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Cutting & Polishing Write Up - by The Opel Project!!


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As i have been spending a far bit of time recently polishing the Opel (and there was a request!) i thought i would do a little write up on the kit used. There will be loads of variations on the DA and cutting compounds that you can use and im only using this kit as the cutting compound was recommended by the paint place. I will include a few pics a the bottom.

So lets start with the main bit of kit, the DA polisher.

I did a bit of research and was looking for a good one that was not way too expensive but good enough to do a decent job and the Auto Finess MPX Dual Action Polisher came out as a pretty good one in reviews and has been great. The DA was the better option rather than just a standard grinder style polisher as there is way less chance of inexperienced people like me burning through the paint!! which is always a good thing.


It comes with a 5" and 3" backing plate which is is good as it means you don't need to buy extra bits. I also bought a 6" interface pad  (https://groveshop.co.uk/interface-pads/21696-3m-150-mm-10-mm-soft-hookit-interface-pad-multi-hole-50544.html)

This will let you use the soft polishing pads and trizact discs (which are 6") on this smaller DA

Its got a nice variable speed setting so you can run it slower when using the trizact discs and initial cutting and then turn it up a bit higher for the finer cutting. I ran it on around 3 for the trizact, 3.5 for the first cut and then 4/4.5 for the final cut.

Now onto the cutting process

Using the trizact 3000 discs first is great if you have a reasonably flat paint job, want to get rid of a bit of slight orange peel, a bit of overspray, very fine dust nibs or your looking to remove some scratches from an older paint job, as it does just take off a very fine layer of paint. To give you and idea, if you have a bigger dust nib it will take the top off and remove it a bit but you would have to be there for a while to completely get rid of it with these discs. You get a kind of fine sully when using them and don't need too much water as with too much it aquaplanes over the paint and does not cut into it. I went over my panels a couple of times to make sure i had a nice even finish and its worth taking your time and doing it thoroughly.

If you are removing any runs or bigger dist nibs make sure that you run through the paper grades and end up on a 2000 or 2500 grade as even the 3000 discs dont cut enough to get rid of scratches from a 1000 grit unless you go over it a fair bit.

Then onto the trizact 6000 discs which gives it more of a polish than an actual cut. So i take my time and again give it a couple of goes over to remove as many of the fine scratches left from the 3000. When you have finished you can see the panel start to have much more of i shine and these discs don't take off much paint at all.

Now onto the cutting compound. The guys at Cartec support said i should go. 5000, 9000 and then 12000 and a final hand polish. But as i bought the big 1 ltr bottle (which he said would last a body shop nearly a week!) that i should get the same finish if i went over 2 or 3 times with the 9000 and then the final cut with the 12000, and he was right. Some times 2 goes is enough and if you are really slow at going over it for the first go then 2 will do but most of the time i have ended up doing 3. You dont use a lot of compound so its just the extra time it takes. I also do 2 goes over with the 12000 as i have the 1 ltr bottle of that as well.

Then after that is a hand polish with a good final coat wax polish.

What i have found as i have gone along is that if use the trizact 3000 discs fist, then see if there are any dust nibs still showing, i then use a 2000 grit just to remove them and then go back over a couple of times with the trizact 3000's i get a better finish that taking the nibs out first as that seems to scratch the fresh paint more.

Also after a coupe of goes with the Cartec 9000 cutting compound, if i still have any bits that look a little scratched i go back over them with the 2 grades of trizact on that area and then back to cutting and i make sure i have it looking as spot on as i can before the 12000 cut. 

None of this is hard to do it just takes a lot of time and the more you do it the more of a perfectionist you get and then keep going back over bits you first did!

I think if i painted the car again (and i will apply this to the Lambretta when i paint it!) that i would go for more coats, then flat the paint with a 2500 grit and then use the above process as then you would get a proper showroom finish as you could flat out any imperfections with the 2500 before starting with the trizact discs.

I spent more time stressing about getting the paint also smooth as possible out of the gun and worried about overspray and dust and now i know how easy it is to cut and polish i should have spent more time making sure i got more coats on and less runs (but you can get those out easily and polish up) and then spent the time on giving it a full flat and then a cut and polish.

Still, its all learning and hopefully this might help someone else out if the are thinking about doing their own painting!!

When i do get around to doing the Lambretta i will post some pics of that 🙂

I hope some of this is a bit of help and useful to other. And now i have the kit in going to give the Smart car a good cut and polish!



Pics of a few bits.

MPX Dual Action Polisher - well worth the money.

Trizact discs - you can see how fine the surface is and the 6000 is even finer and now they do an 8000

White buffing pad (used and washed and dried in-between polishes) for the 9000 cartec cutting compound and black waffle for the 12000






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8 minutes ago, moodoo said:

Thanks for taking the time to write that up Andy. You’ve done a great job with your car.

Can this post be made a sticky so it doesn’t get lost?

Hey Fin

No problem. Final pics of the finished project coming very soon!!

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6 hours ago, ®evo03 said:

Great write up, great reference point. 

As they say, its good to share 🙂


Now you might be wondering why i have posted a picture of the kitchen and not the car???

Well after 2 full days on it i thought a 3rd day would be pushing it so cleaned the kitchen to keep the missus happy 🙂 and then managed to get a couple of hours after that and fitted one rear arch and the boot lock!!

Now i just need a dry couple of hours this week to do the other side and then the last bits are to polish the gutter and door top trim and fit those and then its out for a drive to a nice spot to take some pics.



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