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Old 22-10-2009, 06:14 AM   #21
Kevin Brown
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Originally Posted by Baker21 View Post
Thanks for the info on this, I have been following this with great interest along with some guideance from gmblack3.......
You are a lucky one to deal with Bryan Burnworth aka gmblack3. He is very knowledgable.

Originally Posted by the_knight View Post
Cheers Kevin, Thanks for taking the time to post up... Im going to get a cup of tea and read
Oh, good. I am happy to hear you will take the time! My apologies for not putting things in a tidy format.
I just wanted to show the original poster that there is a lot of information out and about. He was right, in that, trying to find KBM info is daunting.
However- the tone of the post was a bit off-putting, as I have tried to post as much information as I can (given the amount of time it can take).
Every time I post online, it is time I could/should be working on my paper!

Originally Posted by Dave KG View Post
The KB method - hugely interesting (from my perspective at least), as it is something that actually represents an advancement in thought, a development to yield better results that isn't just a spin of marketing with some uber new this, or fancy new that...

... It is superb to see polishing methodologies being opened up in such a way, and folk taking the time to truly analyse (properly) what they are doing and why they are doing it, and the posts above by Kevin Brown go a long way to highlighting the real intricacies of machine polishing and what serious knowledge and the willingness to research your method can achieve...

... Keep it up, KB Posts like this are a refreshing breath of fresh air in amongst a lot of marketing rubbish I read a lot of these days...
Dave, most of us know that you are one of the best at writing how-to articles. Your comments mean a lot to me- Thanks!

Now... if the very small yet important physics portion of the paper passes the Dave test, I will be somewhat relieved. Physics is tough stuff, but very interesting.

Originally Posted by Wardy View Post
Baker directed me to this thread, so thanks for that

Certainly a lot to take in there, and lots to think about. Thanks for taking the time to post all of that up!
You are welcome.
Detailing World is SO huge- I cannot believe how many new threads come and go here!

Originally Posted by Viper View Post
I've only just found this thread, Kevin (other duties on here keep me from idly browsing around ), but I have to say a huge thanks for your input here so far, and like Dave said, it's so refreshing to have new avenues opened up and ways of working, as for me personally, and I know many others sometimes feel like this, detailing can get a little 'stale' and stuck in a rut.

I'll be revisiting this thread again for a proper read when I've got a little more time to devote to absorbing the info
I hope you like it all. Thank you.
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Old 23-10-2009, 06:35 AM   #22
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Very interesting. Would be nice if somebody could create a video of how to perform the technique properly for better results. I think it would be easier to understand it by watching a video.
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Old 23-10-2009, 07:33 AM   #23
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Subscribed, cant wait for the finished product.
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Old 29-10-2009, 08:40 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by WyattEarp View Post
Very interesting. Would be nice if somebody could create a video of how to perform the technique properly for better results. I think it would be easier to understand it by watching a video.
Not a bad idea. It'll be a while before filming begins due to time constraints. Plus- I want to get this paper finished first!

Once the info contained in the paper is contemplated, I think there may be no need to show how to use the random orbital in the manner that I do. Most of the procedure is simply guided by adjusting the machine set-up to get the desired results. So, by running through a mental checklist and adjusting the pad (size and type), speed, pressure, and the amount of buffing liquid being applied, the cycle is then determined. After that, it is just a matter of time!

Isn't this what most of us do anyway?

My hope is that the information contained in the "paper" will help newbies in a big way (to get past the dreaded "learning curve").
If some of the pro's happen to garner a thing or two from the information...

That would make me very happy!
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Old 15-11-2009, 08:26 PM   #25
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I will try to keep things updated here is additional information gets posted elsewhere.
That being stated, here is another small thread about the "method":

In reference to this question (posted at Autogeek):
Hey guys- I've seen lots of the pros here say they use the KEVIN BROWN METHOD, just wanted to know what exactly is it???? And how does it work??

Actual info:

First off, the KBM is not for everyone because most guys are more than satisfied with how a random orbital performs as used in its traditional manner. I am good with that! Further, each buffing liquid features the manufacturers recommendations pertaining to the use of that particular product, and polishing enthusiasts should use traditional polishing methods and follow the guidelines set forth by the liquid manufacturer prior to using this procedure. I have always stated that this procedure is not for newbies and that this method is not a replacement for a rotary. Rather, it is simply an alternative method that I use which can deliver a higher degree of success (in terms of defect removal and finishing capability).

