

This is not a one-step system, so plan on changing pads and possibly buffing liquid to remove any remaining defects. Since my best results have been achieved when using M105 as the buffing liquid, I recommend that you also use M105. This way, if some guidance or opinions are desired, it will be much easier to troubleshoot unsatisfactory or inconsistent results. There are a lot of highly skilled paint polishers that are members of this forum (and have already used M105), so their experience can also benefit us, should attempts to use this system deliver less than satisfactory results.

The Surbuf R Series Pad, and how I think it works most effectively

A quick read of the comments posted on this forum about the Surbuf pad reveals varied opinions pertaining to overall pad performance. This is understandable, because the type of paint being polished, the choice of buffing liquid, the polishing procedure, and the pressure placed upon the pad can really affect defect removal and polishing results. While this is true with all other pads, the difference in performance when using the Surbuf pad can be dramatic.

One of the biggest complaints about the pad pertained to the fact that the microfingers would fall off the pad and lie upon the paint surface. Normally, this would be a huge problem. In the case of foam pads, a piece of contamination this size placed between the pad and paint surface would likely create some rather deep scratches. Since stray microfingers will not cause a problem with this particular paint leveling procedure, it is not critical to remove loose fibers from the paint surface during the leveling process.
The instruction sheet included with the pad recommends vacuuming the Surbuf pad prior to use. Vacuuming, a quick brush of the pad, or a burst of compressed air aimed at the microfingers will be sufficient for pad preparation.

The Surbuf’s microfingers are attached to a foam pad, set in a vertical position. The literature claims that the microfingers are non-tufted. I suppose this means that the tiny fibers are not plugged into the pads in groups, nor are they long strands of material that have been woven through a backing. This is probably done to keep the fibers completely vertical to the foam portion of the pad, so that the fingers can effectively reach peaks and valleys when used for woodworking tasks. For more information about the pad design, check out their website at Welcome to

Individually, the microfingers are thin, pliable, and bend rather easily. However, unlike wool or cotton, the microfingers do not collapse, compress, or squish into a pile. Instead, the fingers maintain their strand-shaped structure. Since they are made of a durable material, the microfingers do not break into smaller pieces as they are used.

When polishing paint with any type of pad, the face of the pad should be designed to efficiently use its surface area. In other words, if a foam pad has lines, squares, circles, or dimples cut out of (or pressed into) the pad face, less actual pad material contacts the paint surface. Certainly then, we hope these areas, devoid of foam, were designed to increase buffing performance or comfort of use, as they unfortunately decrease the amount of surface area in contact with the paint.

Another design parameter that determines how much surface area actually contacts the paint when using foam pads is the amount of pores per inch it features (commonly referred to as ppi). More pores, larger pores, thinner walls between the pores, or how stiff the walls are all affect how much foam contacts the paint during the buffing process.

In the case of the Surbuf pad, not a lot of surface area touches the paint when the pad is set upon it. As the downward pressure applied to the pad is increased, the microfingers start to bend, and the surface area of a finger contacting the paint increases. Ideally, we want as much of each individual microfinger to contact the paint as possible. Therefore, the fingers must be somewhat horizontal to the paint surface. If too much pressure is placed upon the pad, the microfingers bend so much that the tips of the fingers start to curl upwards towards the foam portion of the pad (like a fish hook, or the capital letter J). This happens because the fingers start to lie upon each other, tightly compressed and randomly bent. If even more pressure is added in an attempt to create a flatter pad surface, the fingers will intertwine with each other, and create an uneven surface that could easily scratch or scour the paint (think of the structure of a Scotch-Brite pad, and you will better understand the net effect of too much pressure). In addition, the fingers become packed with buffing liquid, and start sticking to the foam part of the pad. To ensure satisfactory defect removal, the buffing liquid should remain on the paint surface, and lightly coat the microfingers with its abrasive material.

To verify this theory, I placed a Surbuf pad on a table with the fingers facing up. Then, a 12” x 12” piece of glass was set upon the fingers. As I pressed against the glass, I could see how the microfingers reacted to varied pressures. My suspicions were confirmed. For best results, I wanted the fingers to bend, but not so much that they curled or compressed.

On to the leveling procedure!

Professional users of the random-orbital seem to be pairing their machines with smaller pads more frequently. For general paint polishing, I also prefer pads that are 5” to 6.5” in diameter, and thinner in overall height, rather than thicker. While there are some benefits to using larger and thicker pads, most of the time I use smaller pads for defect removal (as small as three inches in diameter).

