DA/RO polishing machine advice

I’m fed up of applying polish (and wax) by hand, the car is now 4 years old and I’m not getting the swirl correction I want. However, I am a detailing novice and completely cack handed, so very concerned about burning Mazda’s soft paint (I swear it’s just dyed butter) with a machine polisher (aka rotary MOP?).

I’ve been using Gtechniq’s Nano P1 polish by hand with a tri-foam applicator, and I understand this polish also works well by machine since it doesn’t fall away so you can use it at slower speeds (hence less burn risk) and it can be reactivated with water mist (or spritz as the DW folks say :roll_eyes: ), and you use the pad firmness to control the level of cut.

What would be a good entry-level DA/RO (Dual action/random orbital) machine for a novice? It’s only going to be used three-ish times a year so I don’t want to spend much

Oh and do I go 4" or 6"? And do I want the type with two handles, or the one that’s big arm (kinda looks like a grinder)?

Then I’m going to need some pads, any recommendations? I’ll also want a pad suitable for applying wax (I use AG SRP topped with Collinite 845).

Finally I need advice on how to actually use the thing, in terms of speeds, pitfalls etc, I presume someone already knows of some great guide for a tit like me?

Now I’ve never actually polished with a machine (after buying a machine several years ago and chickening out each time I was going to use it).

Recently after many unsuccessful attempts at selling the unused machine (new it’s over £40 and the highest offer I got was £5!) I figured that maybe with my joints how they are I should start letting the machine do all the work (still haven’t though, too wet outside) and looked on YouTube for videos on how to use the style I have:

They do make it look fairly easy, and I know on Wheeler Dealers they just used plain water to wet the sponge and not a special formula as this channel uses (and sells under its’ own brand name).

I think it’s in one of their other videos and not the above, they say that the first type of machine you linked to is better for novices because it has in-built safety features to stop/lessen you damaging your paintwork on the edges while the second type you linked to (and the style as mentioned that mine is) is more for professionals but still easy to use once you use it correctly as shown in the linked video.

Hopefully all the above is of some use to you :slight_smile:

1 Like

If you’re a novice, stick with a random orbit machine, very forgiving and give good results.
The DAS 6 is good value and very versatile and can be picked up cheaply. I’ve just posted some advice on another thread regarding similar.
If you want something with abit more power try a flex forced rotation machine or a rupes big foot. Similar friendly nature but abit more grunt and the longer throw makes the job quicker.

I like scholl polishes s3 gold being a good all rounder. Meguiars professional range is good too as are their pads both the foam and microfibre.

If you look up forensic detailing on YouTube he gives extensive guidence on process and products.

Warning you will always be chasing swirls once you go down the worm hole of polishing :slight_smile:

1 Like

Oh believe me I already am chasing swirls, hence me looking for a DA as I’m fed up of chasing by hand with P1! Gonna try and pick up a second hand DAS6 off ebay as it’s out of budget when new. Then probably bang some CG Hex pads on it?

For polishes I was looking at Scholl S20 Black 1 step rather than S3 Gold as I believe it cuts a bit less (so safer) and allows one product to do it all (that really suits given this will only be an occasional thing), but both seem quite a heavy cut, are they going to be safe to use a few times a year or am I going to run out of clear coat in a few years!? Is there something less aggressive you recommend for use in between; I suppose I could just stick to using SRP which it just fillers really (but my gosh it is dusty!)?

The idea is cut once and main the finish. You shouldn’t need to use it that often if you look after the car I.e wash it safely.

The das polishers are very safe so I wouldn’t worry about stepping up your polishes to heavier cut if needed, the scholl ones break down anyway so they aren’t heavy cut for long.

The hex pads are decent, to start with I’d try a polishing pad (as opposed to a cutting pad) with the s1, complete a section and see if this is working. If not you can step up to a cutting pad or a more abrasive polish.

