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Meguiars M105 Ultra Cut Compound vs. Menzerna FG400 Fast Gloss Compound - 11-29-2012, 11:11 PM

Prelude:

Meguiar's changed the detailing industry with the introduction of Meguiar's M105 Ultra Cut Compound several years ago. Until this point, traditional rubbing/polishing compounds used a coarse "diminishing" abrasive that would leave noticble swirl marks and haze when worked against the paint. This often required an additional two steps of polishing to achieve a flawless finish.

Meguiar's utilized a new type of non-diminishing aluminum oxide abrasive which still delivered a powerful cutting action but left a finish that was as good as most medium grade polishes. Meguiar's choose to market this type of abrasive as SMAT, or Super Micro Abrasive Technology.

Many products have come to market in the last few years attempting out perform M105, and while some exceptional performing compounds are now available, nothing has definitively beaten Meguiar's flagship compound.

Menzerna GmbH is a polishing compound manufacturer from Germany whose polishes utilize some of the most technologically advanced aluminum oxide abrasives. Their polishing range has gained critical acclaim and widespread respect from detailers, enthusiasts, and even other manufacturers. Menzerna FG400 is their official entry into the heavy-cut, high-gloss finishing compound market.

If you are interested in the results, skip to post #2, which will focus solely on the testing and the specific results encountered. The result of post #1 is going to highlight the differences in each polish, abrasive theory, and may help explain why each product behaved differently in different situations. I feel that this level of knowledge, inherent to AutopiaForums, is necessary for those who are looking to achieve maximum results from products.

Aluminum Oxide As An Abrasive:

Both Meguiar's M105 Ultra Cut Compound and Menzerna FG400 use aluminum oxide powder (Al2O3) as their primary abrasive material. Aluminum oxide makes an excellent abrasive medium in paint polishes because it can be engineered in various sizes, shapes, and levels of sharpness to alter the characteristics of the polish. Aluminum oxide is also extremely hard. On the Mohs Scale of Hardness it is rated as a 9. Diamonds, for example, are rated as a 10.

Because aluminum oxide is so hard (particular compared to automotive paint finishes, plastics, and even glass) it really does not break down. Even after repeated friction the abrasive retains much of its initial behavior/polishing action. This means that some level, whether or not it is classified as such, all aluminum oxide is non-diminishing (in context of paint abrasion).

It all starts with the (primary) crystal. This is the smallest, most refined abrasive. As depicted in the picture below, aluminum oxide abrasives come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and levels of sharpness. Modern technology has allowed this crystal to become more refined, more uniform, more consistent (abrasive to abrasive) and smaller. It is the ability to maintain a uniform, level, and microscopic level of cut that gives modern compounds the ability to remove paint defects quickly while leaving a high-gloss finish on the paint.




Meguiar's M105 Ultra Cut Compound uses SMAT (Super Micro Abrasive Technology) abrasives. This lends us to the fact that these abrasives are ultra-fine, ultra-small primary crystal aluminum oxides. In crystal form the abrasive cannot dissolve or breakdown, thus the moniker non-diminishing abrasive. In order to achieve a certain level of cutting action, a large load of these ultra fine abrasives must be used in the formula.




Menzerna FG400 uses, what has been described to me, as Agglomeration Abrasive Technology.

Agglomeration, according to Marian-Webster, means:
  1. the action or process of collecting in a mass
  2. a heap or cluster of usually disparate elements

In terms of polishing abrasives, this defines Menzerna as a diminishing abrasive polish. The primary crystal aluminum oxide abrasives are joined together in agglomerations in order to higher level of cutting action with less abrasive load (less abrasives in the compound). Friction will break the larger abrasives apart (fracturing) until you are left with the primary crystal abrasives.

By using modern abrasive crystal refining, Menzerna looks to be attempting offer the best of both worlds. The initial high level of leveling that a diminishing abrasive offers as well as the high quality of finish that a non-diminishing abrasive offers. By using a lesser amount of abrasive powder in the compound, Menzerna can offer a wetter product that will dust less and has a higher potential to finish paint.