The products I've used this procedure with the most are Meguiar's M86 and M105, so that should be kept in mind. Why is there no short answer? Quite simply because the short answer gives directions only, and no theory. Is that really teaching anything? For quite some time I just e-mailed guys that wanted to know how I was applying M86 and M105 with a random orbital because neither was officially recommended for use with the random orbital. First it was a one-page e-mail, the two, then three. As I kept chasing my tail trying to supplement the procedure, I decided to write about some of the theory behind why I thought it worked so well. Well, it ended up at twenty pages with only four diagrams to take up space. A very boring read unless a guy was truly interested in the theory behind the method!

Once it was finished (a little over a year ago), I had a few guys read it and it became painfully obvious that more diagrams would improve the paper, so I began creating them. I am still not done, and believe me- I wish I was. Time constraints have slowed the completion of the document, but the time is near. Why did I start discussing the "KBM" online? Because Todd Helme aka TH0001 mentioned he used "Kevin Brown's methods of madness" to polish a 1948 Lincoln Zephyr, and the inquiries began.

I am most excited about this: No longer is the random orbital looked upon as an "electric wax applicator", or as a "hazemaker". For some time it was perceived by the big guns as the sissies machine. Some rotary guys still don't like it, and that is fine. I am not writing this paper for them!

KBM points to consider when using a random orbital:

Maximize the polishing capabilities of the pad by thoroughly priming it with the buffing liquid.

Minimize the cushioning effects of the pad by applying downward pressure to the machine.

Adjust downward pressure to maintain some random rotation of the backing plate. More rotation is better for defect removal. Less rotation is better for final polishing.

Clean the pad throughout the process. Compressed air is BY FAR the best tool for the job.

Maintain pressure throughout the polishing cycle. This goes for defect removal as well as final polishing.

Prepare the pad for final polishing by priming it and then letting it sit for a couple minutes. Prior to use, remove the excess product from the pad by placing the pad face onto a microfiber towel. Run the machine for a few seconds until the excess material is removed. Then, apply small amounts of buffing liquid as needed. The goal is to have enough polish available to abrade paint away, but not so much that there are clumps of buffing liquid on the pad face or in the pore structure of the pad.

Introducing a spritz of water or detail spray is a no-no because although cutting power may increase, so too will scouring. Besides- wet pads are not helpful.

If scouring is noticeable when the buffing liquid is applied by machine but not by hand, then the pad is the culprit- not the machine. Use a different pad (size or material), or adjust pressure, speed, and amount of product until satisfactory results are achieved.

Thanks again!

Last edited by Kevin Brown; 27-07-2010 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 15-11-2009, 08:46 PM   #26
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Wow loving this post, this is the kind of detailing chat we need more of.

Iv been using PRC my self for a while now, and have got some pretty good results with it, i find using as you would a conventional polish it seems pretty poor, but i persisted with it and seem to get pretty good results now i found a way to make it work for me, i find i can finish via DA with it better than i can rotary, but obviously rotary is far better for correction with it.

Im going to go have another play with it incorporating some of your methods.


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Old 19-01-2010, 05:29 PM   #27
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Hi all!

Still working on the "paper", but I wanted to add this information here on DW, as it refers to thoughts about paint polishing via random orbital.

Barry Theal of Presidential Details and I recently exchanged e-mails regarding paint polishing. We thought it might be a good read. We are not recommending anyone try the methods we are discussing... we are just chatting by the water cooler, so to speak. By the way- there are TWO prominent guys over here that use the name "Presidential"... Barry Theal (Presidential Details) and Billy Aylward (Presidential Detailing).

I copied and pasted this from another forum.

I have been playing around alot with some new methods of paint polishing and trying to take things to another level. I had a few ?'s and thought I would contact Kevin Brown. For those of you who don't know Kevin, I had the chance to get to talk with him a few times over the last year and he is a man of integrity, knowledge, and passion. A true assest to this business.

Anyway, I have been trying to find a new way finish down paint. I'm working on a few new techniques and ideas. When I sent the below email to Kevin his reply was simply amazing and we thought this would be a thread for all to veiw. Below is my email to him then his response! Hopefully you all enjoy. Thanks Kevin I got a reply coming soon in email.

So I finally broke down and got real serious with your method. Its been going nice. I wondered something though over the past week and began to think a little. Not sure if thats good or not. I wanted to run something by you here and see what you thought. When finishing down with m205. As a Non Diminish abrasive how do you truly get the most flawless paint possible? If the abrasive truly doesn't diminish how can there not be any super microscopic scratches?

Next I began to think about the whole jeweling thing or what I call burnishing. Working the paint with a Diminishing abrasive polish to refine the paint as much as possible to gain the most gloss. Although when finishing down with your method its looks outstanding. I began to wonder could you take it another step. So at this point I was like a kid in science class. Trying different pads and different abrasives.

