View Full Version : Removing Swirls With Machine Polishing

26-10-2010, 09:02 PM
I've learned a lot recently about swirl/scratch removal through reading up on paint correction and working on my car personally with this - http://waxit.com.au/proddetail.asp?prod=DA6008&cat=69 . A Random orbital or dual action machine with foam pads is very safe to use compared to rotary machines which can cause damage in the wrong hands.

The only way to remove swirls from most paintwork is to use a machine and abrasive polish/es. Polishes vary in abrasiveness to achieve different levels of 'cut' depending on the severity of swirls. Polishing actually removes some of the clear coat from the vehicle, thus leveling the paint surface and removing swirls. This is not as scary as it sounds, the thickness of paint on most vehicles is between 100-200 microns and this process usually removes 1-2 microns max.

Hand polishing is not effective on paints typically found on HSVs. The reason I say this is that I have experienced this first hand. A lot of polishes bought from Autobarn, Supercheap etc. including Meguiars, Mothers and Autoglym don't contain abrasives and are actually glazes that contain fillers which hide swirls. After these 'polishes' are used the finish appears to be swirl free. Most people will wax their car after polishing which temporarily seals the finish. When the car has been subject to weather and regular washing these products will eventually wear off and swirls will re-appear. Don't get me wrong a good finish can be achieved with these products, but the finish that can be achieved with machine polishing is at another level.

The products I used were generally no more expensive than premium brands available from the likes of Autobarn, Supercheap etc. that I have used in the past. The brand of product I used was Poorboys, this is on the lower end of prices for products available in Australia from dedicated car detailing sites.

The process I went through to remove swirls from my car went as follows.

1. Rinse entire car with hose to remove as much dirt as possible before washing.

2. Wash car in shade using 2 bucket method. For this first and only wash use dish-washing liquid - it can help remove old layers of wax/polish. One bucket with soapy mix and a good quality microfibre wash mitt, one fresh water bucket to wash Mitt after each section. Wash car in sections, rinsing as you go so soap doesn't dry on car. Then rinse entire car and 'sheet' water off car using hose with no attachment and steady flowing water.

3. Dry off entire car using a Microfibre drying towel, Waffle Weave drying towel or Microfibre chamois.

4. Clay bar all paintwork on car using clay lube. This removes contaminants that washing will not remove prior to polishing. Do a section approx 600mm x 600mm at a time and wipe off residue with a Microfibre towel.

5. Machine polishing stage. Mask up all plastic trim first. A halogen work light will show up swirls whilst polishing. Depending on the severity of swirling generally a 1,2 or 3 stage machine polish may be needed to remove all swirls. Do a test section starting with the least abrasive polish, moving up in abrasiveness until all swirls are removed. If a harsh 'cut' is needed then a second and sometimes third step is needed to improve the finish from the previous stage. Once process is determined on test section then complete stages for entire car. Work sections approx 600mm x 600mm at a time and wipe off polish residue with a microfibre cloth.

6. Once polishing is complete wipe down all paintwork with Isopropanol Alcohol to remove polishing residues. At this stage paintwork is clean and swirl free and needs to be protected.

7. Apply a synthetic paint sealant, a sealant is more durable than waxing and provides protection and shine. This is done with machine on low speed using a finishing pad to spread over all paintwork. Leave product for one hour and then buff off residue by hand with microfibre cloth.

8. Repeat step 7. Do this 12 hours later to let first coat cure.

9. Apply a layer of quality Carnauba wax in another 12 hours after second coat of sealant has cured. This provides depth to reflections on top of shine from the paint sealant.

Now that I have completed this process I will wash as above weekly with a ph neutral car shampoo, this will not remove wax/sealant . After each wash I will dry as above and then go over car with a quick detailer and Microfibre cloth. Each month I will apply a fresh coat of wax. I will in the future try some higher end products to see how much better still the results can be.

The process above will be repeated in 9-12 months. But this will likely only require a minimal 1 stage polish as proper washing and care will keep new swirls to a minimum.

I hope some information here might help people get their ride looking its absolute best.

Cheers Dan

26-10-2010, 10:48 PM
Think I am going to get one of those random orbital things as my elbows are wearing out, very good effort and a good post as well dan08R8.

27-10-2010, 08:04 PM
be very carful the slightest bit of heat and you can burn you paint it depends how much paint/ condition is on each panel etcetc its better getting a pro to do machine polishing. or try, yourself but not with a supercheap auto one. just helping out as my family have been in panel beating, spray painting for 25 years, good luck

27-10-2010, 09:36 PM
Using a random orbital/dual action buffer with foam pads produces little to no heat and is very safe. Be very careful when choosing a Pro to do paint correction, there are many Pro detailers that do excellent work, but also far too many that call themselves Pros that do more harm than good.

28-10-2010, 08:34 AM
I agree. I also use the DAS-06 and have had extremely good results with it. Its very easy to use, I had no hesitation in using it on my paintwork with fear of burning the paint. I know of way too many 'pro detailers' that I wouldn't let touch my ride. There's only a certain few that get better results than I do now.

This is my latest effort, I presume the car was literally washed with a scourer. No way in the world those would come out with elbow grease!


28-10-2010, 12:12 PM
Great result you got there white_lie! A lot a people have negative views on buffing machines, probably due to reading about horror results achieved from poor equipment and operators. I to had no hesitation on using the das-6 and the results speak for themselves.

28-10-2010, 07:41 PM
What RPM does the das-6 rotate at?

The car in the above post looks like it is cromed!

28-10-2010, 08:52 PM
What RPM does the das-6 rotate at?

The car in the above post looks like it is cromed!

That's what I thought too....sick paint job....wicked results.

28-10-2010, 11:16 PM
Its variable, from 2500-6800RPM.

The photo I posted is a factory black `05 Prado Grande. Nothing special about the paint, it was in very bad condition though!

29-10-2010, 01:18 AM
What RPM does the das-6 rotate at?

The car in the above post looks like it is cromed!

The das-6 is not a rotary polisher. It is a dual action polisher and oscillates at 2500-6800 OPM. It does rotate but the rotating action is not gear driven so when you apply pressure while polishing the rotation action is limited. This is why these types of machines are much safer than rotary polishers. A good rotary polishing machine suitable for paint correction will have an RPM range between about 400-2500.

Dual action machines are generally safer when beginning machine polishing, they however take longer to remove deep swirls and scratches. This is why experienced users will go to a rotary as they produce results faster, but the risk is they can burn paint if used incorrectly.

29-10-2010, 11:06 AM
Who sells the Kestrel DAS-6 and what is the approx cost for this device? Does the kit also come with the polishing pads?

29-10-2010, 10:26 PM
Who sells the Kestrel DAS-6 and what is the approx cost for this device? Does the kit also come with the polishing pads?

I bought mine from here http://waxit.com.au/products.asp?cat=69

You can also order from http://www.carcareproducts.com.au/products/all_brands/car_accessories/buffing_machines

Both offer packages that include polishes and pads.

29-10-2010, 10:51 PM
Thanks for that, so I take it you cannot purchase this item from your generic auto stores such as Supercheap, Repco, Autobarn, etc...

30-10-2010, 12:05 AM
Don't know where else they are available, but they do have locations in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney if you want to check them out in person.