Beyond The Abrasives:

The abrasives used in polish may have the most direct control over things like material removal (surface removal and surface leveling) as well as finish quality, however they only make up a percentage of the polish. The type of lubricant (usually some forum of oil-in-water emulsion or water-in-oil emulsion) and ancillary chemicals. The total result of the polish is a combination of all of the liquid (chemicals) and solids (abrasives)

A dry polish, such as Meguiar's M105 may have a very high load of abrasive (solid) material. This will give it a high level of cut, and with carefully refined abrasives, a high quality finish, but this comes with several drawbacks as well, such as dusting and a reduced surface quality if the pad isn't cleaned frequently. Menzerna FG400 appears to use less abrasive material (50% less then their Power Gloss Compound) which allows for a wetter more lubricated polish they may sacrifice some cutting speed but will reduce dusting and could leave a nicer finish.

Enough of the polishes on paper... Let's see how they stack up.
   
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Re: Meguiars M105 Ultra Cut Compound vs. Menzerna FG400 Fast Gloss Compound - 12-03-2012, 11:08 AM

On to the testing...

Initial Impressions

I started my testing at PBMG's corporate offices. Mike Phillips had a friend in who had a very swirled out white car. I was in process of laying out the products and preparing the test panel when the opportunity to put both products to work on this mess presented...




I grabbed what I had on hand, which was a Griot's Garage 6 Inch DA, two 5.5 inch low-profile Cyan Cutting Pads, and the title polishing compounds.




I used Meguiar's tape to mask off two test sections on the trunk of the car. On the right side (in this picture), nearest to the rear of vehicle, I used the new Menzerna FG400. On the left side (in this picture), towards the front, I used Meguiar's venerable M105 UCC.




Being unfamiliar with FG400, I decided to test both products in a similar fashion. I applied 3 dimed sized drops around the outer circumfrance of the pad and polished on speed 6 using firm pressure. I continued working both polishes for approximately 1 minute, then wiped clean.






To revel the results we pulled the Impala into the sun. Up first, the side polished with FG400.




And to the left, the side polished with Meguiar's M105.




Both test sections had noticeably more gloss. The side polished with Menzerna had slightly less defects visible.




In the following, and for the rest this review you will notice that Menzerna will be compared directly to Meguiar's. This is because, in many ways, Menzerna is a the new kid on the block. Another way to look at it is in terms of athletics. Menzerna FG400 is the challenger; Meguiar's reputation in this segment of polishing is well established. Think of Rocky Balboa going against Apollo Creed. Will the challenger displace the champion? Will we have a knock out, a split decision, a majority draw?

My initial impression of Menzerna FG400, compared to Meguiar's, was just how different it was. While Meguiar's Mirror Glaze Polishes have a slightly almond, slightly chemical smell, Menzerna smells like it is all business. While the scent is not overwhelming it is definitely chemical in nature.

Meguiar's M105 has a light, slightly running consistency. Menzerna is thick and creamy, almost in a similar vain to their other polishes such as SI1500 or SF4500. With the polisher on the paint, both products behaved very differently as well. M105 is famous for its quick working time and abililty to 'disappear' into the paint in under a minute. FG400 on the other hand, had a much longer working time and seemed to slowly turn opaque.

With the initial impressions out of the way, let's get to more serious testing...


Preparing The Test Panel.

Testing, by definition, places the products into a controlled environment. It is necessary to put controls into the test, particular when doing direct comparisons, in order to achieve accurate results. The first step in this test was to prepare the test panel.

I started with a soft, black, basecoat/clearcoat test panel. I elected to use Meguiars 1500 UniGrit Finishing Disks to impart an extremely even, scratched surface on the paint. It is not recommended to remove such coarse scratches from cured paint but this would give me the ability to gauge defect removal after subsequent applications using different methods.




A 3/16" Stroke Makita "Two-Mode" BO6040 was used with a Meguiar's Foam Interface Pad to ensure a level, sanded surface.






