Rotary Compounding – Is It Dead?

With the technological advances in buffing pads, compounds, and techniques for the random orbital dual action polisher, the need (and desire) to use a rotary machine has diminished rapidly. For the longest time it was accepted in the paint correction / detailing industry that the rotary was the only machine to use for heavy correction and compounding needs, whereas the dual action (DA) existed strictly for glaze or wax application, or for those new to the trade. The DA was considered a stepping stone machine, and one would graduate to the rotary only after mastering the DA.

While the rotary has been the workhorse for major paint correction, it has definitely had its drawbacks as well. There’s a much higher risk of damaging the paint with a rotary compared to the relative safety of the DA, and there’s also a very steep learning curve to be able to use it properly.

Given these drawbacks, the door was wide open for the DA polisher to gain momentum.

The birth of the DA compounding evolution

The product that was responsible for this renewed interest in the DA was Meguiar’s M105 Ultra Cut Compound. The non-diminishing abrasive technology provided for fast, heavy cut with a finish that was far better than any other compounds on the market. Traditional heavy compounds would generate a tremendous amount of swirls or haze, and would subsequently require 2 more polishing steps to refine the finish. With 105 however, you could bridge that gap and follow it up with just one finishing step in most cases which obviously meant a savings in time and expense.

Detailers quickly adapted this product to DA use, and Meguiar’s made a change in the formula that allowed for a more friendly user experience when combining it with the DA. Then enter Kevin Brown who figured out the best way to combine product usage, pad priming, speed, and pressure to achieve the highest level of cut with the best finish, and the industry ran with it and even named it the “Kevin Brown Method” or “KBM”. Now that’s pretty cool to have a standard technique named after you! :)

Now that a seismic shift had taken place and more detailers (highline to beginners) were using this method, the doors were open once again for continued development and technological breakthroughs for this method of compounding. The industry had also discovered the Surbuf pads, which were hidden gems from the woodworking industry. When we combined the DA polisher with the Surbuf pad and Meguiar’s M105 polish, the playing field was officially even and you could now get every bit as good of a cut (with a better finish) than the old standby rotary polisher with wool pad combination. While it requires a little bit of finesse, you can remove heavy sanding marks out of paint with the DA/Surbuf/105 combination and at the same time finish it down to where there’s only a very light haze that’s easily taken out in a quick and simple finish polishing process. Swirls and holograms inflicted by heavy rotary compounding have become a thing of the past!

The evolution of the DA compounding technique continued with the introduction this past year of the Meguiar’s Microfiber Cutting Disc and D300 Compound (this compound was designed specifically for the revolutionary Microfiber Cutting Disc). The new microfiber pad technology was cutting edge to say the least, and it’s safe to say that most people were skeptics when they first saw it or heard about the new product. But the skepticism was quickly dismissed once the detailing world got the opportunity to work with this innovative new system. Fast cut, easy to use compound, fine finishing, and all with the ease of use and safety of the DA polisher…what more could you ask for?

I had the opportunity to be part of the pre-production development team for the Meguiar’s MF system, and while I had already been using the Surbuf/105 combination at that point, I was still primarily using the rotary for heavy compounding needs. Once I really got involved in the testing process and exploring the limits and capabilities of the DA, I quickly stopped using the rotary for compounding. The more testing I did, and the more time I spent perfecting my techniques, the more I realized that the need and desire to use the rotary for compounding had quickly become a thing of the past. When I would come across a difficult paint to work on with heavy defects or sanding marks for instance, I would set down the DA for a few moments to try the rotary and compare the results. After making a comparison on cut and finish, I would always throw the rotary back on the work bench and continue on with the DA…it cut just as good if not better, and finished down significantly better than the rotary. Each time I did this, it only strengthened the conclusions I had drawn from previous tests! I network with many of the most highly respected highline detailers out there, and when I would have discussions with them about this subject (or work together with them like I have with DJ Mayo many times), I always found that they had drawn the exact same conclusions.

At this point, it has been almost a year since I have used the rotary for compounding to any great level, and I don’t have a need to.

