The Dual Action Porter Cable Buffer (DAPC)
This machine is a favorite among professional detailers and has become more popular with the weekend car buff. Any machine can be intimidating, fear sets in and all you can think of is the destruction it may cause. Well relax, take a break, and listen up, here are simple guidelines so you can overcome that fear and be on your way to working like a pro. First, you must understand that the term “dual action” represents the motion of this unit, the pad rotates and oscillates on its axis, which means it doesn’t build up heat like a high speed rotary buffer. (this means it’s safe for the novice) Porter Cable is a name brand, there are other companies that make them, but this one is most popular. The DAPC has a Velcro back for ease of pad changes, has a variable speed setting, and best of all can accommodate the new foam pads. I always suggest going to a body shop in your area and asking for a small body part to practice on, that way you don’t have to practice on your own car. Wash, clay, clean and prep the surface properly. The pads for this machine are available wherever you buy the machine, they come is different colors which represent either cutting/polishing of finishing. There is no universal color chart, so it’s best to stay with one company. Since the motion of this machine doesn’t build up heat like a high speed, it is limited on the degree of correction it can produce. This machine is mostly intended for applying paint cleaners, polishes, and sealants (liquid wax as well). It won’t remove swirl marks, but it can “fill in” some to the degree that they are less noticeable. I don’t advise using any strong compounds, because this machine won’t create the amount of heat needed to break these chemicals down. The DAPC has a speed setting of 1-9. For applying cleaners I would set between 4-5; for polishing 3-4; and for finishing 1-2.
Here is what I would start off with -- Paint cleaner and a paint sealant. After the car is wash/clayed/dried, either use a yellow pad (cleaning) or a polishing pad. Make sure you never let the pad touch the ground. Have your micro fiber towel handy, an extension cord for the machine so you can move around with ease, and a wax foam applicator pad (for areas the machine won’t reach). Put a small amount of product on the buffer pad, lay the pad on the surface, turn the machine on and slowly move it around in all directions while it’s spinning. When you see the product start to disappear or dry out, stop the machine, put it down with the pad side up, wipe surface with a MF towel. Work in small sections at a time; make sure after you buff one section, follow up and wipe. In a short time, you will feel at ease using the DAPC. Don’t press too hard on the surface; let the machine do the work. Move around at a slow enough pace to work the product around. This is important, when you start to notice the pad getting dirty, stop, the pad needs to be cleaned. Doing a whole car and not cleaning your pads will only introduce problems in the finish. Take the pad off the machine, spray the pad with some all purpose cleaner, rinse well under medium hot water, scrub brush and squeeze. Put the pad back on the buffer, hold the buffer low to the ground (and away from the car) turn it on high for a few seconds. It will spin dry. Change the setting and go back to work. I use this machine for recent model cars with only minor or no surface defects. Since our Cruisers are no more than a few years old, this machine will work great. I only use it to apply product not remove. I prefer to use a MF towel to feel and inspect the surface as I’m going along. When you are applying sealant, change to a finishing pad. Apply a thin layer of sealant over the entire car with buffer, let it sit for around 20 minutes, then remove with a MF