Tech Tips
Paint Your Own Car
Color Sand & Buff ~ Needed Supplies

Color sanding and buffing your car is the final step in completing a proper paint job. This process can also be used to bring a dead or damaged paint job back to life. Scratches, dulling, and swirl marks can be improved or eliminated by this process.
The first step in tackling this project is making sure you have the right tools and supplies. So it would be a good time to cover buffing basics and supplies and CAUTIONS before we get down to buffing.

Click Any Photo for Enlarged Version

The heart of the buffing process is of course the buffer. One of the best buffers on the market is the Dewalt DW-849. Although it retails for $360.00 the street price is around $200.00. It will handle a 9" pad and is variable speed from 1000 to 3000 RPM. The variable speed is very important to the buffing process.

We will remove the black backing pad that is supplied with the buffer and attach 3M adapter #05710. Street price about $6.00. This is to prevent the buffer shaft from protruding through your pads and hitting the paint job.

The buffing process will be in two parts. The compounding part and the glazing part. The compounding part will level the paint and remove major imperfections while the glazing part will remove the swirls that compounding "might" leave. For the compounding part we will attach a 3M Wool Buffing Pad # 05704, street price of about $20.00 to the above mentioned adapter.

For the machine glazing process we will be using a foam pad. The pad requires this backing pad 3M # 05717. Street price is about $32.00. This pad uses a velcro type system to hold the foam pad in place.

The foam pad is used with the machine glaze and is attached to the backing pad above. We will be using 3M # 05725 for about $20.00 which is for two pads.

The first step in the compounding process is to buff with 3M Rubbing Compound # 05936 available for about $25.00 on the street per quart.

The machine glaze we will use is 3M # 05937 available for about $24.00 per quart.

This is very important. This is a very special polish cloth that polishes very softly, yet agressively without swirl marks. Don't skimp here and use a T-shirt or such. This is the very best cloth to wax and polish your car too. 3M # 06016 for about $6.00.

We will also need a supply of wet/dry sandpaper. A few sheets of 1000 and 1200 will be enough for most cars. If you haven't noticed yet every product here, except the buffer, is 3M. Keep it that way including the sandpaper if you want the best results.
In general these are the supplies you will need to do a professional buffing job. The total cost of tools and materials can be purchased for under $340.00. If you can beg or borrow a buffer your remaining supplies can be purchased for under $140.00. Typically a bodyshop will charge around $200.00 to buff your car, with color sanding possibly double that amount. So for less than you would pay a professional shop you could buff and colorsand your car, wind up with the buffer and some left over materials for other cars. Additionally once you get the hang of it you will wonder where all the friends came from and you might quickly recoup your money and even make a few bucks buffing other cars. 

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