I asked a couple of special guests to submit a few words about their thoughts, opinions, and experiences with DA compounding versus the rotary, and I did it without telling them what direction I was planning on going with the article. It was no surprise that the comments they submitted paralleled mine.

First up is the legendary Kevin Brown, who along with Jason Rose are the two most technical detailers I know. Kevin likes to break down every process or cause and effect. He’s not satisfied with simply knowing what works and what doesn’t…he wants to know exactly why so that he can educate others.

Nowadays, the random orbital is truly a force to be reckoned with. Not only are the majority of these machines versatile, inexpensive, and easy to use, but they can equal or surpass the rotary polisher for accomplishing the task of defect removal and final polishing. Had this claim been made as little as four or five years ago, it would have been side-stepped, chuckled at, or disregarded altogether.

So, why the surge in performance and popularity? Did the capabilities of these machines suddenly become better? Not at all, in my opinion. Instead, advances in abrasive technology, experimentation using currently available buffing pads and backing plates, and discussions about how to wring the most performance out of our new polishing combinations made all the difference.

Although the Meguiar’s DA Microfiber Discs were not readily available to the general population, variations of the discs were being used at the OEM level for several years. The highly-regarded Surbuf Microfingers Pads were (and still are) touted by its manufacturer as being a fine polishing and waxing pad, yet it has gained popularity exclusively as a cutting pad.

It is important to recognize that neither product was originally used with a compound as capable as the type available today. Understanding this, it is pretty clear to me that although both discs have huge advantages over a typical foam pad, neither would be able to deliver jaw-dropping performance without compounds such as Meguiar’s M86 Cut and Polish Cream (the product Jason Rose and I initially used during the development of the Meguiar’s DA Microfiber System), and Meguiar’s M105 Ultra-Cut Compound (the compound that truly brought the Surbuf Microfingers Pad to life).

In my opinion, the biggest reason the random orbital polisher has become so wildly popular is evident: it is simple to use. After all, there are countless products in all segments of our lives that can deliver uncanny performance. It just so happens that some of these products are not so simple to use (race cars and jet airplanes are only two examples). However, if the masses can afford the product, operate it with relative ease, and achieve cutting-edge results using it, then the product’s popularity is certain to rise immensely.

Rotary polishers require diligent attention by the user while they are being operated, and that is not likely to change. Because of this, the rotary polisher is likely to remain in the realm it currently exists, which is as a mainstay piece of equipment used in body shops, detail shops, and assembly plants. Even then, the professionals in these industries cannot resist the intrigue of the random orbital for long, because the performance and user advantages are many. At what point will the rotary polisher regain momentum in popularity? When it can maintain its performance or increase it, all the while becoming easier to use.

And for another perspective I got in touch with Bryan Burnworth of Peach State Detail in Atlanta, Georgia. Bryan was also selected by AutoWeek Magazine as one of the top 9 Auto Detailers in the U.S., and he was an early adopter to the DA compounding movement.

After using a rotary for 4 years, I have only picked up a rotary in an attempt to do correction twice in the last 3 years. Both times it was taking just as long to compound the area with a rotary. The rotary was leaving the surface in worse condition then a r/o with a Surbuf pad and some M105.

TC: So as a detailing business owner, what are some of the benefits of DA compounding?

For one…shorter learning curve for those hiring/training new helpers. How many would really want your new guy with limited experience helping out with a rotary? I can take someone with limited r/o experience and train them to safely help out without constant supervision in 2-3 correction details.

I could dedicate pages and pages of this article to comments like these from some of the most highly regarded highline detailers in the business, and they would all sound the same!

Key benefits for DA compounding versus a rotary:

  • Equal, if not better heavy cut on most paints
  • The ability to achieve a much more refined finish after the compounding stage, which translates to a quicker, easier finish polishing stage
  • Shorter learning curve
  • Much less risk of damaging paint / burning edges
  • Less taping required to protect adjacent surfaces
  • No holograms!
  • Easier (and safer) to work tight areas

How does it all benefit the industry?

