Car Polishing Machines and the Difference Between Rotary, Dual Action & Orbital

When looking to buy a polishing machine we often get asked if Rotary car polishing machines are suitable for first-time users and what the main differences are between Rotary, Dual Action and Orbital car polishers.

Rotary Polishers

The motor on these machines directly drives the polishing head that fixes directly to the backing plate onto which you fix your cutting, polishing or finishing pad.

This means all the power, and there can be a vast amount of it, is directly driving the rotation of the machine down onto and across your paintwork – too much pressure and you can quickly burn through your paintwork.

However the upside is that if you are seeking to do paint correction the Rotary is more suited to this type of work as it will allow you to take the paint layers down further and quicker than either a Dual Action or Orbital.

Many professional detailers use a rotary car polishing machines for both speed and where required for full paint correction details. However many will be the first to admit they started out with a Dual Action such as the original Porter Cables before moving onto the Rotary car polishing machines.

Dual Action Polishers

Image showing difference in motion of dual action and rotorary car polishing machinesThis unique action prevents the creation of holograms (symmetrical buffing marks), paint burns and other forms of paint damage often associated with rotary polishers.

The Dual Action polishing machine is ideally suited to light scratch and swirl removal and deep shine buffing – it would not be the ideal choice for the removal of deeper scratches where your finger nail “jarrs” when passed over the scratch (the finger nail test).

Orbital Buffers

These tend to have larger heads and dual handles that allow the machine to be pressed onto the paintwork. The also tend to work at lower speeds and have a single “jiggle” movement rather than spin.

They are ideal for applying product deep into the paintwork over a larger area and removing same (using different bonnets). They are however not as versatile as the Dual Action car polishing machines, which will allow the use of different size plates and pads and work at higher speeds, whilst being more user friendly than a Rotary.

The Dual Action as by its name combines two actions, one the rotating of the plate holding your pad and the other is the oscillation of the spindle. An easier way to understand this is comparing it to the action of the earth – which itself spins, whist at the same time orbits, or oscillates around the sun.

The motor on these machines directly drives the polishing head that fixes directly to the backing plate onto which you fix your cutting, polishing or finishing pad.

This means all the power, and there can be a vast amount of it, is directly driving the rotation of the machine down onto and across your paintwork – too much pressure and you can quickly burn through your paintwork.

Which Car Polishing Machine Should I Choose?

Your choice of machine really depends on what you want to achieve and your level of confidence (experience). The beauty of some of the latest car polishing machines is both the introduction of digital speed control and the lighter weight. The speed on some machines can be set in increments from 500 rpm to 3000 rpm, making them more user-friendly than traditional rotary machines. It does however still need to be treated with respect.

The Dual Action Car Polisher (DA) machines whilst not being equal to a rotary when it comes to paint rectification work, will produce excellent, professional-looking results with the added benefit that it is much harder to do any serious damage to your paintwork than it is with a rotary.

And lastly if you are seeking simply to save time and cover large areas the traditional dual handled orbital buffer may be the ideal choice.