What if you were to entirely remove the abrasive and use just the pad for finishing? Obviously you can't just spin a pad across the paint and expect anything. When using your method I think a big part is the lubrication from the water. Kinda like when your wetsanding the more water the less the abrasive yor paper will be. So as the search went on. I found you need a lubricant to keep the pad moving while only using your pad as the abrasive. So I moved onto quick detailers and such and found that you can finish down with Final Inspection Spray. If makes a great lube as well as cleans the paint free of the oils from the polishes. Once trying this I ran the pc at speed 3 after 2 lights mists of Final Inspection and boom I burnished paint with a pc and had amazing results. It made the paint feel clean but it had a crisp look to it. Some would think I'm nuts for this. You're a man who I'm sure a few thought were nuts when you said how about serious correction with a pc.

Anyways, ever try something like this? Does it make sense to you? Or am I just nuts? Lol. Let me know what you think.

Barry Theal

Hi Barry-
I will respond section by section.
If something doesn't make sense or seems out of place, it is because I wrote a bit at a time (then moved things around as I went along).

"So I finally broke down and got real serious with your method. Its been going nice. I wondered something though over the past week and began to think a little. Not sure if thats good or not. I wanted to run something by you here and see what you thought. When finishing down with m205..."

Nice to see you playing around with polishing. Not a lot of guys take the time to think about what is happening during the polishing process. However, I think it is a must for guys that want to be better than very good. Let's chat!

Unless the paint is "brand new" (freshly sprayed and not touched) there is bound to be scratches, whether the human eye can see them or not.
This is an opinion- but I suspect not too many guys would disagree. If you fall into this category, then we see eye to eye so far. So yes- there are microscopic scratches present. For the sake of argument, let's assume that we are always refining the scratched paint surface (either by smoothing its shape or eliminating big scratches and replacing them with smaller ones).

To bolster this opinion, we can certainly look at the effects that glazes, oils, and fillers have on our perception of the paint surface. After all, if the paint is perfectly smooth, would we see a better reflection if we "topped" the paint with some sort of transparent product (the "topper")? We may see more depth because we have added thickness to the surface (so the paint color would be literally farther away from the top point of the glaze or wax), but not more accurate reflection. In fact, unless the topper was self leveling, we may see a decrease in reflective accuracy.

We probably should consider what these scratches look like.
Are the scratches shaped like a "V"? Or, are they shaped like a "channel" (channel meaning that the shape would be similar to a square minus the top line)? If the scratches are "V" shaped, our buffing abrasives are more readily able to polish the sides of the scratch and smooth the points where the top of the scratch meets the paint's uppermost surface. These scratches are certainly the most common, as a piece of grit or hard material usually cuts into the paint like a knife blade (thinly at first, then wider as the scratch deepens). If the scratches are channel shaped, the scratch is not as easy to hide via smoothing, so more paint must be removed in order to eliminate them. These scratches are usually created when an object is pushed across the surface, without an ability to dig deeper (such as when somebody places a cardboard box on the truck and slides it). Any dirt between the box and paint either rolls between them, or the dirt gets attached to the box and acts like a piece of sandpaper. Better yet- imagine that the teeth of a hair comb made of steel is rubbed against the paint, and the ends of the teeth are square instead of pointed.

Now... let's discuss our abrasive materials.

In most cases, buffing liquids and pads should be considered abrasive (we'll stick to foam pads for this discussion).
Since most pads are designed to contour to the painted panel, they tend to ride upon the painted surface rather than dig in. Their action is similar to what happens with paint cleaning clay. Unless the shape of the individual membranes are aggressive or sharp (or if someone decided to mix abrasive particles in with the foam slurry), the foam will create scratches that are fairly consistently shaped, and with similar depths. This assumes that the pad is not falling apart, or the walls of the membranes are not sticking together and then flipping upon each other, creating bulky clumps). If we add a lot of downward force to the pad in order to compress it and the foam can NO LONGER reshape to the panel (or the foam becomes reasonably compressed), it will then create inconsistently deep scratches (mostly due to panel shape). So, final polishing is typically done with super soft and pliable pads, devoid of harsh membrane structures. By harsh, I mean bumpy.

"As a Non Diminish abrasive, how do you truly get the most flawless paint possible?"

"If the abrasive truly doesn't diminish, how can there not be any super microscopic scratches?"

You asked about non diminishing abrasives.
In the case of the superfine stuff being used these days, the individual particles generally create a smaller and more consistently shaped scratch than the materials used to make the pads. So, you might want to think of these in this manner. Abrasive, yes. But not detrimental to the surface. If the abrasive particles are evenly dispersed across the pad and they rub across the paint in tandem (tightly packed against each other, not clumped, and on the same plane) you should see a great result. It is likely that if we could grab just one abrasive particle and push it across the paint surface, we likely would NOT be able to see the scratch it created.

