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Rupes vs Flex


Ls1transam
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Opinions welcome. I have a Rupes 15mm MKll. I'm not pro but I've logged a few hours of time with it. There are certain situations were the pad just will not spin. My pad isn't overloaded with product or too little. And no matter how I hold it, there are certains times it just will not spin. I know some of it is me. But there are times I wonder if I should have bought the Flex 3401. Maybe the Rupes is a better option since I am still learning? Is the Flex more aggressive since it has forced rotation even though it also acts like a DA? What polisher do you use, which do you think is better and why? I have never used a 3401 so I can't say anything about it. Heard lots of good things though. I'm just kinda thinking out loud I guess.

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If the pad is not spinning it is because of how much weight you are applying to the Polisher. If you hold the Polisher and don't push down the pad should spin freely, if it does not spin freely when applying no weight there may be an issue with your Polisher. The Rupes is the better option if you are still learning.

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​Hi John,

 

​I can offer an opinion, and maybe some advice on the Rupes "stopping or slowing down" on curves.

 

​Have a Flex, Rupes MK 11, and Cyclo, and the Flex does correct faster, BUT the trade-off is that it is more difficult to operate since it has forced rotation in the counter clockwise direction.

 

​It can be learned, but again that would require time and practice.

 

​On the Rupes, are you using it on speed 4 for correcting?

That speed seems the best to correct and prolong pad life, as the heat build up in the pads was a concern.

 

​You may need to bump it up a bit speed wise, but slow your process down on the curved areas to prevent "stalling."

 

​Just my opinion, and hopefully can get you squared away decision wise.

 

​Both are great professional machines, and all of them have benefits and limitations.

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If he has a rupes mk2 the swirl killer isn't gonna be any better for him . I think just some technique is all that needed here . Keep practicing op u will get it . Fwiw I own a cyclo and don't have any issues keeping the pads moving. Maybe it's the size of the pads idk.

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If the pad is not spinning it is because of how much weight you are applying to the Polisher. If you hold the Polisher and don't push down the pad should spin freely, if it does not spin freely when applying no weight there may be an issue with your Polisher. The Rupes is the better option if you are still learning.

I only have pad stall or slowing on contoured panels. I can hold zero pressure and it will stall. I'm really hoping it's my technique and not the machine. Surely I didn't get a defective polisher right out of the box. I hope not.

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​Hi John,

 

​I can offer an opinion, and maybe some advice on the Rupes "stopping or slowing down" on curves.

 

​Have a Flex, Rupes MK 11, and Cyclo, and the Flex does correct faster, BUT the trade-off is that it is more difficult to operate since it has forced rotation in the counter clockwise direction.

 

​It can be learned, but again that would require time and practice.

 

​On the Rupes, are you using it on speed 4 for correcting?

That speed seems the best to correct and prolong pad life, as the heat build up in the pads was a concern.

 

​You may need to bump it up a bit speed wise, but slow your process down on the curved areas to prevent "stalling."

 

​Just my opinion, and hopefully can get you squared away decision wise.

 

​Both are great professional machines, and all of them have benefits and limitations.

Yes I am using speed 4. I know there are thousands of threads about this. It just seems in some situations the pad will not spin no matter how I hold the machine. It's very frustrating.

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If he has a rupes mk2 the swirl killer isn't gonna be any better for him . I think just some technique is all that needed here . Keep practicing op u will get it . Fwiw I own a cyclo and don't have any issues keeping the pads moving. Maybe it's the size of the pads idk.

I have the MKll. I would love to let someone who it well experienced use it to see what they think. If they say, hey nothings wrong here it's bad technique. I'd go on and continue learning.

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For example. See the raised edge on the outside of this hood? This is a corolla, I was practicing on one of these cars over the weekend. (Moms daily commuter). My pad stalls on that raised edge. As soon as the pad goes across it, it stalls or slows wayyyyy down.