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VEVOR Gem Faceting Machine 120W Jade Grinding Polishing Machine 50-1800RPM Rock Polisher Jewel Angle Polisher with Mechanical Handle Rock Jewel Angle Polisher for Gem Jade Stone Crystal
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  • 【PRECISION MANIPULATOR】 - It is high-efficiency for you to polish gems at multiple angles and heights with the 96 gear mechanical handle. The bearing handle is connected with the fixed base, which facilitates smooth rotation, reduces shaft loss, and improves the product's stability.
  • 【HEAVY-DUTY STAINLESS STEEL】 - The grinding disc of the faceting machine is built with stainless steel for sturdiness, easy cleaning & corrosion resistance. Its maximum diameter reaches 150 mm to polish different jewelry quickly.
  • 【LIGHT & BUCKET DESIGN】 - The lapidary faceting machine is equipped with a lamp, independent switch and can be moved at various angles to provide a brighter line of sight. And the water bucket and drain pipe are designed to add water and drainage during the polishing process.
  • 【FUNCTIONAL ACCESSORIES】 - Our gem polisher machine is an ideal tool for jewelry manufacturing and maintenance workers. We provide you with functional accessories, including a hand-held magnifying glass, precise caliper, gem viscose, and agate knife. These accessories help you grind and polish gems in a breeze.
Bestseller No. 2
Metal Grinding Machine Metallographic Polisher Specimen Grinder Sample Polishing Machine 110V
  • Diameter of the disc: ∮200mm. Speed: 1400r/min. Power supply: 110V/60Hz.
  • Smooth transmission, low noise, convenient operation and maintenance. It can meet the polishing requirements of most kinds of materials.
  • After polishing the sample on the polishing machine, a bright mirror-like surface can be obtained.
  • In the preparation of the metallographic sample, the polishing of the sample is a main process.
  • Application:The machine is suitable for the metallographic laboratory of factories and mines, universities and research institutes.
Bestseller No. 3
Pneumatic Burnishing Polishing Machine Air Wire Drawing Machine with 3Pcs Non-Woven Burnishing Polishing Wheels(80# 320# 600#) fits Polisher/Sander Metal, Stainless Steel Polishing
  • The professional linear surface Finisher for flat, curved or pipe applications. It is compact, lightweight and heavy duty. Ideal for graining, polishing, brushing, blending, deburring, cleaning welds, roughing and more.
  • For removing rust, oxide layers, scratches, applied for stainless steel, steel non-ferrous metals, plastic, and wood on the grinding, polishing, fine polishing (mirror work), for using on cast iron, steel, stainless steel, and nonferrous metals
  • Sand Tray Size:100mm x 120mm ;Air Pressure:90Psi-6.2kg/cm ;Air Inlet:1/4'';No-load speed:3000r.p.m
  • Used For tarnishing, burnishing, and polishing stainless steel and nonferrous metals
  • Thickened protective cover for safer use
Bestseller No. 4
SPTA Mini Polishing Machine Buffer Rotary Polisher Auto Detailing Superpolish with 27Pcs Detail Polishing Pad Mix Size Kit Buffing Pad and 75mm,100mm,140mm M14 Thread Extension Shaft
  • ◆What You Will Have◆ 1pc Superpolish R3 mini polisher, 18pcs mixed polishing and wool polishing pads, 3pcs mixed size polishing backing pads, 1pc extension shaft and our best service.
  • ◆Applicatons◆ Used for all kinds of coat paints's waxing, polishing and sealing glaze, to clean and improve their lightness; As well as for auto car detail polishing.
  • ◆Specifics◆ Prime quality wool pad, sponge pad, bendable, washable and reusable. Different colored sponges have different softness, they will meet all your requirements, suitable for polishing rough and small areas. With Adhesive backing, you can change pads just in seconds.
  • ◆Material◆ Made of High Quality sponge and wool, all sponge polishing pads can be cleaned for reusing. Efficient cutting and polishing the most difficult car oxidation coating, scratches. Can be used in pneumatic or electric polishing machine.
Bestseller No. 5
Hi-Tech Diamond 8" All-U-Need | Lapidary Rock Mineral Grinding Polishing Machine | Includes Accessory Kit
  • Complete flat lap machine that is one of the best on the market. Grind, shape and polish stones, minerals, synthetic material and metals on the All-U-Need.
  • Included accessory kit allows you to work right out of the box. Comes with everything you need to complete the entire rough-to-polish-process.
  • Powerful 1/4 hp, heavy-duty, ball bearing motor with variable speed, delivering speeds from 800rpm to 3,400rpm. Work at the speed you desire.
  • Made of lightweight, rustproof, impact-resistant material with small footprint. Easy to travel with and portable.
  • Manufactured in the U.S.A. Comes backed with a one-year warranty.

2 Comments

  • Man and Van Cambridge
    Posted January 3, 2012 3:11 pm 0Likes

    Dodo Juice Machine takes my vote. One of the positive point is that it is the lightest weight in its category and speed can be adjusted easily. It gribs well in hand and less chance of slipping.

    I have one, and it is very reliable and long lasting. It consume less power and gribs very easily. The size of the pad is also very reasonable…remember. bigger pad tends to slip and are not good while doing the corners.

    • Fax
      Posted July 23, 2012 6:24 pm 0Likes

      Hey mate, thinking of getting one dodo juice, how has it been treating you in the last six months. Thanks faz

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