"Next I began to think about the whole jeweling thing or what I call burnishing."

So, what about "jeweling" or "burnishing"?
Those are terms that essentially define the final polish step to me. When I used to do a five or six step rotary session, I personally did not have names for each step (I just paired pad with paint with process). Then again, I was buffing using multi-step processes prior to the time when there was any Internet-based forum discussion about polishing, so I suppose if I was explaining things by "steps" and using names for the steps, I might have referred to them by similar names.

What you guys are basically doing is trying to use the pad's abrasive capabilities to polish the paint in the least invasive manner, while still affecting the paint surface. A coating of liquid applied to the buffing pad's membrane-like structure and the paint surface itself might act as a "buffer" (in this case meaning to lessen or moderate the impact of something). Think of it this way: First, the liquid coats the surfaces, so only the tallest points not within the layer of liquid are fully exposed or mostly exposed.

To better visualize this, think of the ocean and the land above the sea level on Earth. In this case, let's slice off a small piece of Earth and place it on a very large table (a square mile will do). You are in charge of water management. Your goal is to keep the water in the ocean, and the dry land dry. The water will stay on the table unless you take action to remove it via bucket, squeegee, push broom, or via heat (thus evaporation).

Just as in reality, your ocean covers most of the Earth's surface. If you wanted to push-broom or evaporate the ocean away, it would be a massive undertaking. Now, imagine a storm rolled in and wet all of the dry land. Although the land would be wet, the layer of water would be very thin (compared to the depth of the ocean). Heat from the sun would evaporate the thin layer of water in a hurry, and you could squeegee away any water lying upon hard or flat surfaces (you would push it right back into the ocean). The remaining uneven land surfaces holding pooled water could be either scooped away or soaked up with absorbent materials.

This scenario is very similar to what we are doing when we polish paint using a buffing machine paired with a foam pad. The pad acts as a push broom or a squeegee to some degree, and the heat generated by the friction replaces the sun to aid evaporation of the liquid. If the pad and paint is coated with a liquid that acts as a barrier to interaction of the two, it is effectively burying some of the paint. The majority of the pad face cannot physically touch the paint, so only the high points are being affected by the pad motion.

In reference to water or lubricating agents in general:

Since liquids are not easily compressed (most times they are deemed to be not compressible for simplicity sake), the layer of liquid might cause the pad to "float" or ride atop the liquid to some degree. If the pad also features a layer of liquid spread across it, the net effect might be one that sees only minimal contact between the pad and paint surface. Consequently, only the highest of points of the paint surface are being affected, and the newly formed paint surface would lack sharp or inconsistently shaped features.

To envision this, imagine that you are going to skip a rock across a pond of water, and the water is at rest (so its surface is basically flat). The pool of water has small pieces of grass sticking through the top, and you want to cut a path through the grass so that it is flush with the water level. You sharpen the edge of the rock so it will cut through, and you make sure when you throw the rock, it has a lot of rotational speed.

This scenario is very similar to what is likely occurring during your "burnishing" step when you polish paint with a finishing polish. In this case, the pond water represents the liquid covering the paint, the grass blades represent the high points of paint that your pad is going to "cut through", and the rock represents your buffing pad. Not a perfect analogy, but I hope you get the gist of the comparison.

"...Working the paint with a Diminishing abrasive polish to refine the paint as much as possible
to gain the most gloss (burnishing)."

Not necessarily.
This assumes that the abrasive, once fully diminished, will be smaller in size and more consistently shaped than the current crop of non-diminishing micro-abrasives used in products like M205. Besides, what about abrasives that do not attach well to the foam membrane structure very well? What if someone came up with a particle that was mostly smooth, except it featured a buffering agent that allowed only the tiniest points of the particle to protrude and possibly attach to the pad? Most of the particles would have to be pushed along the paint surface by the pad. The remaining loose particles would either be positioned between the pad and paint (rolling between the two), or they would simply be squeegeed across the paint by the pad's membrane-like structure. Interesting.

"What if you were to entirely remove the abrasive and use just the pad for finishing?"

Could you use a buffing liquid that does not contain abrasives and just use the buffing pad to reshape the paint surface?
Sure! As long as the pad is as previously discussed... as long as it does have some abrasive capability... and as long as the guy using it keeps it clean and understands how it interacts with the surface.... then a quality result could be realized. As with all other products used to polish paint, one paint-type will respond better than another, so it is something to keep in the arsenal but would likely not deliver the results you might be hoping for on most paints. Again- if you see great results, then more power to you. If Final Inspection works well, a softer pad (or a softened pad) paired with water as your short term lube might yield similar results.

"When using your method I think a big part is the lubrication from the water."