The evolution in compounding from the rotary to the DA polisher benefits the paint correction industry in many different ways. For one, it will force the machine, pad, backing plate, and abrasive compound companies to develop new products and technologies that follow this trend. Nobody wants to be left behind, and the creative minds in the labs will have to re-think their design and development processes. For the companies that have traditionally done all of their development in-house, they will now have to reach out to the highline detailers that have carved this path to help develop products that the industry is asking for. New technologies and products (that work) will benefit everybody working in the business as it will generate new product sales for the companies, and it will provide more products to choose from for those doing the actual work.

And from an educational standpoint, it will force those working in the training industry to learn modern tools, techniques, and products that detailers will be using into the future. Unfortunately I still see a lot of “detailing schools” that are focusing on outdated techniques, and those attending the schools will find themselves behind the times as soon as they complete their training. We are in an era in the detailing and paint correction business where technologies and techniques are changing rapidly, and those responsible for teaching others need to keep up or step aside.

And finally I see the trend benefiting the industry because it will mean that as a whole, we will be putting out better work. It pains me to continually pull up to a traffic light, in a parking lot, or even at car shows and see buffer trails and holograms caused by improper rotary usage. It puts a bad name on the trade. I do realize that many of the people inflicting this damage will never research the latest methods and technologies to step up their game, but if we can convert even just a few of these people, then fewer cars will get hacked as a result. An improper DA buffing job is still much more difficult to spot than an improper rotary buffing job!

What areas for improvement do we still face?

While compounding with the DA polisher has made quantum leaps, finish polishing hasn’t developed at the same rate. On harder paints you can get close, if not equal the pure finish that you can achieve with a rotary, but on soft paints you really need to know what you’re doing and have just the right products. I’ve been working with a tremendous amount of ridiculously soft paints (or aftermarket paints that simply don’t like the action of the DA) where it’s extremely challenging, if not impossible, to achieve an absolute pure finish even on a rotary with the finest polishes and pads available. These paints will look perfect under all types of lighting, and even under a Brinkmann LED from a foot away, but if you inspect them very closely (just an inch or two away under the LED), you will notice very fine swirls or haze in the paint.

Now this will be more than acceptable to over 90% of detailers out there, and just about all consumers, but not for those of us that are looking for an absolute perfect finish under all lighting conditions and viewing distances.

I’m confident however that the manufacturers will soon overcome this hurdle, and when that happens, there will be even less need for the rotary!

So is rotary compounding dead?

While there are many people that will hold on, I personally view rotary compounding to be on life support. And as companies continue to focus developments and improvements to DA compounding, the potential death of rotary compounding becomes more imminent.

I do realize however that there are a lot of differences in styles, techniques, and products from one part of the world to the next, so knowing this I’m not ready to carve the headstone just yet. There very well may be some areas where the rotary will always be king.

Should pad and compound manufacturers improve their technologies to a point where you can achieve a high level of cut with a finish as fine as you can with a DA (read…no swirls / holograms), then rotary compounding may stand a chance.

But with all things being equal, and technologies being what they are right now, I see myself continuing to promote DA compounding over the rotary without question.

Thanks for taking the time to read my (lengthy) article, and please feel free to share your comments below, and / or share this article by clicking on the appropriate icon for your favorite social networking sites.

Todd Cooperider
Esoteric Auto Detail
Columbus, Ohio

NOTE: While this article may sound like a commercial for Meguiar’s…it is not. They were at the forefront of this trend and technological breakthroughs, and I feel they should be recognized accordingly.

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23 Responses to Rotary Compounding – Is It Dead?

  1. Brad Geubelle says:

    As a detailer always looking to better the jobs I do for my customers. I started using facebook to reach out and make friends with other detailers and you accepted my friend request. I really enjoy and have learned alot just by reading your lengthy articles. I don’t know where you have the time to run a business,give advise,and take care of a family. I admire what you do and hope someday I will the success that I know you worked hard for. Thanks for all the great articles.

    • Thanks for the kind words Brad as I truly appreciate the positive feedback. As for how do I find the time…I still haven’t figured that out! I guess it’s all the early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and holidays that I spend behind the computer making it all happen.