Srp isn’t really suitable for machine application, it’s more of a hand glaze and has very little cut to it. It’s designed to cover the swirls. I believe auto glym do have a da polishing kit now consisting of a set of pads and polishes though which is meant to be alright.

If you’re local to Cheshire I’m happy to give you some guidance and you can have a go of my das 6 to see how you get on.

This is a decent guide which should help. The ammo nyc videos are also pretty good but very detailed.

Update time: I took the plunge this May and got a bargain Katsu 850W dual action polisher (it was a third of the price of a DAS6 Pro and fine for my occasional use), ended up with both 4 and 5.5" Hex green pads and S20 Black 1 Step - I now see what Alistair meant about DAs being very safe, it’s quite a controlled process, happy with the results but I could’ve gone a bit more aggressive as he suggested. I did machine apply SRP with Hex black pad simply because I had more than half a bottle and it actually went on okay with using a couple of quick passes and was nowhere near as dusty as hand application (it’s old formula SRP)

However, I have a new problem and hoping @Montana or others can advise… the car had some areas resprayed previously and a big chunk of lacquer came off the nose during washing. I know it really needs professional respray but in the meantime, how would I get on using the DA and Mazda’s chip paint to patch it? I was thinking an aggressive but well lubed compound like a Koch H8.02 using the firmest 4" pad I can get my hands on to smooth off the edges, brushing on lacquer then compounding again and polishing. But I have concerns if any DA would provide enough cut to make a notable difference and if I risked breaching the clearcoat of the surrounding good paint. Hopefully such a setup I could then spot use on some deeper scratches too?

And as a side note, is the 4" pad suppose to vibrate much more than the 5.5"; I’m only really comfortable with it at speed 3.5 vs speed 6 (max) on the 5.5"? Do 4" pads cut more or less?

Really pleased you went for a polisher and had a good experience. The hex pads are good.

Tbh I’ve not noticed a difference in cut or vibration between the larger and smaller pad. The smaller ones with the appropriate size backing plate can give you firmer pressure against the paint so you may get the effect of a faster cut. They’re very useful for smaller areas like spoilers or around the panel behind the roof etc

In terms of your lacquer peel you’ve answered your own question really there’s not much you can do without respraying.

If it were my car I would leave well alone and have it sanded back and recleared by a body shop it wouldn’t be too expensive.

In terms of a DIY fix if you wanted to touch it in with touch up type clear I would apply it with an artists brush until it sits proud of the gap left by the flaked off paint.

I would then wet sand it back with 1200 grit wet and dry (soaked in a bucket of water and washing up liquid for lube) go careful…. Keep drying it and feeling with your hand until it’s looking uniform. I would then sand the whole panel with 2000 grit until it’s a uniform matte finish.

You would then need to polish it with a compound like farcela g3 or meguiars 105 and follow up with a polishing pad and a lighter polish.

But….save the effort for yourself and have it recleared it’s a few hours work for a competent body shop :joy:

Thanks for the advice, I had a bad feeling you’d mention wet sanding which frankly sounds bloody terrifying!
The area has already been sprayed twice (first repair failed like this one has now) and I’ve lacquer issues with a different bodyshop working on the passenger door too; it seems without Mazda genuine paint they’re have issues getting the tinted clearcoat to bond? Anyway my thought is I’d patch up and then see what else decides to fall off before getting it sprayed!

It’s nothing to be afraid of, I went on a course with a detailer to do wet sanding quite often it can take off less total material than a compound. He did a demo and took paint depth readings before and after and although wet sanding removed some of the surface texture it appeared to remove less overall material in some cases using 2000 grit.

It sounds as if when it’s been repaired previously they’ve not keyed the surface properly prior to clear coating I.e they’ve sanded too fine prior to top coat. Or they’ve used a 1k clear which is often used for small smart repairs. This quite often doesn’t have the resiliance of a cured 2k finish (2 part hardened paint).

Look at it this way if your clear is lifting what have you got to lose by wetsanding it… it will have to be redone anyway at some point

1 Like