Not sure if you are referring to using the rotary or using the random orbital here.
While water certainly seems to alter the cut, it usually results in a bit more haziness of the surface. I have written about using a spritz of water to increase the cut with the rotary, but do not generally recommend implementing it with the random orbital. Do I personally do it? YES, but not always. I am a stickler when it comes to keeping my pads clean (which is probably one of the top reasons I tend to see better polishing results than the next guy). If the pad is not kept clean (especially when using a water spritz), the abrasives and paint residue tend to pack onto the surface of the pad or into the membrane structure, and stay there. A big reason for this? Typically, there is not a lot of centrifugal motion occurring (because there is less high speed rotation of the pad), so the residues tend to stay where they are compared to using the same setup with a rotary.

"Kinda like when your wetsanding the more water the less the abrasive your paper will be."

Are you referring to a hydroplaning effect, so to speak?
I think you are meaning that if too much water is present between the sandpaper and paint, then the paper essentially glides atop the water until enough escapes. The correct amount of water? Water would be present in the valleys between the abrasive particles, and a minimal amount would be present between the points of the particles and the paint. Enough to float away abraded paint residue. I think we are on the same page here.

Now consider this: What if you were to use only sandpaper to polish the paint?
You would start out sanding with a paper than features large particles first, then once you leveled the surface sufficiently, you would then use papers featuring finer particles. This process would continue until your eye could not discern any surface defects. By using sandpaper, you would have created a very leveled surface, especially if you paper was not flexible from one point to the next. Most panels we sand or polish are not laser-level, so we need to utilize papers that can conform to the panel. We therefore need some flexibility, but only enough to allow the paper as a whole to contour to the panel shape. If the paper changed shape every time a piece of sanding grit encountered a high point or low point, we would only succeed in thinning the film build without evening the surface from one point to the next. Again- this is similar to how paint cleaning clay operates, except the abrasives stay level to the surface because the clay contours to the surface. The clay and its abrasives have a very hard time digging in, so true leveling is not going to happen. But- can you imagine how accurate the reflection would be if we polished the paint via sanding rather than use a pad and abrasive?!

It could be pretty stunning. For the most part, the paint surface would feature a very smooth looking surface, one that would reflect accurately. Think of a typical orange, but imagine if it was a smooth metal sphere that had been painted. If we progressively sanded the surface, we would certainly see a consistently shaped layer of paint, when compared to an identical orange that had been polished using a buffer, pad, and buffing liquid. The only standout defects might be tracers that had not been thoroughly removed during subsequent steps, but their would be no high points, only valleys.

We could get a similar type finish with machine polishing if we could spin the pad fast enough.
Heat is our biggest problem. Next, the inability to see the paint through the buffing liquids could lead to disaster. The abrasive particles that were able to attach to the pad would move at the speed of the pad, effectively acting as a sanding disc. The remaining loose particles would be pushed along, eventually tumbling and adjusting disposition. In a way, they might act as little spheres (think of ball bearings), and they would either be forced into the paint or slide across it, grinding the away at the paint surface. They might also act as a hard barrier, effectively negating any pad/paint contact. You've seen this for sure- lots of guys refer to it as "gumming". Gumming either occurs because of what has just been outlined, or because the pad cannot "squeegee" the product from the surface. Instead, the pad simply rolls over the product.

"So I moved onto quick detailers and such and found that you can finish down with Final Inspection Spray.
It makes a great lube as well as cleans the paint free of the oils from the polishes."

You mentioned that the Final Inspection cleans the surface (removing the oils) while acting as a lube.
True, to a point. The "oil & water do not mix" dynamic certainly applies to a degree. The Final Inspection lifts or displaces the oil (moving it away from the surface and the pad via centrifugal force to some level), revealing clean paint and pad surfaces. The Final Inspection would also act as a lubrication until it evaporated (more rapidly than a typical petroleum or other lube material). It's just like when we spritz the paint with water when using a rotary and a wool pad. The pad is minimally cleaned because some of the attached abrasive particles loosen, the paint is cleaned (to some degree and dependent upon many things). It also wets the fibers, making them pliable again, eventually allowing them to straighten and pack tightly against each other (effectively increasing the amount of wool present in any measured area, such as a square-inch).

Does it make sense to you? Or am I just nuts? lol. Let me know what you think.
Barry Theal

Not nuts at all.
I suspect that in the future we will be utilizing some pretty incredible stuff.
Perhaps we'll have buffing liquids that are sprayable. They will contain very fine, hard particle abrasives. The pads will likely have pockets that can release small amounts of moisture so that the abrasives can be worked longer before they dust away.

