Orbital vs Rotary Buffer

Discussion in 'Detailing & Truck Care' started by pmd73, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. pmd73

    pmd73 New Member

    Which is the best use,the orbital type or rotary sander/buffer type.And include why.And any links to video will help.
    Planning on buying one but which?
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
  2. PantheraUncia

    PantheraUncia Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts


    99'HEARTBEAT MODERATOR Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    x2.....On going with a Dual-Action Polishers and Orbital Buffers,

    The motors and drive units on these two types of polisher's oscillate in an eccentric circular motion. This type of motion is much safer to the paint because it's virtually impossible to apply too much concentrated pressure in one place at one time. Chances are good that when too much pressure is applied, the oscillating action will come to a stop thereby protecting the finish.

    Because these types of machines oscillate instead of rotate, they will not instill the dreaded buffer swirls or holograms into your finish as long as you use the appropriate chemicals, buffing pads and bonnets. This safety feature makes these machines highly popular with enthusiasts who would like to use a machine but at the same time, are afraid of burning or inflicting swirls into their car's finish.

    Orbital Buffers offer a number of benefits:
    *Uncomplicated, Remove from box, attach buffing pad or bonnet, pug in, turn on, start buffing
    *Versatile, it can be used for cleaning, polishing, and applying waxes.
    *Takes most of the labor out of the process, the machine does the work, all you do is hold it.
    *Faster, more thorough - you can cover more area and do a better job with a machine.
    *Creates a more uniform, higher gloss finish than your hands.
    *Pushes polishing oils and protective waxes into the pores and microscopic surface imperfections far better than your hands can ever accomplish.

    *In recent years, the Porter Cable Dual-Action Polisher has become the machine of choice over the older style Orbital buffers for a number of different reasons:
    *Smaller size and lighter weight makes them easier for anyone to use.
    *Very easy to control, requires no previous experience or skill to use correctly.
    *Smaller size enables you to work on small panels and tight areas easier with better control.
    *More options for buffing pads and bonnets.
    *Velcro® interface makes changing between pads fast and easy.

    Dual-action polishers and Orbital buffers do not have an aggressive enough action to remove small particles of paint in an effort to remove most defects, including sanding marks. This is the same reason Dual-action polishers and Orbital buffers are safe they don't have an aggressive action, thus they are safe. However, because they are safe (do not have an aggressive action), they are not aggressive enough to remove all but the finest of scratches.

    Rotary Buffers
    *Rotary buffers are drastically different in the way they work compared to Dual-action polishers and Orbital buffers.
    *The drive unit used in a rotary buffer is referred to as a direct drive. What this means is the auger, (the threaded part to which the backing plate attaches), is driven directly off the electric motor. This results in a powerful rotating motion. This rotating motion is typically clockwise as you look at the rotary buffer from behind, as though you were using it on a panel.
    *Because the rotary buffer is a direct drive machine, it can do a lot of work very quickly. By work, it means, the rotary buffer can and will remove paint.
    *The average person doesn't want to remove precious paint from their car's finish. However, sometimes removing paint is necessary in order to create a high gloss, defect-free finish. Example: If you have a scratch in your car's finish, say someone keyed your car, or a cat jumped up on the hood and left behind claw scratches.
    *Remember, using a rotary buffer successfully requires both skill and experience. If you use a rotary buffer and are not skilled in its use, you can easily apply too much pressure to the paint and burn right through it, requiring a new paint job. This same result can happen if you use a buffing pad attached to an electric drill.

    Adam's which is a Sponsoring vendor here on this site, Carries/Sells, the Porter Cable, below is their Web Site, and it has some video's, showing the Porter Cable in action, also I have the Porter Cable, and its an Awesome Orbital Polisher, and love it!!

    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
  4. PantheraUncia

    PantheraUncia Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Other than the "major scratches" when I run by the dealership, my paint looks better than the brand new trucks on the lot and it is allot shinier, people turn and "look" because of the glare coming off the paint.

    The people ask me what year it is and how many miles and when I say 2000 (12 years old) and 215,000 miles they can't believe it.

    And my next truck will be black and you will see very few minor scratches in it. )(Black paint is the worst for seeing scratches).
  5. aloxdaddy99

    aloxdaddy99 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    X2 on Adam's Polishing website. The string of video's that are on that site will answer some of your questions. I had some of the same questions till I came across the 7 (I think they are getting ready to release video #8) give a nice how to and give advice on some tricks.
  6. pmd73

    pmd73 New Member

    I do the hand wash and wax and am looking for something to take the wax off.
  7. Curky

    Curky Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    With my experience, I hated the white stuff all in the grooves and stuff. Then I started using a clear dry more expensive wax. It is less work for me to take it off then putting it on. I guess I just prefer to do it by hand. Sorry, I’m no help with your decision.
  8. pmd73

    pmd73 New Member

    I'd like to do it all by hand but don't have the shoulder for that any more and looking for a decent buffer,easy to use,not real expensive,just for taking the wax off..
  9. The Heater

    The Heater Rockstar 100 Posts

    Hello, pmd73. I use a Chamberlain RA wax applicator/remover that I bought at a local auto parts store to put wax on and take it off. They cost maybe $50 or less and you buy washable or throw away bonnets for them to wax your car. VERY safe even for a total bumblesnoot. When I started detailing my cars, I bought a car detailing how to book and it said for wax to buy one of these, because they are fool proof and they save a lot of time.

    As far as rotary versus DA polishers, I concur with the long technical post above where it states, inter alia, that homeowners are not going to be safe with a rotary polisher. It is designed to be used by someone trained in using it and if you don't use it right the result is you can burn your paint all the way down to bare metal.

    Having said that, in skilled hands, I feel the rotary polisher is BETTER than the DA polisher if you are trying to remove surface scratches or even deep scratches or overspray. A variable speed model like what Makita makes. I know how to use a rotary polisher. I trained myself by talking to and watching friends who work in body shops and reading a lot of material from 3M, so it can be done. But I would warn any would be learners to learn on something expendable because it can take off clear coat and paint very quickly if you make a mistake.

    So then you are left with the DA or random orbit polisher. Many out there but the mainstay of the retail detail world is the one made by Porter Cable. You can go onto a number of detailing web sites and buy package deals on this polisher that include different polishing pads and even compound or other paint restoration materials.

    I prefer to use the body shop supply 3M Perfect-It product line. I buy it locally at an auto body supply store. But this is mostly used with an orbital polisher. Some is used with a DA polisher, so it is nice if you know how to use both machines. But if you don't want to or cannot afford to buy both types of polishers, buy a DA polisher like the Porter Cable. If you PM me I can give you two or three web sites that sell these in packages and also sell detailing products for your vehicle. I buy from three or four places.

    DA polishers are used to apply less abrasive paint products or finishing glaze. You can use them with heavy cutting compounds, but you won't get the same results as when you use a rotary polisher, in my opinion.

    You can also use a DA polisher to put on and take off wax. The detailing product stores on line sell pads specifically for this purpose. Orbital polishers cannot be used to wax a car.
  10. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    I use a black and decker 2 speed rotary polisher/sander. It was given to me as a gift. I use a black foam pad on it to apply my polishes or wax. I was never formally trained on the proper use of it. I just did tons of research and figured it out. I have never damaged any paint with it and I have used some "high Cut" polishes with it. I think that the pad I use helps with me not damaging the paint. I also learned to keep it moving and let the polisher do the work. I end up with an amazing shine after I use it. It replaced my DA polisher! It takes half the time as the DA Polisher and looks a lot better. I only apply polish (mequires #7 in my favorite) or wax with the polisher. I remove the wax by hand with microfiber cloths.

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