  2. Pat says:

    Todd, what is your go-to DA buffer machine that you use for most of our jobs? The Porter cable or Flex? I’m curious as to what most highline detailers use.

    • Pat,

      I keep several machines pre-loaded with different sized backing plates, and I may grab one machine over another depending on the type of job I am working on. Machines like the Meguiar’s G110v2 and the Griot’s (which is somebody else’s machine actually, and I’ve seen it under at least 3 different names) have a bit more power these days than does the Porter Cable, although the trusty PC still gets the job done. I personally don’t like the forced rotation of the Flex and therefore don’t use that tool. I also see advancements coming in the near future in the DA market given the direction of the industry with DA compounding.

  3. Matthew Gibb says:

    todd that is a great article and I totally agree with your comments about DA and RO Resurfacing aka Compounding and always use the Surbuf and Megs MF discs with my DA and 10,000 OPM orbital
    However there is another frontier for the D/A and random orbital polishers to overcome, which rotaries have done. Orange Peel removal and deep deep straight line or curved scratch removal. Wet or dry sanding just to remove orange peel is now dead and no longer needed. using a rotary to do this is safer, quicker and doesnt leave any haze. Its one thing for a DA and RO to correct defects but flattening paint so there is no peel or only a tiny bit remaining cannot be done by a DA. Maybe 10 to 30% with my technique but its still not as good as a rotary with the new pads I’m using.

    I firmly believe that the warm temperatures that a panel gets to from a rotary with 80 to 100 ppi foam pads and a single polish system or final polish like Menz 85RD and Xpert High Tech 1500 give a little better depth, color richness and clarity than that of a DA or RO. its not much but its there
    Besides orange peel and deep scratch removal with a rotary, the DA and RO machines are my choice with the surbuf and microfibre discs for the paint correction step after I rotary out the orange peel at 1200 and slowly down to 600 rpm

    • Well orange peel removal is a different subject altogether from compounding, and is not something that I would even recommend for most oem finishes, let alone having the general public try it themselves. If body shops and a large population of the detailing industry can’t get a rotary right, I’d hate to see what kind of damage they would inflict with something that cuts to that level.

      And for finish polishing…that’s why I included the paragraph about DA specific finishing polishes not achieving the technological advances (yet) as they have with the compounding stage. I’m confident that the slight difference in finish (on some paints…not all) between the two finishing processes will become less apparent in the very near future.

      Thanks.

      • matt gibb says:

        Thanks todd, I agree that there is no way that I would use the velvet and denim pads on an OEM finish with under 110 microns. its still safer than sanding with 2000 grit but yeah agreed on that one
        I’ll only do that on refinish paints done by restoration and crash shops that are thicker than most OEM

        The lack of vibration is another plus of a rotary over a DA
        The optimum microfibre polishing pads on a rotary are superb and the finish they leave is foam quality even on the MG F I did which is from Japan with reasonably soft and lightly sticky paint

        Overall, I say keep all the machines and use them as needed. No way I’d ever put away the rotary or a buff pro forever and stick with DA
        anyhow an absolutely brilliant article todd and thanks for doing them, keep them coming

  4. Alan Warner says:

    Great thought provoking article Todd!

    However, despite the considerable recent advancements made by Meguiar’s with the DA Microfibre ‘system’, the one big advantage the Rotary has over the DA is the lack of vibration.

    I know of at least one Professional Detailer who is suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as a result of many years polishing with a DA. Whilst this is probably not a consideration for hobby detailers it is a serious potential side effect for Pro’s to consider in my opinion.

    I certainly don’t think the rotary is anywhere near the end of the road and with practice, and the correct polish, a rotary can provide a superior, hologram free finish.

    Just my 2c Todd and look forward to your reply.

    Alan W

    • Yes I do agree that the rotary is smoother than the DA, and perhaps that may be one of the many advancements yet to come in the future. When using a 5.5″ pad on a good machine, I don’t really notice that much vibration. The lighter weight is a plus too, however that’s offset by the fact that you have to apply much more pressure to the DA (when using something like the MF system), and it can be a bit fatiguing on the body after a long day of compounding.