We may even see a point when the pads are impregnated with the abrasive particles (which will be super hard, like diamond dust), and we will spray a lube of some sort upon the surface. This would be ideal, because all we would need to do is clean the pad with compressed air during their use. Once the session ended, we could then wash them to remove stuck-on contamination. The only dusting we would encounter would be remnants of the pad and the residues we buffed away.

Your turn to let me know what you think.
If this all makes sense, perhaps we could/should post it to a forum, as I think people would enjoy the read. Kevin
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Old 24-02-2010, 07:18 PM   #28
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Flex compatible method?

This information was posted in response to the question:

Originally Posted by 07 z-oh-6 View Post
Is this method applicable with a Flex 3401 Thanks.
Well, much of it is, but since the Flex does not have an issue with rotation since it is forced, you will want to back off the pressure.
Otherwise, that machine is going to steer itself all over the place! So, I believe that with the Flex, your pad choice is very important.

Thinking things through here on pad choice. All of this is opinion, rumination, contemplation. Time to split some hairs, dissect stuff. Theorize, so to speak.

We could use a good discussion about foam pads, anyway!
So, pads for the Flex, eh? Well... rather than getting specific, I would like to talk about foam pads in general.

A thin pad would work better than a thick pad for the purpose of transferring the the machine's 5/16" eccentric motion through the pad so it can efficiently work the paint. Not much need to worry about pad cushioning slowing the offset rotation of the pad, because it is force driven. A stiff pad would probably cut better than a cushiony pad, but with added stiffness comes less contouring of the pad. To counteract this problem, we would normally add more downward pressure to force the pad to shape its face to the panel being polished. Unfortunately, when we add downward applied pressure to the Flex, it tries to "steer" the machine in all sorts of directions.

As I see it in my mind...
The ideal defect removal pad for a Flex would be one that would easily compress so that it could effortlessly contour to the panel shape.
This way, there would be no need to increase downward pressure. If we only need to use a normal amount of pressure, we can avoid the [i]steering characteristics[/] of the machine when downward pressure is applied. Most pads that compress easily feature very thin membrane walls, and lots of pores per inch (PPI). Lots of tiny pores, easy to compress... sounds like a finishing pad, eh?

But we shouldn't just look at a PPI rating because less PPI does not necessarily equate to [i]any[/] specific performance characteristic. To clarify: Suppose two competing pad manufacturers offer foam pads that spec out at only FOUR pores per inch. One design might offer very thin walls and large pores, while the other might have very thick walls with tiny little pores.

The pad with thin walls and large pores would EITHER allow more product to pack into the membrane-like structure OR allow an increased amount of side-to side wiggling movement of the pad. Huh?

If we prime the pad using buffing liquid to fill the space between the pad's memebrane-like walls, and the walls were stiff enough to trap the buffing liquid, the abrasive material would be moved back and forth across the paint surface in a somewhat controlled manner. Some of the abrasives would slip away and roll along the surface as the pad moved. Likewise, some of the material already on the paint surface would be whisked about and end up in the pad. By moving the abrasive in and out of the pad, contaminated particles and paint residue are essentially diluted via mixing with the fresh buffing liquid. This effectively extends the life of the liquid before the onset of saturated contamination. Among many other things, pad priming increases the usable area of a foam pad. It also creates what amounts to a hard-barrier, slowing absorption of the "liquid" portion of the buffing compound (this helps control pad saturation). After all, the newer generation of abrasives are chock full of tiny hard particles that are able to pack tightly together. Considering this, we might conclude that a rather hard surface is created between the membranes, so leveling capability will be increased.

If we do not prime the pad using the buffing liquid (thus leaving the void area open), then the pad walls will bend. This movement may allow some of the walls to contact the paint surface. Eventually, abrasive particles would attach to the walls. They would likely have increased cutting power because they are attached and therefore traveling at maximum speed (the same speed as the pad is moving). To counteract wall distortion, we could apply more pressure but we do not know if the added pressure will result in a closing of the walls, so this could result in a zero sum gain. Regardless the outcome, this may not be the best way to use this pad because our goal was to avoid adding pressure in the first place.

It should be noted that since the walls are so thin on a pad of this theoretical design, not a lot of abrasive particles would be attached to the face of the pad. For this discussion, the face is the portion of the pad that is actually TOUCHING the paint. What might the net effect be?

If a particle is attached to a pad and not able to dislodge, it is moving at maximum speed, so cutting power would be at its peak. As paint is abraded by its movement, some of the paint is likely to stick to the particle. If the material is soft, it may not be such a big deal. However, if the particles are hard and crunchy (such as would be the case with oxidized paint, or paint that has particles of dirt embedded), we could create more defects.