As the (lack of a) reflection shows, the panel is dull and the paint is ready to put these two compounds to the test.




Test One: Rotary Polisher - Purple Foamed Wool Polishing Pad

The first test was remove the sanding scratches using Menzerna FG400. A FLEX PE Rotary Polisher would be used at 1500 RPM, working overlapping passes.




A bead of the thick Menzerna compound laid out...




After initial, low speed spreading... Initial surface temperature was 82 degrees



After 20 seconds of polishing, using 1500 RPM, firm pressure, and over lapping passes. Menzerna FG400 initially looks very wet on the surface then quickly becomes noticeable film as the RPM's increase. The temperature of the paint's surface increased to 100 degrees F.




After 40 second of polishing... The Menzerna has begun to turn cleaner, indicating that either: A) The buffing cycle was complete OR B) Not enough initial product was used to prime the large surface area of a wool pad. Temperature peaked at 117 degrees F.

I continued working for an additional 20 seconds (1 minute total) then wiped away the residue. What immediately impressed me was how efficiently Menzerna FG400 removed all of the coarse 1500 grit sanding dullness. It also removed 95% or more of all the sanding scratches. However as the picture below shows, it left a considerable amount of swirl in the paint. Temperature actually decreased over the last 20 seconds, to 115 degrees F.




The detailing studio's UV lighting showed the hazy evidence of machine compounding...




The Purple Foamed Wool Pad felt almost dry to the touch. I decided on doing a second application to test if priming the pad and using more product would result in a better quality finish. I was already impressed with the cutting power.

Here is the panel after 20 seconds on application number two. The increase material appeared to have helped prime the considerable surface area of the wool nap, resulting in a much wetter surface, and a more workable product. Temperature at 20 seconds was 113 degrees F.

Towards the top of the working section I decided to "short cycle" the product. Menzerna FG400 uses a diminishing abrasive made of non-diminishing aluminum oxide crystals. I wanted to test the surface quality of FG400 worked in properly (bottom of the screen) vs. not worked in enough. Maximum temperature was 115 degrees F for the second application.




Under the Brinkmann Swirl Finder light. The top of the panel had considerably more swirl marks and haze. Clearly Menzerna FG400 is a product that likes to me worked in through out a polishing cycle.








To inspect both polishes and all polishing combinations for potenital filling/defect masking I wiped each surface down with Gtechniq Panel Wipe and a Gold Plush microfiber towel. Only a slight about of filling was noticed with Fast Gloss 400 on a wool pad.




Up next, Meguiars M105 Ultra Cut Compound using a similar polishing procedure (1500 RPM/ Purple Wool Pad/ Firm Pressure)




Meguiar's M105 UCC is much thinner in consistency. Initial surface temperature was 90 degrees, likely do to temperature from the adjacent section conducting over.




Where Menzerna FG400 looks almost wet when it is spread across the surface, Meguiar's appears like a thin paste.




Just 20 seconds after application, Meguiar's M105 has already begun to disappear. Temperature was 104 degrees F.




Where the Menzerna had a long play time, Meguiar's M105 didn't quite make it for 40 seconds before the majority of the product had disappeared or dusted away.The finish on the paint was noticeably better than Menzerna's under the UV lighting. Temperature stayed cool, at 105 degrees F.

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Re: Meguiars M105 Ultra Cut Compound vs. Menzerna FG400 Fast Gloss Compound - 12-04-2012, 06:58 AM

When viewed under a Brinkmann Swirl Finder the paint had considerable swirl marks, although less then Menzerna FG400 at this point. A second application was repeated to further prime the wool pad with product and increase performance.




The second application revealed a slightly better finish, and the complete elimination of all sanding marks. While both sides were covered with buffer trail marks (holograms/buffer swirl), a slight edge in terms of finish quality belonged to Meguiar's M105 Ultra Cut Compound. Thorough out both buffing cycles, the temperature of Meguiars M105/Wool pad was 12-15 degrees cooler than that of Menzerna.




