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DAPC> how to use

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Old 13 Sep 2003, 10:27 pm
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Default DAPC> how to use

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. Porter Cable is a name brand of one that is most popular. The old school technology of this same concept can be compared to the old Sears machine. The new DAPC can’t be compared to the old one, it’s light, has Velcro back plates 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. They pay big money to have their metal hauled away so they will be glad to give you a part. 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 achieve different results. Example -- yellow for cutting, tan for polishing, and white for finishing. Note that different manufactures have their own color chart, so a tan pad from one company may be a polishing pad, while a tan pad from another might be finishing. There is no universal color chart, so stay with one company and note their use. 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. I will note that it is 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. Don’t use any compounds with it, as compounds need the heat of the high speed to break down the material. The DAPC has a speed setting of 1,000 (low) up to 6,000 (high) rpm’s. For applying cleaners I would set between 2000-3000; for polishing 2000; and for finishing 1000 (or low).
Here is what I would start off with -- Paint cleaner and a paint sealant. Use either 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. Many cleaners and polishes become difficult to remove if they dry out. 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 and squeeze. Put the pad back on the buffer, turn the setting at HIGH, hold the buffer low to the ground (and away from the car) turn it on for a few sections. 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, d
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Old 13 Sep 2003, 11:55 pm
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Longview, WA, USA.
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How does this look? Is the price in line?

I read somewhere that you can find the Porter Cable machine at Home Depot as a sander and simply change the pad. Is that true?

If you have a cheaper source, let us know.

Thanks again, Gary for your excellent help.

BTW, Since I clayed and sealed my car when new, I don't think I'll ever need to use a machine to wax my car. Since I wax monthly, it is a simple job to do by hand.

Again, just my 2 cents.

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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 14 Sep 2003, 01:43 pm
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Go to Lowe's, they have the Porter Cable 7336SP (6" counterweight) for $109.00 ($101.95 on sale now) or Coastal Tool, , has a Porter-Cable 7424 Bonus Kit special available that includes the polisher and a 6" Hook & Loop Contour Pad #18002 and 6" Counterweight for $119.00. The P/N 18001 Hook & Loop velcro-backing plate is also used widely.

It is generally recommended to change the PC 7424 5" counterweight to the 6" counterweight, since most pads are 6" to minimize the vibration at higher speeds or just buy the Porter Cable 7336SP.

CMA has several accessory kits available for the 1st time user and some of their kits include oversize 7½" pads:
Also a pad comparison chart:

Top of the Line offers a nice selection of Lake Country pads too and their customer service is one of the best, IMHO:

I prefer to use the contour pads or variable contact pads, but the flat face pads are just as good, it's just your personal preference. The color of the pads vary depending where you purchase your pads, I would suggest buying at least 2 of the cutting pads (yellow) and 2 of the finishing pads (white). I rarely use the grey finishing pads, I prefer to apply the wax or sealant by hand. There have been mixed reports on Meguiar's pads, the velco backing on the pads *MAY* tend to separate or fail to stick to the backing plate after washing, while some say they work and hold up just fine.

Can read these threads to see the typical buffing patterns used:
You may have to join Autopia before you can read these threads, but the information is excellent:
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 14 Sep 2003, 01:53 pm
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Price should be around $129- $159 depending on what package you get, Yes the Meguiars back can separate if you wash them in the machine, all pads should be washed by hand. Don't use a converted sander! stick with the machine and its intended design. I posted this becuase many people were asking me, so I thought it best just to post here. Since I detail many many cars in a week, using this machine for applying sealants is great, saves time, and produces superior results. My back thanks me for it. Now, the high speed, that another story. That one should never touch your car unless it is in serious trouble.
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