A potential problem using a thin walled, large pore pad such as the type outlined as a defect removal pad is this: If you are using an abrasive-laden buffing liquid that is designed for rapid paint removal (a cutting compound), then the pad has a tough time pushing its way through the particles that have mechanically attached to the paint. Further, if the buffing liquid is a thick consistency or has a LOT of abrasive content, the pad simply cannot push its way through built-up liquid that is stuck to the paint surface without deflecting its shape. What generally occurs is often referred to surface gumming, which is an easy way of identifying the fact that the pad is gliding over the buffing compound rather than pushing through it.

Compared to a thin wall, large pore pad, a foam pad with thick walls and small pores would not allow as much buffing liquid to enter the membrane-like structure of a foam pad. If the pad was a closed cell design, it would take even LESS product to pack the small pores. Well, guess what? Many of the newer generation foam cutting pads are similar to this design! granted, They feature WAY more than four pores per inch. The biggest points to consider are:

1. Wider walls mean more abrasive particles can attach to the face of the pad.

2. Less product is needed to thoroughly prime a similarly sized pad with buffing liquid because the closed cell design (also referred to as non-reticulated).

3. The buffing liquid will not migrate through the buffing pad as quickly as a thin walled, large pore pad.

Sounds like a real winner for the purposes of removing defects.
There are some issues associated with this design, but a lot of guys are seeing great success with similarly designed pads. In general, if two pads are made of the same foam material, but one is open cell while the other is closed cell, you will generally notice an increased working temperature of the pad because less airflow through the pad is likely, and the denser material will not cool down as quickly because there is more material to cool. In addition, you will likely notice that the rebound action of the pad will be slower, too. Finally, once you decide to wash the pad, it will take a lot longer for it to completely dry. Look around and you will see some posts attesting to this fact.

It should be noted that I am not referring to any particular brand of pad throughout this post. Terms such as "thin" or "thick" in reference to wall thickness, and "cushiony" or "stiff" in relation to pad resiliency are non-specific. My hope is not to necessarily point out a specific "ideal" foam cutting pad because preferences and techniques have a large effect on pad performance. Paint condition, buffing liquid type, and many other factors can change the performance of a pad, too. For specific recommendations, guys that use the Flex all the time are your best bet in terms of getting close to an ideal pad. Hopefully by reading this post you can use the information to better dial in the performance of any foam buffing pad for any specific polishing task.
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Old 24-02-2010, 07:30 PM   #29
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Does paint really "dry out"?

Here is a topic that was discussed via e-mail, and ended up on another forum. Not necessarily related to any particular method, but I though it might be okay to add it here. If not, I am happy to have it moved.

Originally Posted by akimel View Post
A few days ago I asked Kevin Brown this question: Does car paint dry out? I expected him to respond with a two sentence answer. Instead I received a lengthy response from him. He has given me permission to post his response here on TID. Enjoy!


I think that is a great question! Not an easy one to answer, though.

Hope you don't mind... I am sending your question and my response to my buddies Todd Helme, Chris Dasher, Bryan Burnworth, Bob Willis, Paul (the other pc), and Tim Lingor. Perhaps they can give their opinions on the matter, or correct me if I am way off base on my theories. I do not have the scientific education to discuss things like electrons, atoms, and covalent bonds (and on and on and on!)

Here is my take on the subject:

Some guys would certainly argue that petro solvents definitely "dry out" paint over the long haul. If fact, that was the credo of zome really well known wax company when they first launched their paint product line. I am not doubting nor agreeing with the opinion.

We know that things oxidize, and paint is no exception. But can it oxidize throughout the paint, not just on the surface? I think that the answer is yes.

Automotive paint will allow certain materials to soak into it, and then eventually evaporate. We read about paint swell all the time. A guy polishes paint, it looks great for a day or two, then the scratches magically reappear. I have even seen a car that had water transfer through the clear coat layer of paint. Magnetic signs were attached to the car. It rained one day, and after the storm had passed, the car sat out in the Las Vegas sun. When the signs were removed, water entered the paint and was trapped between the clear and base coat. It was milky white and transparent . Jason Rose recommended that the lady take her car to a body shop and have them heat the door using infra red lighting in hopes of evaporating the water. It worked!

Although this situation does not necessarily support the fact that the paint moistened and then dried, it does confirm that the paint on that car had an ability to allow liquid to enter its structure and then release it. Of course, I am a realist, and I seriously doubt that if we were able to peel a piece of paint from a panel and then place droplets of water on top of the paint, the water would start dripping through the other side. I am just thinking things through here, without the benefit of all the proper scientific terminology.

Instead of thinking about paint as we see it, we should liken it to a structure- any structure, that has an ability to contract and expand. How about the fibers of a wool pad? I have been thinking about the nuances of wool, cotton, and microfiber a lot lately, so we will go with wool.