Under the Show Car Garage's UV lights, more buffer haze was visible on the side polished with FG400.



Test One: Impressions and Conclusions

Both products, Menzerna FG400 and Meguiar's M105 UCC proved more than capable of removing the 1500 grit sanding scratches from the test panel. When used with a wool pad, both products performed better on the second application, which indicates that each would benefit from pad priming (loading the pad with polish) prior to polishing.

Meguiar's M105's charcteristic fast cutting action and short work cycle was on full display. By the time Menzerna FG400 was hitting its stide (about 30 seconds into the polishing cycle) Meguiar's M105 was done. In terms of cutting speed, the edge would go to Meguiar's. However, Menzerna appeared to deliver more total cutting power as it continued to cut throughout its longer buff cycle.

In terms of finish quality, a slight edge would have to go to Meguiar's. I am nitpicking, because ultimately both products, as different as they might be, removed the sanding marks and left a high quality finish (for a wool pad) that would have been thought impossible several years ago.




Test Two: Rotary Polisher - Orange CCS Light Cutting Pad

Wool pads product a significant cutting action of their own, which can mask a products true cutting ability. The wool fiber will usually create light surface scratches, which again, can mask finish quality of a polish. In order to get a good feel on how both products would perform, I switched to a Lake Country CCS Orange Cutting Foam and mounted it on the FLEX PE Rotary Polisher.

Up first, Menzerna FG400. The polish was spread at speed 1, then the panel was polished using firm pressure and overlapping passes until no more cutting action was visible. Because foam pads tend to such the lubricant in the polish upwards through a capillary action and release it when the pad is compressed through polishing, I was expecting a smoother, longer polishing cycle from both products.

The less aggressive foam would likely require multiple applications to fully remove the sanding marks, allowing the cut of both products to be measured incrementally.




Menzerna FG400 after spreading across the working section...




The smooth polishing action of the foam pad was noticable as Fast Gloss polished effortlessly over the surface. The rate of break down was much less compared to the wool pad. Also the panel became much warmer and started to FLEX.

30 second into polishing- Surface Temp 121 degrees F




After 1 minute of polishing the product appeared exhausted and was ready to wipe away. At this point it was possible to feel the heat considerably.

1 minute after polishing- Surface Temp 140 degrees F




Removing the exhausted FG400 film revealed a surface that still had some deep sanding marks (as expected) although I was impressed with the level of cutting action delivered with an orange pad.




A subsequent second application followed. Surface Temp after 30 seconds- 116 degrees. Surface Temp after 1 minute- 130 degrees.




The surface quality was much improved with nearly all sanding marks removed and very minor swirling evident.




After two applications the pad's face was noticeably caked with wet residue. (In comparison, Meguiar's M105 would produce similar caking but with a much drier feel).




A Pad Reconditioning Brush quickly cleaned the face of the pad and restored optimum performance.






The remaining 5 percent of marks were completely removed and the surface had a nice finish with only faint holograms visible. The surface tempature remained at 121 degrees through out the polishing cycle.




Wiping the surface clean with Gtechniq Panel Wipe did reveal some light filling. This is not uncommon when using a compound with a foam pad on very soft paint. I would describe the filling as light-to-moderate.




The next test was to apply Meguiar's M105 Ultra Cut Compound in a similar fashion.




Meguiar's spread into a thin, semi dry paste. Starting surface temperature was 85 degrees.

30 seconds into the work cycle, Meguiar's had all but disappeared. I attribute this to not priming the pad first. Surface Temperature was 101 degrees.




While hard to see in this picture, numerous sanding scratches covered the surface. Menzerna FG400 was hands down the more aggressive of the two on the first application.




A second application followed. Again some sanding marks were still visible. The surface temperature remained a cool 103 degrees.




Much like with Menzerna, two applications of Meguiar's M105 had caked the surface of the pad. While hard to discern in pictures, the surface of the pad was much drier than it was with Menzerna.




Again a Pad Conditioning Brush was all that was needed to remove the caked on residues.




