Best polishing machine

Nick_H

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Any advice on the best machine for non professional use? I had the clean your car DAS6 pro, which was quite good, fairly light, and being dual action is safer for amateurs to use (less chance of burning the gel coat), however I'm a bit disappointed that it's broken already, so I'm not keen on just buying another one the same. The replacement must be really light, so the Silverline type is out, but any other suggestions?
 

gjgm

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Agreed this is not a body building concept, but I am not sure the weight is really that critical unless you intend to take this up as the day job. If you try to use anything with your arms outstretched it is going to get heavy...So, the key I believe is to use the tool ergonomically.
I am a little reluctant to make another recommendation as you clearly seriously abuse your tools ;)
I have the Makita, and it is a nice, smooth running tool. I think MReflections has discovered his uber-tool, though from memory it costs about the same as your 250 outboard !
 

BruceK

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we buy the lightweight Sealey polishers for our valeters, used daily and last for years...

Seconded

I've been using one like this (6 variable speed) for years. A bit heavy to be truthful but getting parts for it (such as a dropped and broken handle) were quick, easy and above all cheap. If you manage to burn it out I'd seriously give the job to a valeter and spare your gelcoat.

https://www.google.co.uk/shopping/p...JJQGcA&ved=0CAQQpis&ei=3cyfVefrCobD7gab0IHgBQ
 

Andrew M

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I've had the Chicago Pneumatic one for several years for doing cars at home and more recently boats. It is the same unit as the Milwaukee.
Excellent bit of kit, nice and light , well balanced, can highly recommend it.

Andy
 

Nick_H

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MR, you obviously had your reasons to delete your post, but I did get to read it first and it was very useful, thanks.
 

TwoHooter

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Seconded

I've been using one like this (6 variable speed) for years. A bit heavy to be truthful but getting parts for it (such as a dropped and broken handle) were quick, easy and above all cheap. If you manage to burn it out I'd seriously give the job to a valeter and spare your gelcoat.

https://www.google.co.uk/shopping/p...JJQGcA&ved=0CAQQpis&ei=3cyfVefrCobD7gab0IHgBQ

I'm not disagreeing but I have noticed elsewhere on these forums the advice is to use random orbital machines, not rotary, because of the difference in speed between the rim and the centre of a rotary disc and the risk of burning the gelcoat. Obviously your experience with the rotary machines has been good - I would be interested to know why you prefer them to orbital machines.

I am probably going to have to cut and polish the hull of a 40ft 22 ton trawler yacht some time soon so I am trying to find out whether I can get extra batteries for this machine which gets rid of the trailing power cord: http://www.sealey.co.uk/PLPageBuilder.asp?id=20&method=mViewProduct&productid=12411
 

Richard10002

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I've just bought a Meguiars polisher. Haven't used it in anger yet, but will be polishing the boat sides soon.
 

Nick_H

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I am probably going to have to cut and polish the hull of a 40ft 22 ton trawler yacht some time soon so I am trying to find out whether I can get extra batteries for this machine which gets rid of the trailing power cord: http://www.sealey.co.uk/PLPageBuilder.asp?id=20&method=mViewProduct&productid=12411

Forget it. The battery will be 3 amp hour max at 18v, which is equivalent to running an 800 watt corded polisher for 4 minutes. In reality it will probably run for about 15 minutes, but without enough power to do the job. You need something corded.
 

Marine Reflections

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MR, you obviously had your reasons to delete your post, but I did get to read it first and it was very useful, thanks.

Thanks Nick, glad it was useful, I felt it wasn't really helping by only offering certain machines. So the more I edited, the more I realised it wasn't a suitable reply and probably only adding confusion.

Just to address the burning concern quickly, it's simply damage of a friction nature, the heat build up between the moving part and the gel coat.

If you press the rotating pad against the surface and hold it there whilst spinning, it will of course create friction.
Friction creates heat, the more friction the more heat, but how much heat is too much and how long is leaving on the surface too long?