      Yes, a rotary in capable hands can provide a stunning finish for the final stages, and on some paints you can achieve a higher level of gloss. I even made a point in the article to state that the finishing process on the DA had some catching up to do with the compounding breakthroughs, and I still use the rotary for most of my finish polishing…just not for heavy defect removal.

      I think an important thing to take from this article is that it’s a trend that’s being driven by results and ease of use (and safety). Most of us who are writing articles like these are quite talented and capable at operating a rotary for both compounding and finish polishing, yet we have migrated to the DA at least for the compounding stage. Why is that? Because we have found that we can get quicker correction with a better finish as we head into the finish polishing stage…which in turn means less work on the final polishing. And for those who are new to detailing or paint correction, it means that they can now achieve much greater results with a far less steep learning curve.

      I appreciate you checking in from across the pond!

      Thanks,
      Todd

  5. Chris Welbourne says:

    A great read for a dull wednesday morning Todd.

    I have recently been looking into the Da Mf system meguiars and was a bit doubtful until I read your post. I have a rotary and a Da and would like to steer away from the rotary for now.

    I think i will definately be buying the system from meguiars shortly.

    thanks for the advice

    Chris

    • Thanks for checking in, Chris and I’m glad you found the article to be helpful. I’d concentrate first and mainly on the Cutting Discs and D300. If you can get your hands on the Surbuf pads and Megs M105 as well, you’ll be glad for it. When you started with the rotary, you didn’t perfect the process over night. Keep in mind that while DA compounding will come easier, it still has a short learning curve as well to figure out the nuances of priming, pressure, arm speed, machine speed, etc. If you read my Megs MF review, you’ll learn a lot of tips that will help you get started.

      To keep it interesting, you should try switching to the DA for your cutting/compounding stage, but still use the rotary on finishing where you can. Then see how you like the combined efforts of the two machines.

  6. Russ Aston says:

    Hi from the UK, Todd!

    Superb article, and one which I completely agree with. The Megs system is relatively new to the UK, but after seeing it being used, and well regarded by yourself, and Gordon at Definied Details in Scotland, I decided to give it a go this past weekend.

    I was absolutely blown away by the level of correction I was able to achieve on ‘rock hard’ VW paint, but was most impressed by the quality of the finish – it needed very little refining, and removed all of the ‘swirling’ and all but the very deepest of scratches (which I admit, I dealt with via Rotary Polisher instead).

    Apparently there is a technique using the edge of the pad with the Megs system, but I’ve not had the opportunity to try it as yet – do you have any experience of this please, or thoughts?

    It will be interesting to see if other polish and pad manufacturers begin to develop similar systems (I have seen some bits from CG), as I guess ‘detailing’ is a relatively small market when compared to bodyshops, where I guess the rotary with wool and heavy compounds will remain their ‘weapon of choice’.

    Do you have any views in terms of more people being able to ‘do their own car’ and the impact that this may have on detailing as a service? I know of lots of people who have purchased a DA, as they have been fearful of the risks associated with a Rotary, but have been left with a frustrating experience and very little correction. This new system allows a lot more people, to achieve a better level of correction, without hiring a ‘detailer’. Whilst this is great news for ‘Joe Public’, do you think it will impact the detailing services market at all? I guess to an extent it depends at what level you’re operating…?

    Kind Regards,

    Russ.

    • Hello Russ from the UK!

      So even in the first weekend of using the DA for heavy correction duties, you already found out how easy it worked, and how well it worked. And after you spend more time with it, you’ll find that your correction rate and the finish it leaves after compounding will get even better.

      You can increase the speed a little, and tilt the machine a bit so you’re getting a lot of direct force onto a heavy defect. It actually doesn’t take much tilt to accomplish this and it will be similar to how you will get the most correction when working edges and seems (but keep the speeds low when you’re working these areas…just try to increase it a little to work a heavy, stubborn defect).

      I’m quite confident that product manufacturers will spend more development time on pads, compounds/polishes, and backing plates to run with these breakthroughs. Quite frankly, I think it would be a bad business move not to!