Finally a third application of Meguiars M105 removed all traces of sanding marks. The temperature never crested above 103 degrees.

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Re: Meguiars M105 Ultra Cut Compound vs. Menzerna FG400 Fast Gloss Compound - 12-04-2012, 10:49 AM

The surface quality was impressive. The picture below is the surface prior to being wiped down with Panel Wipe.




A wipe down did reveal some level of defect filing, although very little.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu-o...k&feature=plcp


Test Two: Impressions and Conclusions

The slight differences in performance between Menzerna FG400 and Meguiar's M105 UCC during the test with the wool pads was maginfiyed with the switch to a foam pad.

Meguiar's cut fast and had a very short cycle. Menzerna cut slightly slower, but the longer play time allowed it to remove more material per application. Also noticable was the diminshing abrasives in Menzerna's abillity to sharply level away serious paint defects. After the second application, the side polished with Menzerna had considerably less sanding remains.

As with the wool pad test, the Meguiar's side had a better finish quality. The last major area of difference: surface temperature- Meguiar's never ran above 105 degrees, where as Menzerna would continue to heat the paint, at one point reaching over 140 degrees.



Test Three: Rotary Polisher - Black CCS Finishing Pad

For the final test, we return back to previous sections that were polished with with the wool pad to test the pure finishing ability of both polishes.

The FLEX PE rotary would again be used, this time starting at a much lower 1200 RPM with light pressure and progressing to 600 RPM and no pressure through out the buffing cycle (jeweling).




First up was Menzerna FG400.




The soft black foam spread a nice, even coat of product over the working surface. Surface temperature was a cool 82 degrees.



30 seconds into the polishing cycle, Menzerna FG400 was acting much like a finishing polish, spreading evenly with extremely smooth buffing action. Surface temperature was 97 degrees F.




After 1 minute an apparent film was still visible. Surface temperature was 99 degrees. The film wiped away easily, revealing a surface that appeared hologram free under the UV lights.




The Brinkmann Swirl Finder Light revealed light holograms.




A wipedown with Gtechniq Panel Wipe did not uncover any additional swirl marks. Given the impressive cutting action of Menzerna's newest compound, I was very happy with the surface quality of the finish.




Meguiar's M105 UCC was next. Application was similar.




The black pad laid down a thicker appearing paste. Initial surface temperature was 97 degrees (likely from transient heat from polishing the adjacent panel due to conduction.




30 seconds into the polishing cycle, Meguiar's M105's dual personality became very appearent. On a wool pad it dries and dissipates quickly. With a black finishing foam pad it has a long working time and stays wet. Surface temperature climbed to 104 degrees.




After 1 minute the polish had a very similar appearance to that of 30 seconds previous. Due to the lower speeds, the surface temperature decreased to 92 degrees. Wipe off was extremely easy.




Much like Menzera, the surface appeared hologram free under the UV lighting.




Very light holograms were visible with a Brinkmann Swirl Finder Light.




Wiping the surface with Panel Wipe did reveal some filling; the surface quality was still better than the adjacent Menzerna panel.




Test Three: Impressions and Conclusions


While testing two compounds for their finishing abililty, particularly on soft black paint with a rotary polisher, might be a little absurd, it really shows how far technology has progressed. Again these products represent two different ways to a similar result, as both had more than enough power to remove the defects they left behind previously (with a wool pad) and both created a nice finish.

Meguiar's did leave a slightly nicer finish, which was difficult to capture in the video and pictures, and both products were equally easy to work with.



Test Four: Random Orbital Polisher

In this final, four way comparison test, I wanted to test both Meguiar's M105 and Menzerna FG400 on two different cutting pads when using a DA polisher. When I first started polishing paint many compounds were not recommended for use on a DA polisher because they would create an uneven finish with random, deep swirl marks.

