Purchasing your first Machine Polisher can be intimidating, just the thought of using what looks like an angle grinder on your baby makes you shiver! So many pads, backing plates…… so may Compounds/Swirl removers…I AM CONFUSED. Let us make you first polisher experience a pleasurable one and put confidence into your decision!
CCS Pads?? What are they?
CCS stands for “closed cell structures". CCS is a popular new design by Lake Country. Conventional pads can absorb polish too quickly which reduce polish and pad performance because most of the polish is trapped below the working surface of the pad. CCS technology solves this common problem by placing strategic patterns of partially closed foam cells.
Slows rate of polish absorption – As discussed above, the pads are slow to absorb products and therefore the paint benefits from a longer working time. The same is true of liquid waxes and sealants.
Improves operator control – CCS pockets gradually release polish as needed by the operator. Since these areas are not absorbing polish, they serve as little reservoirs until the excess polish is needed.
Prevents pad skipping – CCS pockets reduce surface tension allowing the operator to run pad flat on a working surface. Basically, the CCS pockets break up the smooth surface of the foam to eliminate the sticking and skipping that occurs when two perfectly flat surfaces meet.
Creates less heat – CCS pockets provide several points where the foam is not completely touching the paint. This reduces friction and therefore heat generated between the pad and the paint.
OEM approved – OEM tests confirm CCS pads out-perform convoluted pad designs.
Now which pads do YOU need
First let’s talk about what pads do. Foam pads come in different compositions; they work in conjunction with liquid compounds, swirl removers, polishes, and waxes/sealants. Each pad only differs in texture providing more or less cut, sometimes no cut at all! The two work as a team and endless combinations of abrasion can be combined by changing the pad and liquid product.
Compounding/Swirl Removal Pads -The first category of pads are for compounding or swirl removal. Compounds are the most aggressive type of swirl removers dedicated for the most severe jobs including heavy oxidization and scratch removal. Swirl removers are the same as compounds but just a less aggressive type used for mild-medium oxidization and scratches/swirls.
We currently carry two pads for Compounding/Swirl Removers,
Orange Light Cutting Foam 6.5 inch - Firm, high density foam for scratches and defect removal. Use this pad with polishes and swirl removers. It’s an all around pad that will work on most light to moderate imperfections. Orange pads are the most recommended for any type of swirl removal.
The two pads above would be used with Heavier Compounds/Swirl Removers such as,
Because these pads will be used to remove defects the Polisher will be used on higher speeds such as 5-6 which is required to break down the product (See our swirl removal article for more info).
Polishing/Light Swirl Removal Pads- The second category is one of the most flexible pads and most often used. Polishing/Light Swirl Removal pads are used for mild swirls, oxidization and polishing.
White Polishing Foam 6.5 inch - Less dense foam formula for the application of waxes, micro-fine polishes and sealants. This pad has very light cutting power so it’s perfect for pre-wax cleaners.
This versatile pad is used often. It is used after the Yellow/Orange Pad to remove haze (More info further down); it is used for mild swirl removal and is also used for Polishes, Pre-Waxes and One step (All-In-One) type products such as
This pad would be used at the same speeds 5-6 just as compounding when using a mild Swirl Remover and lower speeds 3-4 for products that have little or no abrasive properties such as one step products or pre-wax products.
Polishing/Finishing (All-In-One Products)
Green Polishing/Finishing Foam 6.5 inch - Use this foam to apply one-step cleaner waxes. It is a balance of polishing and finishing that is perfect for all-in-one product application such as,
and other "All-In-One" products
Finishing Pads- Your last step is toapply a product that needs no abrasion at all,products like Waxes, and Sealants.
Black Finishing Foam 6.5 inch - Composition is firm enough to withstand added pressure during final finishing to remove buffer swirls. It has no cut and will apply thin, even coats of waxes, sealants, and glazes.
Blue Finessing Foam 6.5 inch – Flat pad has soft composition for applying glaze, finishing polish, sealants, and liquid waxes. Flat pad provides full contact with paint surface to minimize the pressure applied by the user.