      As for the body shops, the wool/rotary combined with old school rocks in a bottle type compound is still their weapon of choice because they’re not the ones (re)learning the latest products and technologies. Enthusiasts, and the online detailers are the ones on blogs and forums, and networking with the most talented and knowledgeable people in the business and therefore will be the ones at the cutting edge of technology. Once you stop learning (or stop having the desire to learn), then you’re simply stepping aside and letting your competitors and the industry pass you by. But if the body shops got themselves up to speed and actually learned how to do it correctly, then guys like you and I would have less work to do…but that’s another article! :)

      Yes, the technology will open the door for more enthusiasts and DIY-types to get into it, and then many of those may very well become detailers and competitors. Do I think that it will make things more challenging for us? No, not really. There will be new people entering the game all of the time, with or without technologies like this. Just think of how many new detailers have joined the game in the past 5 or 10 years just because of what they’ve seen and learned on automotive/detailing forums. While it means more competition for some, it has at the same time introduced more potential clients to the world of “real” detailing and as a result we’ve created a larger customer base. So while it can level the playing field a bit, and bring more enthusiasts in, I still think that (a) there are plenty of customers to go around, and (b) it will then force the existing and good detailers to up their games and be more creative with their business models.

      Thanks again, and I hope my long-winded reply helped!

      Best regards,
      Todd

  7. A very good article, how ever i find that many uk detailers just dont get it when it comes to using a DA for compounding duty’s or one step paint correction details, in general if it was’nt for the megs DA system enlightening/educating people the dinosuars would still be having heated debates about the capability of the DA machine.
    Iused to be anti DA until i gave it a bit more time and worked on a polish/compound and pad combo that yields amazing results, i believe that the rotary is old hat as is three step paint correction.

    Dennis

    • Very good points Dennis. I’m seeing a lot more UK detailers trying (and liking) the system, and now that new tools are coming along (Rupes LHR 21E), and new MF pads are being introduced (Optimum, Scholl’s), you’re only going to see more of them. Once people see just how good of a cut / finish you can get with the D/A when using the proper backing plates, pads, and polishes, it’s hard NOT to believe in it. And yes…anything more than a 2-step is really unnecessary in most cases with the advances in technologies and techniques.

      Thanks for checking in!

      P.S. I’ve been watching the web statistics for my Meguiar’s MF article since it was released in February of 2011, and each month the number of visits to that article in particular from Europe gets bigger and bigger. Meaning – detailers over there are seeing and hearing about it, and looking for as much information as they can find.

  8. Richard Lin says:

    Todd,

    Excellent article. Both you and I share the same passion for correcting paint viewing just inches away at a time. I call this “micro detailing”. There are many different levels of correction depending on the type of lights being used to view the defects. It’s one thing to correct paint with the sunlight or hot lamps but quite another when using the brightest and coldest LED’s. I have not given up my rotary because like all the tools and chemicals in our tool set, every job is unique. Flexibility is key, and being proficient with all tools is paramount for the professional paint polisher. There are times where I would much rather cut with microfiber but finish with foam, or maybe polish with the rotary and foam but touch up the deepest scratches with microfiber.

    I totally agree that the 5.5″ pads have less vibration than the larger pads, but there are times having a larger pad with more cushion is actually desirable. Something that isn’t truly realized until you’ve been polishing with the microfibers for awhile, then switch it out for a 6 or 6.5″ foam pad!

    My biggest gripe about the microfiber pad has both to do with the longevity of the pads as well as the longevity of the finish. I have discovered and documented a case where polishing with microfiber was far less “durable” than polishing with foam on paint that was severely neglected and for all intents and purposes–everyone that viewed this paint said it was too far gone to save. While microfiber finishing pads are not ideal for soft paint, it’s also not ideal for severely oxidized paint. The problem with the latter is that while the finish will go clear and have every indication that the paint has been restored, in my case, within a month, it reoxidized, and this was repeated twice, until we repolished using the same chemicals but substituting with LC foam pads..it’s no longer visibly degrading, even after nearly 4 months.