Today, these modern compounds are more than capable of not only working with Random Orbital DA Polishers, but producing exceptional results. I teamed up both polishes with a Lake Country Microfiber Cutting Pad and a Lake Country H20 Cyan Pad to test the cutting and finishing ability of both.
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Re: Meguiars M105 Ultra Cut Compound vs. Menzerna FG400 Fast Gloss Compound - 12-04-2012, 02:15 PM

The test was laid out left-to-right: Menzerna FG400/Lake Country MF, Meguiar's M105/Lake Country MF, Menzerna FG400/Cyan Foam Cutting Pad, Meguiar's M105/Cyan Foam Cutting Pad.

Starting with the left side, Menzerna FG400 was drawn in a X across the pad, spread on speed 4, then polished on speed 6 using firm pressure and overlapping passes until the product began to clear.

This was my first time and some observations became readily apparent. The thicker consistency of the Menzerna compound caused the microfiber to mat down quickly. The combination of the lubricant and now matted (solid) pad transferred an extraordinary amount of heat to the polishing surface as temperatures peaked at 150 degrees even. With this much heat the compound was difficult to remove from the surface.




The resulting finish was scarred with deeper sanding marks as Menzerna didn't appear to play well with the microfiber polishing discs.




The picture below shows how matted the microfiber became. For microfiber pads to work properly on a Dual Action Orbital Polisher, the fibers must be free to move around. This takes full advantage of the curly-q motion of the machine and exposes a maximum amount of polish to the paint.




A pad conditioning brush quickly removed any excess product and restored the microfiber's fluffy nature.




For the second application, I used far less product (about 2 1/2 small dots) to avoid pad loading.




The temperature never peaked at 135 degrees F and the polish was much easier to remove. The surface still had deeper sanding scars visible though.




Finally a third application, this time carried out over a much longer working time, completely removed the sanding marks and left minimal swirl in the finish.




Next was Meguiar's M105 UCC on a fresh Lake Country MF Cutting Pad. In order to test both products with a control, I applied a similar X to the face of the pad.




Meguiar's M105, with its "SMAT" abrasives, simply rocked in this test. The polishing temperature stay cool, reaching a maximum of 108 degrees, and the cutting action was immediate. After one application approximately 90% of the sanding marks were eliminated.




The microfiber did NOT require cleaning at this point was still fluffly. A second application completely eliminated all sanding marks and left a nice, near swirl/mark free finish on the paint. This was the most decsive test performed, as Meguiar's M105 simply out performed Menzerna FG400 on all fronts: ease-of-use, application, cutting power, and finish quality.




Looking to rebound after the microfiber test, Menzerna FG400 was applied using a Lake Country Cyan Pad. Again a cross was drawn surface of the pad for the initial application.




Almost immediately it became evident that the Menzerna compound much preferred the foam cutting pad to the microfiber, as the defects quickly melted away and the polish performed flawlessly. The surface temperature peaked at 110 degrees, and almost all defects were eliminated after 1 application!




A second application of Menzerna FG400 removed any lingering defects and left the surface with just a slight amount of DA haze. Again the temperature peaked at a consistent 110 degrees.




Finally it was time to test Meguiar's M105 UCC using a similar procedure. Unfortunately many of the pictures of this test did not turn out well. Meguiar's M105 was applied in a similar fashion to the Menzerna on the Cyan pad.

After 1 application there was some evidence of sanding marks, more so than with the Menzerna. In every test so far, except with a microfiber pad, Menzerna proved to have a more significant cutting action. Temperature for the first Meguiar's application reached an eerily similar 110 degrees F.




A second application was required to eliminate the sanding marks. The resulting finish from Meguiar's was phenomenal, even after stripping the paint with Gtechniq Panel Wipe. Once again, Meguiar's proved to have slightly less cutting power, but a better finish.




Test Four: Impressions and Conclusions

The DA cutting test proved quite interesting. The thick lubrication and lower abrasive load of Menzerna FG400, which proved excellent on foam and wool pads simply did not work well with the microfiber pads in this test.