With this in mind, I attached my 5” Surbuf pad to a Meguiar’s W67DA backing plate (approximately 4.75” diameter). As I used this pad and backing plate combination, best leveling results were realized when the machine was adjusted to the highest speed setting (6,700 opm). The more I used the pad, the more I found myself lifting up on the machine to minimize downward pressure.

To eliminate this necessity, I switched to a 6.5” diameter pad and a bigger backing plate. The increased surface of the pad would better distribute the downward applied pressure created by the weight of the machine. Of course, the amount of microfingers working to level the paint was substantially increased (approximately 68%). This combination worked great; the fingers bent enough to really level the paint quickly, but left a bit of wiggle room so that if needed, I could tilt the machine now and then to better focus the downward applied pressure. A huge benefit of the Surbuf’s unique design is airflow. Since the design of the pad allows plenty of fresh air to circulate between the fingers and across the paint surface, things stay pretty darned cool, even during heavy cutting.

To help keep the M105 buffing liquid where the work needed to be done, I kept the paint surface wet. A trigger bottle filled with a 50/50 mixture of Meguiar’s Last Touch Detail Spray and water was used to occasionally mist the paint surface. This bit of added moisture would wet the microfingers as they rubbed across the paint, loosening a majority of the abrasive from the fibers. The inertia created by the machine would help to return the abrasive to the paint surface. While the abrasive was devoid of the buffing liquid’s built-in lubrication due to evaporation caused by friction, the addition of Last Touch helped to keep the paint slippery.

The addition of Last Touch may decrease cutting ability a little, but it may actually increase leveling. Since less friction is created because lubrication is increased, the random-rotation of the pad increases. In my experience, this means that the rotational speed can jump as much as 100% at the point where the buffing liquid’s lubrication evaporates. I have seen my G110 rotate the pad very quickly; my best guess puts pad rotation at eight to ten turns per second, or 480-600 rpm. Anyone that has used the Flex 3401VRG knows the effect this kind of speed has on defect removal.

So, if our pad rotational speed increases but there is a notable drop in friction, how can the pad actually level paint to a more accurate degree? My best guess is this: as an individual fiber comes into contact with a high point on the paint surface (such as the top point of a sanding scratch), it will have less time to adjust positioning once it hits the point. This means that the fiber will remain in the same position longer, so it will cut through the edge of the first point, and only change direction via deflection a small amount before hitting the next point, and on and on.

Whether this is true or not does not really matter. What does matter is how well this combination works. The pads are relatively inexpensive, and last a reasonably long time. Since the fingers are applying a rather durable and hard abrasive material, I realize that the fingers will wear out quickly compared to using them with a non-abrasive polishing liquid (or a liquid that does not contain such hard abrasive particles). But hey- if this combination can create a very level surface using a random-orbital… it is a small price to pay.

Once the paint has been leveled and all random defects have been eliminated, a final polishing will more than likely be required. Although the Surbuf pad levels paint quite well, it does seem to leave behind a small amount of curly-que scratches. While these marks are usually very fine, they are obvious. To remove them, change the pad to a traditional style foam finishing pad, and use a final polish as you normally would. If you are a skilled user of the random-orbital polisher, very little distortion of the ultra-leveled surface should occur (if any).

I hope I have explained this process in an easy to understand manner.
Good luck, and be patient when traveling through the learning curves!

Close-up pictures of the Surbuf Pad

I took some pics with a little 150x magnification USB camera.
I wanted to show what the Surbuf microfingers look like when they are flattened a bit.
For reference, I also took a shot of a Meguiar's W8006 SoftBuff Polishing Pad, a Meguiar's M9910 Ultimate Wipe, and a Mirka Abralon disc.

Funny thing is, my $12 Radio Shack magnifier with a built-in light works way better!
I can't figure out how to capture the shot with it, though.
With it, I can tell if a sanding disc is a coarse or fine grit, and even if it is worn out!

In the pictures, the pointer is the lead tip of a Pentel .5mm pencil:

Shot of the Meguiar's W8006 SoftBuff Polishing Pad:

Shot of the Surbuf R Series Pad:

Shot of a Meguiar's M9910 Ultimate Wipe (used and washed several times):

Mirka Abralon 4000 grit Sanding Disc:

It is interesting to see the structure of the foam pad... Easy to see why we lose so much cut!
Not a lot of surface area to force the particles into the paint as they're being moved about.
This is why pressure changes make such a difference in cut with any foam pad.

Chris Dasher aka PorscheGuy997's post:

I have been messing around with DA wetsanding and using the Surbuf on the DA for a few weeks now.
In the past, I have never tried removing wetsanding marks with the DA. The rotary does such a good job that I never tried it.
But, I did take the suggestions from Kevin and gave the Surbuf pads a try.

