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Old 02-13-2014, 08:37 PM   #1
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Side Grinder vs. Polisher

Really confused about which polishing tool to buy. Seems logical to buy a "polisher" but they're hard to find in my area and expensive when compared to a side grinder of the same make. Thing is, a few of the "how to" videos and blogs that I really respect recommend...or casually mention...using a side grinder. My concern is, how do you hold a side grinder to 1800-3000 RPM when they all seem to be rated at 8000+ RPM? If its trigger control, I can't imagine doing that for 200 hours!
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Old 02-13-2014, 08:44 PM   #2
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Great question! I'm curious for the opinions on this one!
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Old 02-13-2014, 08:56 PM   #3
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Hey JimCat2000- I went through the same dilemma. Ended up going the polisher route. Have about 7 years of experience detailing cars out of high school, and have always done my own vehicles ever since, I felt more comfortable with high speed buffer type, with a wool pad. I questioned what I would buy, as name brand goes, since my experience is with professional quality milwaukee, dewalt, etc. I went with the $29 Harbor Freight and have been pleased. If you want name brand, there is a milwaukee on C-list right now in Tampa for $135 -has been on there a while so maybe negotiable. I had some old wool pads, but not enough for this type of job, so I bought about a dozen on ebay from $4 bucks each.

For polishing compound, I think you'll see alot of different opinions, but I think Nuvite is the favorite. I had no idea what grade to buy, so I bought 1 of each. I thought I'd be able to polish with the finer grades, but I've got some oxidation that F9 seems to be the ticket. As I remove this layer, I may use the finer grades to get more out of it. Right now, I'm just wishing I have a consistent sheen... but I can see how trying to get the mirror can get addictive... so we'll see where that goes. I have SOOO much to do, that mirror is last on my list. I can always do that later. Right now the F9 is cutting through the oxidation just fine, and provides a HUGE improvement.

Harbor Freight is on Florida and Fletcher in Tampa. 25% off coupons come in the mail almost weekly if you look for them.

Here is what I bought: Sander/Polisher 7" Variable Speed

Reviews are mixed, but I think I paid $29 bucks and for that it was worth the try. It has done the job as good as my old pro quality buffers, so I am happy with it.

Contact me anytime for help or questions- I have hooked up with 3 other local Tampa guys restoring similar AS's and we have done some group purchases on misc items, and bounce ideas off each other.

Good Luck!
Mic
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Old 02-13-2014, 09:01 PM   #4
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This is the video that sealed the direction for me. F9, C, S with a wool buffer.

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Old 02-14-2014, 01:11 AM   #5
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If you have a trailer that was as oxidized as mine was, and you have a very good compressor, I recommend an air powered polisher.

IMO , an angle grinder turning 8K would be hard to control an maybe a bit dangerous. I have little doubt that at this speed it would be possible to get the aluminum hot enough to warp.

An air grinder is lighter, lots less arm wear than pushing an electric polisher or grinder over the surface of a trailer for forty hours.
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Old 02-14-2014, 05:40 AM   #6
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I used a Simonize Polisher from Canadian Tire ($149) with variable speed 600 - 6000 rpm


and the kit from Jestco Buffing Supply


Worked well for me
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:35 AM   #7
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You should get something like this buffer.
Milwaukee Tool 5540 7" Polisher 11 Amp Trigger Speed Control with Pads Accs | eBay
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Morgan View Post
IMO , an angle grinder turning 8K would be hard to control an maybe a bit dangerous. I have little doubt that at this speed it would be possible to get the aluminum hot enough to warp.

.
A wool pad wont stay on an angle grinder at that RPM and if it did you wouldn't be able to hold it.
An electric buffer-polisher is around 1700 RPM and it does look like an angle grinder.
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:41 AM   #9
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I have had the harbor freight polisher for quite a few years and find it quite satisfactory.

Final polishing is better done with an orbital polisher of some sort to get rid of swirls from the other polisher.

The expensive Cyclo is probably the best out there but the $35. orbital ones do alright too
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Old 02-14-2014, 07:42 AM   #10
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I should add that I used a Cyclo polisher for finish work....which I will continue once out of storage...
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:53 AM   #11
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Hey, JimCat, check out the website "Perfectpolish .com", this system worked great for
us .
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:15 PM   #12
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Ok, based on everything I heard, I'm starting to think that even the experts may use the term "side grinder" and "polisher" interchangeably. I checked several variable speed side grinder at Lowes and Home Deport and they were all trigger control. I finally bought a Dewalt Polisher with a thumb wheel that governs the RPM from about 600 to 3500. Seems to work great so far, but I'm waiting for my Airstream kit from Jestco...Thanks, Levon! And thanks to all of you who chimed in. Mixter, we live just south of HB Plant high school. Our new '59 Caravanner is on the curb, gutted. Come by and see us! My cell is (813) 220-8601. James
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Old 02-18-2014, 01:49 AM   #13
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Jimcat, be sure to send pics as you buff along. Thanks!
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Old 02-20-2014, 04:40 AM   #14
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Will do. Actually, I may try and figure out how to "blog". There's a whole lot going on and I'd like to document it.
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