I was actually pondering wool fibers and how they are shaped. I remember reading about lambswool seat covers (a long time ago), and how wool the fibers were essentially hollow (think of a typical drinking straw). The article mentioned that this was how wool was able to whisk away moisture (such as sweat). I have not confirmed this information, nor am I disputing it. Perhaps it is true, perhaps not. Likely, the fine wool strands that make up wool as a whole have some void area between the smaller fibers (that make up a fiber), and moisture gets trapped in the air pockets between the fibers. By allowing wool to break the large puddles of moisture into small puddles, the moisture evaporates at an increased rate because:

1. More water surface area is exposed to air, so the evaporation rate is increased.

2. The heat residing in the fibers helps to accelerate evaporation, and because the water is more evenly dispersed across a larger area, so the fibers don't cool as quickly.

Therefore, the wool fibers do not literally soak in moisture and then swell.
They are simply holding onto the water via mechanical attachment.

Next point: When wool pads are dry, clean, and spurred, they are relatively fluffy.

Structure certainly must have something to do with the fluffiness, but friction between the fibers must have a lot to do with it, too. When a pad is washed and then spun-dry (such as when we mount a wool pad to a rotary and pull the trigger), the individual fibers are able to collapse, and they remain somewhat straightened. This leads me to believe that due to friction, the fibers retain a straightened shape. Consequently, the fibers pack more tightly against each other, and we generally see an increase in cutting power. Likely, cutting power increases for two reasons:

1. Instead of lots of very thin fibers that are easily bent and can easily reshape as they encounter an obstacle, we end up with tightly packed and straightened fibers. Since they are now tightly packed against each other and have less air space between them, they cannot move about as they could before. Consequently, they do not easily deflect when they encounter obstacles, so they tend to better push through those obstacles.

2. We see an increase in kinetic energy from the larger fibers because they are moving in tandem, effectively moving as one mass. The net result is more leveling power.

Anyway- I could go on and on about pads and liquids, but I won't. Back to "dried out" paint!

Perhaps the term "dry paint" should be considered "dry" or "dead" when it:

• Loses elasticity
• Can no longer contract and expand
• Can no longer flex
• Does not allow liquid to permeate or penetrate its structure

Could elasticity ever be restored? Or does the paint change forever once its original level of elasticity is gone?

I think the latter is true with the technology available today. I do not doubt that "feeder oils" or other liquids could revitalize the uppermost portion of paint, but I am not sure how long lasting the effect is. Glazes, waxes, sealants- they all can form a protective barrier upon the paint exposed to the environment, but they do not protect paint in any other way. Does extreme heat cause oxidation? Seems to me that it could if any reaction takes place during the heating or cooling process. By oxidation I am referring to the true sense of the word, not just when oxygen causes a "drying" or "slow burning" of a surface or item.

If we had a solvent or a gaseous process that could find its way through the paint, then perhaps the areas of the paint that used to be voids OR the areas that have lost their ability to flex could be restored to their original condition or shape. With what we have available today, anything that could find its way into and out the backside of a layer of automotive paint would likely destroy it before real restoration occurred. Acetone is a good example. Definitely acetone could swell paint, but if left to soak in it, the acetone would eventually cause the paint to fail in some manner (peel, dissolve, or dry out via oxidation's slow burning process). Therefore, I suppose that if a filling in of the "space" throughout the paint structure is actually able to occur (for lack of a better term I have to use the word space... and I refuse to use the term "pores"), a solvent that could penetrate into these areas might extend the longevity of the paint... assuming it is not causing the problem in the first place. Can you imagine the drying effect acetone would have if we were able to pump it throughout a paint structure? I can envision collapsed links of paint, slowly revitalizing, opening up on a molecular level. Then, since acetone evaporates at a pretty quick rate, it would leave open space, simliar to what might be present when the paint was first sprayed. At this point the structure has been restored, but what about flexibility? I'd bet that the restructured paint would "look" as it did originally, but it would either BECOME very brittle, or continue to BE very brittle.

The best thing that could happen to paint in the future would be technology that allows reduction versus oxidation (way above my scientific education level). This would involve the use of exotic metals instilled in some sort of coating (paint or powder coat, for instance). Seems doable if the financial benefit was there for some high tech company to pursue it. Paint that does not oxidize!

I think the closest thing we are going to see to it in our lifetime is spray on liquid glass:


Kevin Brown

Last edited by Kevin Brown; 24-02-2010 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 29-03-2010, 05:10 PM   #30
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I here.

I found this post very usefull! I'll try this method soon, but I have une doubt.

How often should I "re-prime" the pad? Before each pass? If so, don't you spend lot's off polish?

Thanks in advanced
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