The Surbuf pads are very different from the foam pads we normally use.

Because these pads are so different, they can remove defects that are simply unheard of.

Here's an example:

I DA sanded this scrap hood using a Mirka Abranet Soft 1500 disk.

Using a 5.5" Surbuf pad and the original formula M105 on the DA, I was able to remove the 1500 grit marks.
Although there is some deep etching, you can clearly see that the marks have been removed.

The finish left by the Surbuf pad and M105 is a little hazed, but it can easily corrected with PO106FA or M205 on a polishing pad.
So yes, a DA (with the right combination) can remove serious defects.

Notes about the Surbuf pad:
  • The amount of product is absolutely critical.
    If you apply too much product, it will not remove many defects.
    I found that it was best to prime the pad with product and then polish the area.
    If you find that there is too much product on the surface, wipe it off the area and then continue polishing without adding more product.
  • The amount of pressure used can also very important.
  • Follow Kevin's guidelines and you should be fine.
  • Surbuf offers many different sizes of pads.
    The 5.5" pads were perfect for my use, but you can choose whatever size you like.

The latest testing has revealed that a 7" pad is a very good choice.
It delivers high rotation speed, serious defect removal, and user comfort.
The large size distributes added downward pressure nicely (should the user have a desire to bear down on a particularly stubborn defect).

Use caution!

A word of caution:
On fresh paint (or paint containing flex agent), there is enough applied force with this method that the paint could 'twist'.

Paint twisting occurs when the heat and friction created by the machine, pad, buffing liquid, and applied pressure combine to alter the bond between the paint, primer, or substrate it is attached to.

What does this mean?
Well, the result of paint twist resembles the sidewall of a drag slick leaving the line. I do not have a picture to show paint twist, because it is rather rare. Maybe the next time I work on a freshly painted test panel I can try to make a twist mark.

Normally, it takes a pretty aggressive combination to twist paint.
A rotary buffer and a wool pad (or a dense foam pad) teamed with a decent amount of pressure could do it. Buffing liquids containing strong solvents increase the risk of it, too. About ten years ago I twisted a small area of paint on a bumper cladding, but I was able to sand and polish the area, repairing the damage.

In an extreme case of paint twist... the paint can actually be torn off the panel! It is rare, but I have seen it happen. A few years ago I had spent about 50 hours sanding and polishing a paint job. Someone else decided to 'touch-up' buff an small area and within a few seconds managed to twist a quarter-size piece of paint right off.

So, as with most things, proceeding with caution and common sense is an asset. End.
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Old 02-10-2009, 04:50 AM   #6
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This is a very cool write-up by akimel on MOL, and a debate as to the "tool abuse" required to do the "KBM":

Specific information about the random orbital "method" (post #9)

Originally Posted by rusty bumper View Post
How much pressure are we referring to with the KB method...15 to 20lbs.? I've been using about that much pressure on my PC for 10 years now, and it's still running OK from what I can tell.

Interesting writeup.
An interesting question, and one that is not simple to answer.

Before we discuss specifics, it is important to understand that an increase in downward applied pressure is often required when buffing pads are being used versus a sanding disc.

A typical sanding disc utilizes a flat, hard, and pliable material as a backing, and the abrasive grains are glued or laminated to it. These are typically referred to as film backed discs. An abundance of pressure is not needed (nor desired) when sanding wood or paint because the abrasive grains are already positioned tightly against each other, and the grains are resting on the same plane. It is therefore relatively easy to level the material being work on. Adding excess pressure knocks the abrasive grains loose, shortening the life of the paper. The loosened grains are often trapped between the disc and sanded surface, forcing the grains into the softest material (usually the wood or paint- ouch!).

Another type of sanding disc uses a thin foam interface between the attachment material and the abrasive side of the disc. These are typically referred to as foam backed discs. Often, the abrasive grains are attached to a very flexible or soft material. The soft interface and very pliable material allow the face of the disc to easily contour to the surface being sanded. Generally, no added pressure is needed for sanding with this type of disc for the same reasons previously listed. Should the user desire a bit more leveling capability, downward pressure could be increased to compress the foam. Once the foam has fully compressed, the abrasive grains will be forced into the paint. Usually, if extra leveling of the surface is desired, it is best to find a suitable film backed disc.

If added contouring capability is needed, a foam interface pad can be inserted between the sanding disc and backing plate. The film backed disc will still cut the sanded material more level than a foam backed disc because the grains are attached to a material that will not allow the grains to "push" into the material they are attached to.