 

9FDD8A13-68FE-4888-BEFC-4BC71013983D_zps

Edited by Ls1transam
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It's just hard to control the flex.l due to the forced rotation and I'm not old either. You realky have to hold it in place and watch it around body lines. I do like it still only issue is the 5.5 pads Adams has don't fit on the backing plate and I wanted to use the heavy correcting compound so I used the sk. Rupes mark2 is probably one of if not the best machine out there. It's like just your technique. I didn't have the sk stall on me at all from what I remember. Maybe just not put so much pressure on it

Edited by 2012srt8
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What makes it a chore? Does it vibrate? Is it heavy??

Yes it has vibration.more then a sk not sure about a rupes. I'd say it's no heavier then the rest5-6 lbs

I still have to do the finishing polish on a car this weekend and I may use the flex so I can use my 7 inch pads.maybe I can take a video so you can see how it will try to "walk" away on me

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I have 2 Porter Cables and a Flex 3401.PC with 4 in backing plate other with a 6. Porter c has lots of vibration but great for starting out and great to do small areas, I use one for 4 inch pads and the other with a 6 to apply sealant to give my Flex a rest. Nothing cuts better than my Flex though. I've used a Swirl Killer, not the cutting speed of the Flex but a very nice machine. I guess if you are picking a machine for home use or doing it professionally it would matter as well. If a machine stalled like mentioned above, that would not be cool !! Time is money. Here is a vette I id this weekend. This is a pic of how bad the swirls are, the pic with the detailers tape is one pass with the Flex, gen 2 Adams pads and (old) orange paint correcting polish. Car was clayed with Adams Visco clay bar,2 step paint correction, Adams B Glaze, and finished with Adams Americana. You make the call from here about the machine. 

 

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Wow that's awesome work. That car looks new again. Did you remove the badge then buff to get those scratches out? This pad stall is killing me. I know some of its my technique, but sometimes it just will not spin! I wish I could use a Flex to get my own opinion on it.

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I can't speak to the ease of a Rupes, but I do own a Flex 3401. Generally speaking, the Flex is a strong machine! I didn't attempt to stall the pad. This buffer will work and work with no stalling in sight. All of this power does come at an expense. The Flex is a heavy duty GERMAN made machine. The buffer constantly tries to walk all over. It took me a few buffing sessions to finally "master" the technique. This machine needs to be balanced perfectly level when polishing. There is definitely a learning curve. Such an amazing machine, but if using for a finishing polish or wax application, it's not the quickest or easiest route. Every buffer has its place. The FLEX is the right machine for taking out some heavy swirls/scratches. If you just have light imperfections to clean up, I would recommend trying something else.

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Just to add... My passenger side C pillar has some tight angles. It was difficult to polish out to perfection because of "buffer walk". The results do speak for themselves though. White paint isn't known for the best reflections (i.e. Black/Red) but I was able to remove almost 100% of the imperfections with simply 1-2 passes with a medium polishing pad. The Flex can and will produce amazing results as long as your willing to spend some time learning this heavy machine. See the panel for yourself.

 

Flex 3401 Results

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Lots of great info here!  

 

My 2 cents - the Flex 3401 will try 'walk' when you hit a body line (think hood crease), and is a great machine.  I recommend shooting a video of yourself polishing a flat surface.  With the Rupes machines the key is having the pad as flat a possible (side-to-side, and front-to-back), and with the  long throw. a slight deviation can 'stall' the pad.  I first used a Rupes when helping a friend on a detail, and he shot some video for the write-up.  When I saw the playback, I was stunned at how much I was titling the machine.     

 

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I only have pad stall or slowing on contoured panels. I can hold zero pressure and it will stall. I'm really hoping it's my technique and not the machine. Surely I didn't get a defective polisher right out of the box. I hope not.

 

Can you take a video of it happening while you're polishing? About the only way we will be able to tell if its technique or the polisher itself.

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this has been debated so many times on some many sites.  they are really apples and oranges.  each has it use and place.  I have both and use both.  The rupes takes more finesse and technique something you will get only from experience.  The flex will just power though anything

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