It's all down to the material of the moving part, the grade or grit medium used (polish), how fast the head is spinning, the surface and its level of preparation and a few other factors like lubrication of the polish etc.

Gel coat is durable stuff. Able to withstand great temperatures out in the baking sunshine. It takes some doing to create a burn, even for a people who've never even picked up a polisher before.
It's easy to create many types of damage whilst polishing gel coat, but burning isn't an easy one.

To burn some gel coat on purpose (if you wanted to) would require some effort.
It happens when people try to obtain further cutting power by pushing down harder, or spinning faster in one place attempting to create more correctional abilities out of the set up, instead of more suitable repair methods such as sanding for example.

It would start to go a light brown and if you continued polishing it will darken and spread out.
This burning would only be in the top microns of the gel coat and quite easily further correctable at this stage, of course a minute or two held against the surface and no doubt the damage would have encompassed the full depth of the gel coat.
If you avoid doing the above, you will avoid burning the gel coat.

As with the DA you have been using you will already understand the concept of the working face slowing or losing rotation if you press too hard, it will be more oscillation than rotation.
This to an extent will prevent most burning potential, however it would be at a trade off. You would be missing some of the key elements that are desired when polishing large sections of gel coat.

The main reason I'm sure most of those who opt for a rotating and oscillating type of polisher (DA) are trying to minimise damage and the polishers of this type are generally lighter/smaller making access to difficult areas more possible.

There's many reasons why a professional or enthusiast might use several types of machine and different set ups that cater individually for all types of correction.

Some machines may be slow and double geared for compounding, where others smooth and central for polishing. Some DA's are able to be worked with one hand so are the ultimate 'lightweight' some as low as 800grams.
Although I can work my rotary one handed, it is not easy for most, myself included.
Access to different areas can be via attachments / extensions, or a much more forgiving backing pad for curvatures. There are systems that utilise backing pads an inch in diameter..

The rotaries are I guess the best all rounders, if I was to try to do the work of all the correctional tools in one, I would opt for a rotary. At present my favourite is the Flex PE14-2 150, a different machine to most, without doubt the very best rotary available at present IMHO.

It still has flaws in its design that would make me bin it if it were another polisher, but the smooth action of the gearing system, the cooling, the torque and the more silent operation is so ahead of the other rotational polishers.

Flex and Rupes (kind of one of the same) also do rotation / oscillation machines now that are far better than predecessors. They are a more of a merging of the two types (DA / rotary) than ever before though strictly speaking they are DA's.

Rather than just the choice of polisher though there are many other things to consider that make up whole the correction and maintenance processes in order to get the most productivity and ease of use out of the machine.

Tony
 
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Nick_H

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Thanks to all who replied, especially Tony for the excellent advice.

The issue I have in South of France is that the shipyards charge very heavily for polishing, and even then don't use specialists, they just get the antifouling guys to do it. To get round this, I want to be able to use day workers, and I'm willing to accept that I wont get the same results as I would with an expert, but I'm OK with the compromise of 80% of the finish for 30% of the cost (of the shipyards).

It seems that the DA machines are more forgiving of poor technique, less likely to cause GRP damage or holograms in the finish, which is why I prefer this option in the hands of an unskilled operator. I've ordered the Flex XC3401.
 

AndieMac

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Just to add tuppence worth.....

Working with a mechanical buff, rotary type machine, keep it as close to your body as possible at all times, if you feel your elbows wandering too far away from your torso, step closer to the work area to save back-ache.
For those once a season users, protect yourself against the "flying" compound, cover up well, cover-all's, mask, glasses etc.
I always have a water spray bottle ready to go within arms reach of the work/compounded area, keep the compounded area lightly sprayed, especially if it's hot/drying weather.
Keep the speed of the machine low, keep it moving across the job and you will never burn gelcoat.
Whether you are using lambs wool or foam pads, wash them out every couple of hours to remove built-up compound, hose or bucket, whatever you prefer.
 
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