I had some time to go over my car using the final step in the whole whole Rupes System:
Not much is mentioned about the Rupes polishes, so my curiosity was peaked. I was using this ultra fine polish to remove my old wax and to try and squeeze out some more gloss and depth. The car's paint was already very good, so there are no real before and afters.
Here is what I thought:
The machine seems top notch. Its smooth and effortless. There are a few things I love about the machine:
1. The speed seems almost infinitely adjustable. There are no detents on the speed adjustment wheel. You can bump it up or down a hair and the machine responds. The speed wheel is just free spinning with very slight resistance.
2. The machine is very usable at lower speeds. The Rupes 15 actually spins the pad well on speed 1 on flat panels. The speeds seem well spaced out and all seem usable. On flat panels, the machine spins well at all speeds. I mainly polished at speed 4.5, which worked just fine.
3. Smoothness and balance of the machine are excellent. It's also quieter than a Griots GG6 or a PC. The machine has a "cruise control" like feature where if your give it downward pressure it seems to bump up the speed a bit to compensate. The 15 just seems "tighter" and higher quality than a GG6. When the machine runs the gears seem high quality with tight tolerances and quality bearings. There is little vibration with the machine and one hand operation is no problem. You merely need to guide it over the area you want to polish.
4. No more downward pressure required! The machine works well polishing by just guiding it. It's a lot lest fatiguing on your arms and back. Very user friendly. One odd thing I did notice is because I wasn't "leaning into" the polisher, like I would a Griot's 6" to use downward force, but merely guiding it with little pressure, the back of my neck started to hurt when polishing with my arms extended - like in the middle of the hood. But, this is probably just me.
5. The Rupes backing plate seems very high quality and flexible. Much nicer than the supplied GG6 plate. Also, the Rupes pad and BP both have a hole in the center, so if your using them together you just line up the hole and the pad is perfectly centered. Nice and easy.
6. The trigger lock works well. At first I didn't like it, as I was used to on and off. But then I figured how to use it. I basically start the machine at speed 1 to spread the polish and lock it. Then I bump it up while using it, which is easy to do.
7. The visual design and appeal of the 15 and the whole Rupes "Bigfoot" system is awesome. The little fake plastic carbon fiber piece on the top looks nice, much better than black plastic would. I like the machine's aesthetics.
8. The polisher stays cool. When using this combo, there is no noticeable heat generated. The machine seems like its able to cool itself and since you don't need to use much downward pressure the pad stays cool. So, you don't really have to worry about melting pads if you use the Rupes pads and polishes. I can't comment on how it works with microfiber pads.
Reflection courtesy of Rupes system:
What could be improved on the Rupes 15:
1. The cord. The cord seems plastic or vinyl, albeit a high quality cord. I much prefer a rubber cord, as the plastic or vinyl cords like to stay kinked in the position you store them in when you put the tool away. The cord plug also slid in and out of my female extension cord receptacle with hardly any resistance. It's not a grounded cord. I had to tape the cord so it would stay plugged in. I compared it to my Griots GG6, the male of the Griots plug fits better in the socket.
2. A removable Flex 3401 style handle would be nice for vertical panels, as with the Griots, sometimes I like to rest my hand inside the handle. Not necessary really, but a small bale handle that unbolted would be nice so you could make the choice. However, the machine weighs in at around 5.7 lbs. This is about the same as a GG6. Somehow it feels a tad heavier to me. A handle would weigh more and would require fasteners that weigh more, so it may just be better without.
3. The power on the machine could be a little bit more. I believe the machine is rated somewhere around 4amps / 500 watts. I did not do the washer mod. I have really only had one complex area where the machine bogged down, other than that it's more than sufficient. The area the machine bogged down was concave, so I just had to hang the buffer down and use half the pad to polish. The GG6 seems much more powerful, however, that doesn't mean the GG6 corrects faster or better, just that it will not bog down.
4. The Rupes 15 isn't versatile with different size pads. Even with the 3401 and the LC Backing Plate System, you can use pads as small as 4". You can use any pad with the Rupes 15, as long as its not smaller than 5". So, another DA that accepts smaller backing plates will be required to polish intricate areas. No big deal for me, because I have 2 others DAs and tons of pads. But, it would be nice if somehow you could use 4" pads with this machine.
5. This is really being nit picky, but I'm not sure what the point is of having the Allen key for the BP mounted on the machine. Since the machine isn't designed to be used with different backing plates, and the machine stores in the original box with the BP - why would you ever need to remove the BP? If you did need to remove it, you could always just get the Allen key out of the box. However, the key stays secure and is out of the way.
