BoLin

Random Orbit Buffers - Good, Bad, Help

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Been cleaning/waxing my boats for 20 years using a drill with disk setup and am thinking of switching to a random orbit buffer.  I know nothing at all about them so:

 

-  Good / bad brands

 

 - Best size(s) for a 20' boat

 

- Any thoughts on best speed(s)  Most of the use will probably be with 3M Cleaner & Wax

 

-  Best type of pad/cover to use  (Always used "wool" pads on the drill)

 

- All the other stuff those with experience would know that I'm ignorant of

 

Any and all ideas / suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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If you have access to a large portable air compressor, the ones that are used in body shops are by far the best, Ingersol Rand being the best of these (according to my mechanic son)

 

Electric - not much difference from one to another. This is one of the few times I'll say get the one from Harbor Freight, put the money saved into better sandpaper

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Given a boat with light-moderate oxidation, and the same type of pad and compound / polishing materials -

 

For the random orbital, aka dual action polisher tools I've had, porter cable being my personal favorite, they produce much better results than manually, are safe in terms of not being overly aggressive, and won't over cut high contours / shapes. 

 

But a 7" variable polisher with a "wool" pad will do the job more effectively and efficiently. However, it could cut too much gelcoat if ignorant of machine speed and amount of passes / time on higher shapes. Any diyer could learn to use this type of tool and expect excellent results. Though I could sometimes be very particular with specific named brand tools for certain tasks, for this application I've recently become a fan of inexpensive harbour freight tools that I might only use once a year, and might get 2-3 years out of the tool.

 

Have tried many different products over the years, these are my favorites products and methods for light-moderate oxidation gelcoat. I pick a workable area for a 2-3 hour block of time, ie one of the hull sides, from the rub rail to the water line, from bow to stern.

1. Wash and dry the target area.

2. Meguiars 67 One-Step compound on a "wool" pad and work in with a power 7" polisher at medium speed. Small sections at a time, no more than ~6 square feet, remove immediately while still wet. If it drys, might need to put more on to help get it off. Plan on using many towels to avoid having to work harder with fouled towels. Continue compounding in ~6 square foot sections till the workable area is done.

3. Apply a coat of Rejex polymer sealant. This stuff has the best ease of use vs shine & durability ratio.

4. A week later, rinse, dry and apply a second coat of Rejex.

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

RO buffers are a complete waste of time.

 

Go get a high/variable speed buffer and forget about the toy.

 

I detailed boats for a number of years; dont have time to get into it but you can believe me on this, or not.

 

And you won't cut too much.  Unless you are retarded.

Edited by makorider

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Thx for the info all.  Still pondering the issue and came up with a bit of a quandary.

 

The buffers I've looked at so far are all one speed models rated between 4,000 and 4,800 OPM.  For 3M Cleaner and Wax (which is what I use the most) 3M recommends a buffer speed between 1,500 and 2,000.  Does anyone know if the higher speeds are really a problem?

PS - My father was a carpenter and always taught me to buy the best tools you can afford because the good stuff almost always pays for itself many times over.  Haven't proven him wrong yet.  But for a once a year polish on an old 20' boat that will NEVER see compound again (or anything more aggressive than Cleaner/Wax) I'm having a hard time going better than maybe a mid-range Black & Decker.  And I'm 64 so who knows how long I'll use the damn thing.  Definitely more research is needed.

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A 10" RO will be fine for a 20'er.  Bigger is better & worth the extra couple of bucks. It won't be too heavy & it'll have a handle on either side. 

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On 3/17/2019 at 10:41 AM, makorider said:

RO buffers are a complete waste of time.

 

Go get a high/variable speed buffer and forget about the toy.

 

I detailed boats for a number of years; dont have time to get into it but you can believe me on this, or not.

 

And you won't cut too much.  Unless you are retarded.

Seconded!

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