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Author Topic: Polishing a Car  (Read 4829 times)

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Offline extiger

  • Posts: 254
Polishing a Car
« on: October 13, 2011, 10:06 PM »
Using an old RO 150E+, which attachments/accessories should I use for the buffing compound? A solid foam pad, or wool bonnet?
Which would be easier as far as cleanup?

I understand from an earlier post that the accessories for the ETS 150 are interchangeable with my machine.

Gary in California

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Offline Bob Marino

  • Posts: 3258
Re: Polishing a Car
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2011, 10:30 AM »


 Not sure what you mean by a buffing compound. Is it a polish to remove fine surface dirt and/or fine scratches  or a heavier compound to remove deeper oxidation and scratches?  What do the direction state on the product?

Former Festool  Dealer since 2002; user well before that!

Offline extiger

  • Posts: 254
Re: Polishing a Car
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2011, 07:54 PM »
Thanks, Bob. Last week, I had my car repainted -- same color. In 60 days, the urethane paint will be hard enough to polish out.

The refinishing industry (and auto factories) smooths out the surface of newly painted cars with increasingly fine grades of buffing compound. The terms buffing compound, polish, de-glazing are roughly interchangeable. Ultra fine grit in solution medium. Show cars are often hit with a slurry made with water and corn starch for that ultra high sheen.

I've painted 8 cars myself. With lacquer. And I used to use a Sioux right angle grinder to buff everything. That was pretty standard gear, back in the day. The key is not the machine, however. Just as in wood finishing, you need about 3 soft pads. Each will be contaminated with a particular grit, starting with the coarsest, graduating down to two finer grades of rubbing compound.

Since my paint is new, I would limit the process to the single finest grade possible. And it is important never to use the same buffing pad for more than one grade of abrasive compound. They have to be dedicated to one grade. Washing typically won't remove all traces of abrasive, so color coding of the pads is helpful.

Well then, what does Festool make that would fit my RO 150E+ for this purpose?

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Polishing a Car
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2011, 08:10 PM »
Not offering any advice, but as I was cooking the other day I thought about what you mentioned - the use of cornstarch as a polishing medium - also back in my day.

Thanks!  I am not alone!

Offline Festool USA

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Re: Polishing a Car
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2011, 08:59 PM »
Somehow I think I overlooked this thread, my apologies.

First, yes, ETS 150 accessories will work with your RO 150 E. You'll need to get the polishing pad.

Regarding choice of medium, I would recommend that you use the fine sponge (foam as you call it). The sheepskin (wool) is actually more coarse than the foam and won't provide optimal results with a buffing compound which consists of very high grit, usually in the range of about 8000-15000 grit.


Offline extiger

  • Posts: 254
Re: Polishing a Car
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2011, 08:19 PM »
I'll get the back pad with Velcro from my local Festool dealer. Next, I'll get Lake Country 6.5 inch sponge pads with the Velcro backing. One for each grade of polish.

Some one asked here about grit. In the auto refinishing business, the compounds are not ranked by grit size. With 3m, they make a #1, #2,#3. The coarsest is often referred to as a Cutting Compound. Other brands use differing designations, but make it obvious which is the final gloss polish. The Cutting compound from 3M, sold in liquid or paste form at auto parts store can, in untrained hands, burn right through a paint job to the primer. Handle with care.

To to gauge the work, such as in polishing an old car, I always start with the finest compound to see if it has any effect. If not, then I revert back to the Cutting Compound, and then the Medium Compound. It's not rocket science. But keep the buffing pad flat against the surface, and use the slower speeds.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 9777
Re: Polishing a Car
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2021, 11:08 AM »
This is an old one being brought back to life.

I recently purchased the RAP 150-14 polisher from Festool Recon. I've previously showed the RAP in the SYS³ systainer but I wanted to note here how nice the small 70 mm backing pad is for small/difficult areas. The 488337 backing pad along with the polishing sponges for the RO 90 work extremely well together. I strongly suggest adding the small backing pad to the Shinex Systainer.

The systainer is a 204848 SYS³ L 237 with 3 layers of diced grid foam.

Here'a a before & after of the rear valence panel that's been hit too many times with errant shopping carts.  [mad]   Everything was polished using the small backing pad and the RO 90 sponges.

For this photo I replaced the small 70 mm backing pad with the standard 150 mm unit and used standard size polishing sponges. This is the reflection of the neighbor's tree in the hood of the car. This paint is 9 years old and has never been garaged.

Offline mike_aa

  • Posts: 1295
Re: Polishing a Car
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2021, 12:25 PM »
 Hey @Cheese  That looks fantastic!

[thumbs up] [thumbs up] [thumbs up]

Mike A.

Offline afish

  • Posts: 1299
Re: Polishing a Car
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2021, 12:42 AM »
I have had good luck with Meguiars DMC & DMF pads which are a foam pad with a microfiber face. I have tried the straight foam pads and prefer the microfiber ones DMC=cutting and DMF=finishing in combination with their M205 and M105 compounds.  Also a fan of the wolfgang sealant as final step/protectant as posted by Cheese. 

Re: Polishing a Car
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2021, 10:45 AM »
@Cheese Where did you get the RAP 80 polishing pad from?  Like to add this to the Shinex kit I am putting together for my Dad for XMas.  Car looks good!
CT MINI, CT 15, Kapex REB, RO125, DF500, ETS EC 125, TS55 KEB

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 9777
Re: Polishing a Car
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2021, 11:10 AM »
Germany... [smile]

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 1357
Re: Polishing a Car
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2021, 12:08 PM »
I would note that in New York State all car washes and commercial laundromats are required by law to recirculate their water.  So they take up the drained water and filter it and use it to wash cars all over again. 

While all the notable solid particulates are filtered out, some items that in solution and some that are in suspension escape the filters. 

So the residue from  the Rainex, tire shine, undercarriage rust inhibitors, wetting agents, etc. are applied to your "clean car".

A few years ago I had a car with black paint.  Dirt shows up quickly on a black car.  I had just left the car wash which is exactly two  miles from my house.  By the time I got home the entire lower area of my car was gray-looking from road dust that had adhered to the finish. 

Running my hands over the freshly cleaned car I found that the surface did not feel quite "slick".  Instead it had the feel of the surface of a paraffin candle.  I assume that was from all the chemicals that were being recirculated. 

Worse, it did not want to wash off easily.  I had to resort to using a strong mixture of Dawn dish washing soap and water.  It did clean off the junk on the finish, but it also stripped off the wax. 

Since then I have only hand washed my car at home with fresh clean water.  Typically my white car looks clean for 1 to 3 weeks in the summer.  A far cry from the 1 to  3 days after using the car wash. 

I use a elliptical action buffer I got from Home Depot and Meguiar's.  I use a microfiber bonnet over a foam pad.  I can wash the bonnet after each use.