Regardless the type of disc being used, one way to increase leveling capability is to use a larger stroke machine, or dramatically increase the oscillation speed. There is too much specific information about this topic, so you will have to take my word on this for the time being (this topic is discussed at length in my "paper").

Now, let us delve into the dynamics of the buffing pad!
The first thing to consider is that when we use a buffing pad, we are dealing with a LOT thicker foam material than the foam backed discs typically use, even with an interface pad placed between the backing plate and disc. The next thing to consider is that the abrasive grains are NOT permanently attached to the foam. Certainly, some of the grains attach, some roll about between the foam and the sanded surface, and other grains attach to the foam and then release. Finally, it must be understood that the abrasive grains are not evenly distributed. Some areas of the pad may have NO abrasive material attached to it, while other areas may have grains stacked upon other grains. The unevenly distributed material can sometimes cause microfine marring (or hazing) of the paint surface.

To minimize the possibility of hazing, the pad should be properly primed with the buffing liquid, and firm and even pressure should be applied to the machine. FIRM does not mean FORCED! Firm simply means that the pad needs to have an even distribution of pressure applied to it. This accomplishes several things. First, the abrasive grains will cut consistently and evenly when they are contacting the paint surface level to each other. Picture this: If we were hand sanding, we would try our best to keep our hand backing pad level to the paint surface so that the paper could evenly abrade the paint surface, right? Firm pressure across the pad achieves this. Secondly, we want the abrasive grains to attach themselves to the foam. Certainly, we do not desire all of the grains to be attached because the loose and rolling grains serve a purpose, too. Primarily, their movements mimic rolling little spheres (think of ball bearings). This movement helps the pad to glide along, and as the grains roll about, they contact the grains that are attached to the pad, knocking them loose, and allowing them to possibly reattach to a different area of the pad, and in a different position.

The original question was "How much pressure?!"
Again, not so easy to generalize! If a short stroke machine is being used in conjunction with a tall or very soft buffing pad, then the buffing pad will likely cushion or negate a majority of the machine's oscillating movement. In this scenario, a LOT of pressure would be needed simply to deliver the machine's movements (this has NOTHING to do with any particular polishing procedure).

These could be considered popular short stroke machines:
3/32" diameter orbit- Metabo SXE400 or several air powered units,
3/16" diameter orbit- DeWalt DW443, Festool Rotex RO150 FEQ, or the Griot's Garage RO (original machine),
7/32" diameter orbit- Makita BO6040

If a long stroke machine is being used in tandem with a short or stiff pad, there may be no need to ADD extra pressure to the machine. The Dynabrade 61379/61384 Dual Action Buffing Head features a 3/4" diameter stroke, which is huge.

Most random orbital guys are using machines featuring a 5/16" diameter orbit. So, imagine the possible combinations!

Machines utilizing a 5/16" orbit are:
Meguiar's G100, G110, G220,
Porter Cable 7424, 7335, 7336, 7424XP
Griot's Garage (new machine)

By now, I hope it is clear why blurting a generalized "amount of pressure" is not so wise.
We have not even discussed the effects of pad diameter, but most guys know that a small diameter pad will deliver more pressure per square inch than a large diameter pad of a similar type.

I will say that if a large amount of pressure is going to be applied, it should be done in very short bursts only.
If enough pressure is being applied to stall the rotation of the machine, try using a different pad, a higher speed setting, a larger-stroke random orbital machine, a forced rotation machine, or a rotary machine (in that order).
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:52 AM   #7
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Wow quick reply Kevin, and lots of info'. I've just got home from night shift, too tired to read now but I'll have a browse later when I get up. Subscribed to this thread as well for updates.
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:08 AM   #8
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I hope that you find the info informative and not too confusing.

There certainly has been a lot of "hype" about the "gold engraved tablet containing the holy grail of polishing"... but I can assure you I didn't create it!

No- I am just a detail-guy like so many of you.

I am working on the paper as much as I can, but it flat takes a lot of time. It's not like I stop on page 26, and then continue on to page 27... I seem to tangent easily from one subject to another, work on a diagram, revisit a page here and there. Gets to be a mess at times, if you must know the truth.

Besides- there is so much info out there regarding the various "methods" already. My focus has shifted to writing in fine detail about the random orbital polisher. The bottom line is that there is no magic bullet being written about. I am writing a paper about the random orbital... pretty boring unless you are in to this sort of thing.
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:47 AM   #9
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Now that's something that's going to keep me busy all day

Thanks Kevin!
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:58 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by toni View Post
Now that's something that's going to keep me busy all day

Thanks Kevin!
I know the feeling...
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