    I recently had the chance to correct some Infiniti self healing paint. The microfiber pads did nothing for this paint, but the LC foam pads with the proper compound solved the swirls using just a PC. Is the rotary really on life support? I don’t think so. I’m correcting a red single stage Honda S2000 and the PC isn’t the ideal tool for the correction level I seek, but the rotary gives me exactly the results I demand. Flexibility is key and I think as long as our visual standards are held high and we are needing to correct a variety of paints on the market, the rotary will still be an invaluable tool, especially when the competition down the road is only proficient with the PC.

    Best Regards,

    Richard Lin
    ShowCarDetailing, Black Wow & Detailing Innovations, Inc.

    • Thanks Richard for your thoughts and insights on the subject matter. As with the message of the article, your responses are thought provoking as well. And I think that’s one of the keys here…to create articles and information to the detailing and paint correction industry that are thought provoking to get people (detailers and manufacturers alike) to take a moment to think about what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and to embrace the idea that there might actually be an alternate, or even better way of doing things.

      While there may be endless debates on the subject of compounding with a rotary, the one thing that can’t be debated is how instrumental DA / MF compounding has been in changing a direction and mindset to the industry. It has been such a game-changer that it has created a new level of confidence in enthusiasts and pro detailers alike, and it has forced manufacturers to re-think the ways they are developing products. In any industry, the direction can travel in the same path for a very long time, but with the introduction of one innovative new product or technology, it can be altered on a moment’s notice. And as noted in my article, this is good for everybody involved because the paint correction experts get yet another tool in their arsenal to use, and the manufacturers get to sell more products and continue to grow their businesses.

      I fully agree with you on the fact that there will be paints / cars where compounding via rotary is the only way to go for a variety of reasons. I just finished up a black Ferrari 328 this week that the front end in particular was beat up quite badly. While D/A compounding did a good job of getting it to 80% correct, it simply wouldn’t take it any further. I accepted the fact that to get it to 95%+ I would need to perform a 3-step polishing method via rotary to achieve the level that I desired. But when I worked the rest of the car, I was able to go back to a 2-step with D/A and MF for compounding, and rotary and a black foam pad for finishing. As you stated, this is what really separates the professional from the non-pro…the ability to analyze paints and conditions, and determine what method and/or approach works best (or combination thereof). I think that’s where the non-pro gets stuck…when they stick to one system/product that works great for 90% of the time, and then they don’t know what to do when they come across that “10% car”. Guys like us are well-versed in a lot of different tools, pads, polishes, and techniques and can adapt accordingly when the conditions or requirements alter from the status quo.

      And for finish polishing, I see it as a “rotary-world” right now for most paints. While most of these cars can still achieve an exceptional finish with the DA, the use of a rotary combined with just the right finishing polish can produce just that extra pop. But at the same time, we’ll still run into paints where the rotary won’t work well…but once again we know how to react, and which products to reach for with the D/A to achieve the desired results.

      My ultimate goal here is to get the industry thinking, to get them to continually push forward in product and process development. We’ve been experiencing a lot of technological breakthroughs over the past few years in particular, and the art of detailing has been getting much more attention in the public eye. While we’ve achieved a level of success, I still think that we’re only scratching the surface of what we can achieve!

      Thank you once again Richard for your response, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

      Best regards,
      Todd Cooperider

  9. Hi there,

    All the above is scrumptous ‘food for thought’. I’m a relatively new detailer myself so I’m pretty much in the learning curve. (Are we ever really out of it?)
    I’m going over to the Flex DA, looking for a bit more speed than the PC. I’m also now into three new compound ‘kids on the block’ from CG that really finish down very well, needing only a fine finish in most cases. I’ve found this using just the PC.
    Unfortunately, Todd, you are not enamored with the Flex and it’s forced rotation, which was not good news for me because I’m really going to do my best to love this machine! But what can you say, if anything about these new body shop compound polishes from CG – #700; #721; 778 ?

  10. Hi Todd,

    Do you have anything posted on wet sanding orange peel on repainted vehicle? I have a pretty horrid job coming my way. Also how would you advise following through after the wet sanding stage?

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