In terms of cutting power they rank in the following, from most aggressive to least aggressive:
  1. Meguiar's M105 UCC / Microfiber Cutting Pad
  2. Menzerna FG400/ Cyan Foam Cutting Pad
  3. Meguiar's M105 UCC/ Cyan Foam Cutting Pad
  4. Menzerna FG400/ Microfiber Cutting Pad


However in terms of finishing ability, from best to worst:
  1. Meguiar's M105 UCC/ Cyan Foam Cutting Pad
  2. Menzerna FG400/ Cyan Foam Cutting Pad
  3. Meguiar's M105 UCC/ Microfiber Cutting Pad
  4. Menzerna FG400/ Microfiber Cutting Pad


This test was probably the most interesting of all as Meguiar's, in combination with the MF pad, delivered likes its reputation depended on it. At this point it would be easy to surmise that Menzerna (in all tests minus the microfiber pad) cut more effectively and Meguiar's finished better. However, there is one test left and one final curve ball to throw!


Test Five: Random Orbital DA Polisher/ BLACK CCS Finishing Pad

To test the finishing ability of these products, I overlapped each product on the surface that was used in the microfiber test. So far, in almost all testing, Meguiar's M105 had proven to product a better finish. This one seemed like a foregone conclusion... That's why we test.

Technique- In order to procure the best possible finish, each product was tested two different ways, with the best results being shown. The first test was to use each product using speed 6, then reduce pressure AND speed, allowing the pad to free spin across the paint.

In the second test, I used firm pressure through out the polishing cycle, reducing only speed (from 6 to 4) for the final two passes over the polishing area (but maintaining constant pressure). This technique has proven very successful when using M105.

In this test, both Menzerna FG400 and Meguiar's M105 proved to provide a better finish with the second technique.

By using the second technique, Menzerna produced a near flawless finish.






Meguair's M105, on the other hand, left very faint microhaze.






https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsDvLDdPfJI


Test Five: Impressions and Conclusions

In all subsequent testing, Meguiar's tended to finish better than Menzerna, with the exception of the Cyan Foam Cutting Pad. While I was looking for a firm conclusion, Menzerna clearly left a better finish, even after wiping the surface with IPA and Gtechniq Panel Wipe.

Ultimately both products are uniquely different and both produce exceptional results.
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Re: Meguiars M105 Ultra Cut Compound vs. Menzerna FG400 Fast Gloss Compound - 12-06-2012, 10:38 AM



Final Conclusion:

When I first started this test, I was hoping for definitive results: Compound A does this better, compound B does this better, used A for this, and B for this...

The results were much less conclusive but just as interesting... Ultimately, both products use a similar abrasive material (aluminum oxide) but completely different abrasive structures. M105 is drier, dusts more, and works exceptionally well. FG400 is wetter, doesn't dust as much, and works exceptionally well.

Cutting Power

Menzerna FG400 did an excellent job at removing sanding scratches quickly. This is likely because the diminishing abrasives level deep defects quickly. M105 still cut fast, and maintained its cutting power when Menzerna FG400 began to fall off (do to the higher load of crystal abrasives). Meguiar's is the champion of short buffing cycles, were Menzerna continued (at a much lower level) for longer. Ultimately, in all testing, minus with a microfiber pad, Menzerna produced faster cutting and slightly more total cutting power. However it was close. Meguiar's made up for this with its fast buffing cycle. Over a similar time period (say 20 minutes) you could perform more applications of M105, thus negating the advantage.

The only stand out difference in the test was when a microfiber polishing pad was used on a dual action polisher. In this test Meguiar's M105 produced significantly more cutting power.


Finishing Abililty

In most of the testing, Meguiar's M105 produced a slightly better finish than Menzerna FG400. However, it should be noted, that the difference was slight. In continuing with the theme of this testing, Menzerna produced a better finish when used on a finishing pad and a DA polisher. The results were so close in all testing that this, like the other testing, proved that both products may take different paths but both products work exceptionally well.


Intangibles

Meguiar's M105 is a drier polish which dusts more. This means that M105 doesn't saturate the pad as quickly as Menzerna, and the pad cleans easier with a brush. You likely will need more pads with Menzrna, if you are polishing out an entire vehicle.