These completely non-abrasive pads are for your final finish! They both perform the same duty. The Black pad can be used with a mild abrasive where the lightest cut possible is required whereas the Blue Pad is too soft to withstand any pressure to effectively work a light swirl remover. Most customers purchase either but usually do not require both. Use finishing products such as,
Using Pads systematically- Are you wondering why one doesn’t just use the most aggressive pads to achieve the best results? I mentioned earlier that the white is often used after using the yellow/orange pad. A pad combined with a compound or swirl remover removes defects via abrasives. A more aggressive combination will often leave a haze. This haze makes the surface look dull, foggy, or milky. This is perfectly normal. The dullness is causes by the abrasives and pad combination which actually removed a thin layer of paint, this dullness can only be restored by using a less aggressive combination such as a lighter swirl remover and a lighter pad (usually the white pad). You will very rarely be able to jump right from a Yellow/Orange pad to a pre-wax, polish or finishing step. This rule does not always apply to light swirl removal where the first pad was either white, black or blue, most of the time for light jobs you are able to either use the white pad with a one step product and finish or use the white pad with a pre-wax/polish then finish with the black or blue pad.
Sample plans of attack- Here are some sample questions we receive and how they would be answered, you will notice most of the time the pad selection is very similar.
Customer: I have a Black Honda that has moderate swirls that I would like to remove then Polish and wax the paint. The swirls are not terrible, just enough to bug me. I have heard great things about Optimum products so I would like to use them.
Our Thoughts: Ok, he/she has some swirls…automatically I recommend at least ONE Orange pad. He may not need it but it is better to have it if the white is too mild. Because I am going to recommend an Orange pad I know he/she will have to use the White pad afterwards to remove the haze so I recommend one White pad for Mild Swirl remover. I will then recommend another White for the Polish step. Depending on what type of product he want to use as a polish (A one step product for example) I will end there.
“Customer, I recommend the following procedure based on the condition you described,
The above combination of pads is the most commonly recommended by us (One Orange, and Two White). We will also often recommend a fourth pad if the customer was going to use a two step product after swirl removal. For example, if the customer wanted to use Optimum for Swirl removal and finish off with Wolfgang the recommendation would be more like,
Step 1. Optimum Compound on an Orange Mild Cutting Pad
Always make sure you have an ace up your sleeve, don’t order just white pads and a mild swirl remover because you think that should do, it is always a good idea to have an Orange Pad and a Compound just in case. It is better than having to place a separate order when you find you combination is too mild; chances are even if you have no need for it now you will use it in the future!
Customer: I just purchased a new vehicle and I want to treat it with a Polish and wax. I am not looking at any type of compounds right now; I just want to protect it.
Our Thoughts: He/she said they want to polish AND Wax, they did not ask for a one step product. This customer can get away with only two pads which are one White Pad for the Polish and one Black or Blue pad for the Wax. Because the majority of the time the customers are enquiring about a Swirl Buster kit which comes with three pads I will recommend a second White Pad because the White pad can be used for a light Swirl Remover if the future may need or it can act as a back-up to his polishing pad after extended use. We will use Klasse as an example
Don’t bring a bazooka to a knife fight- Always TRY the least aggressive approach first, only step up the pad or product if necessary.Don’t automatically assume you will need to start with an Orange Mild Cutting Pad and a Compound just because you have the products, try the White Polishing pad first on a spot and see if it will do the job; if it does you can save time by not having to compound! If the trial proves too mild, then step up to a more aggressive pad/compound.
Mix and match- As you gain experience you will learn you can mix and match products to achieve many levels of abrasion. For example, you may have just tried a White Polishing Pad with a Light Swirl Remover such as Poorboy’s SSR2.0. You found it was just not quite abrasive but feel jumping up to an Orange Mild Cutting Pad and SSR2.5 may be too much so you compromise! Try either the Same White pad with SSR2.5! Remember both the pad AND the product have their OWN abrasion level so mixing Hot and cold will make warm!
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