Rupe's Diamond Ultra Fine Gel:
I was curious about the Rupe's polishes, since it seems not a lot of people use them. Since they are matched to the machine and pad, it seems like a no brainer. First off, with the Rupes pad and polish, I didn't prime the pad via the KBM. I just gave it a spritz with Wolfgang Pad Conditioner and applied 4 initial slightly larger than pea size drops.
That turned out to be more than enough. They are calling this product a gel, and it's "different" than most polish in its consistency. The polish itself seems hyper lubricated and highly concentrated. After my first section pass, I only needed to add this much polish to repeat:
As you can, it takes very little. The polish seems to have polymers or something similar in it. It sort of reminds me of Optimum polishes, where they never seem wet or dry, just "slippery". You can work this polish literally forever. The Ultra Fine Diamond is the only Rupe's polish I have used. It didn't dust at all for me, as it never dried.
I don't know if the polish is DAT or SMAT, or a combo of both. All I could find is that it contains "micro abrasives". Since Rupe's is touting their system as a time saver, you would think it's likely SMAT - since with SMAT you can stop polishing as soon as the defect is gone. This would be nice to know, as I'm not sure if the polish should be broken down, or you stop whenever.
Also, I'm not sure if its a function of the pad, polish, or machine; but when using the Rupes as I did here the pad seems to stay cleaner. There is no gummed up polish gravitating toward the center of the pad. This is the pad after multiple uses:
The polish does not gunk up or gum up. It just seems to vaporize into nothingness, although the pad face has a polymer type feel. It could be because you only use a little bit, or because the machine runs cool.
The polish bottle comes with one of those self cleaning lids. If your using peas size drops, when you close the lid, your going the get another 1/2 a pea size drop of polish ejected out if the lid:
So, this is something to keep in mind when you are dispensing the polish, as you don't want to waste it, or end up wiping it on your pants like I did the first time. Just use half as much on your last "pea". Unlike most polishes that smell like chemicals, this polish smells like berries or some kind of fruit.
The polish is extremely smooth buffing and sling or splatter is not an issue. Since the polish never seems to dry, it leaves beautiful buffer trails. Here is what it looked like when it was ready to wipe off:
The polish is fairly easy to remove, but not the easiest - its a bit "oily". It's also a bit thick and a little streaky. But, you don't have to scrub it off. I found the best way to remove it was with little circles, straight lines didn't work well. I always needed to flip the towel to go over the area again. Compared to Menzerna SF4500 or Optimum Finish Polish II, more work is required to remove the polish. Removal is almost like buffing off a slightly smeary wax.
I used the Microfiber Madness Crazy Pile Towel to buff off the residue from the polish. IME this towel is exception (as in The Best) at removing any residue on paint, due to the high pile. It's also a non linting towel. I could see the polish being a little more work to remove if you were using just an average towel.
The polish says on the bottle it "increases the gloss finish and the color depth". Here are some random pics I took after the polish was wiped off (no LSP - naked paint)
Flake washed out by sun:
The blue tape line above separates the clear bra from the paint. It was also polished, but not yet when this picture was taken. I decided on the below combo to polish the clear bra, because a smaller pad would be needed to get in the corners:
As you can see, the old Griot's still has to come out to use smaller pads, a bit of a detriment when using the Rupes.
Rupes White Finishing Foam Pad (150mm / 6"):
All the Rupes pads taper bigger towards the face. The pads designed for the Rupes 15 are 5" on the Velcro side, and 6" on the face side. So, while they call it a "5 inch pad", the polishing footprint is 6". The face of the pads are a flat pad style - which most people seem to prefer. The Rupes pads seem to me to be made of some kind of "different" foam than what most pads are. While the pad feels "soft", it feels denser than other finishing pads. Almost like a closed cell pad, which it very well may be.
From my limited experience with the Rupes pads, they seem to be made to wear like iron. Whatever glue is holding the Velcro to the pad seems firm and tough. In my experience, if a pad can be labeled "defective", it's going to be labeled that because the glue fails holding the Velcro to the foam. Most other failures are user error.
I haven't seen anyone claiming their Rupe's pad delaminated yet, so that is a good sign. The fit the 5" BP perfectly and tightly. I have read some have had an issue with pads being held "too tight" to the Rupe's BP, but I didn't have a problem removing them. I've washed this pad 4 or 5 times so far and it remains like new.
Other than that, all I can say is I can't find any reason to use any other manufacturer's pads with the Rupe's machines. Again, amazingly when you use all these products together and the polish sparingly, the pad never gets gummy or gunked up. I can't speak for the other Rupe's combos, but my guess is they are similar.
The polishing is done, but the car isn't finished. I will post final pics when it's done.
Thanks for looking * Comments and Feedback appreciated !!!