Menzerna tends to run at a higher temperature in most applications. When applied with an orange pad and a FLEX PE rotary, the temperature increase was excessive with the paint becoming hot to the touch.

Both products fill to some degree, which is to be expected of any polish that uses oil as a lubricant. Neither was excessive and the filling was easily removed.



Ultimately this test made it hard to produce concrete results and certainly made it impossible to name a winner. Given Meguiar's dominance in this market, this is a good thing. I am sure both products will have users who favor their particular characteristics. As a professional detailer, I have a limited amount of "shelf space" for polishing compounds and only the best make it into my bag. I will be clearing out some space for Menzerna's newest offering, FG400, and I am sure it will fit nicely next to my bottle of Meguiar's M105.
   
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Re: Meguiars M105 Ultra Cut Compound vs. Menzerna FG400 Fast Gloss Compound - 12-06-2012, 11:39 AM

I might have missed it, but how was the dusting of the FG400 compared to 105?
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Re: Meguiars M105 Ultra Cut Compound vs. Menzerna FG400 Fast Gloss Compound - 12-06-2012, 11:43 AM

Awesome write up Todd!
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Re: Meguiars M105 Ultra Cut Compound vs. Menzerna FG400 Fast Gloss Compound - 12-06-2012, 12:53 PM

Wow Todd, you have certainly been busy these past few days. It took me 15 minutes to read through this thread, let alone how long it took you to make it.

Thanks for the super in depth review!!

Based on your results, I think I would stay with M105 personally because I like to use MF disks and DA polishers
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Re: Meguiars M105 Ultra Cut Compound vs. Menzerna FG400 Fast Gloss Compound - 12-06-2012, 01:44 PM

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Originally Posted by ihaveacamaro View Post
Wow Todd, you have certainly been busy these past few days. It took me 15 minutes to read through this thread, let alone how long it took you to make it.

Thanks for the super in depth review!!
It took 3 days of testing (I have more "on the road" videos I will post eventually) and 2 days to write it and 1/2 day to create the graphics.
   
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Re: Meguiars M105 Ultra Cut Compound vs. Menzerna FG400 Fast Gloss Compound - 12-06-2012, 01:46 PM

Outstanding test Todd, thanks!!!!
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Re: Meguiars M105 Ultra Cut Compound vs. Menzerna FG400 Fast Gloss Compound - 12-06-2012, 01:50 PM

I was kinda hoping for something more thorough. I guess this will have to do.


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Re: Meguiars M105 Ultra Cut Compound vs. Menzerna FG400 Fast Gloss Compound - 12-06-2012, 02:03 PM

Great write up Todd. Thanks for putting it together.
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Re: Meguiars M105 Ultra Cut Compound vs. Menzerna FG400 Fast Gloss Compound - 12-06-2012, 11:27 PM

One of the best reviews I have read. Awesome job, Todd! Thanks


What I take from this:

Neither compound is a clear winner. Sometimes conditions will dictate what product would be beneficial, particularly for a mobile detailer. An additional wash step between the compound and finishing steps can be inconvenient at times. (This is one of my peeves with 105.) A 100 degree day could dictate the choice as well. Meanwhile, a hobbyist with a limited pad selection could have a different choice. Then there is the chance that a different paint could produce different results. This is why I like to have a variety of options on my shelf. I have my go-to combos, but sometimes you just have to switch it up.
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Re: Meguiars M105 Ultra Cut Compound vs. Menzerna FG400 Fast Gloss Compound - 12-07-2012, 07:59 AM

Wow. Fantastic write up. I cant wait for my bottle to arrive so I can test it out. I have a Black CTS overspray / swirled to all heck waiting in line for some FG400 love!

I wonder, with the way it was so different on foam and microfiber / wool pads, is with this being developed in Germany, most euro detailing shops use strictly foam pads and not micro fiber or wool. Do you think this could be the reason for its much better ability with the foam pads? (just a theory)


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