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Thread: Polisher war: Flex XFE7 vs Flex 3401

  1. #1
    Mr. greg0303's Avatar
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    Polisher war: Flex XFE7 vs Flex 3401

    Now, after I spent enough time with both Flex dual action/random orbital polishers, I have some (deep) thoughts to share.

    Flex XFE7-15 is the newest addition to my detailing tool collection. The quality of that polisher is amazing. It's manufactured in Germany, where all Flex polishers are assembled. It's a 12mm long throw/large orbit dual action polisher. It operates very quietly, even on higher speeds, and its ventilation system is much more advanced/improved, comparing to model 3401.

    A lot has been said about the new trend in car detailing world of using long stroke/large orbit dual action polishers. They operate very smoothly with much less vibration, they are easier to control and cover large area to get work done faster. There is exactly the case of XFE7. But on vertical, contoured or uneven surface they experience the same issues, known from other dual action polishers, they loose rotation. While during polishing and waxing process it's not a problem, during defect removal it is absolutely not wanted. Those 12mm/15mm/21mm polishers really shine on large even panels. They work just effortlessly.

    Flex XFE7-15 spins in the right direction: clockwise (looking from top of the polisher). Flex XC 3401 VRG spins the opposite direction (counter clockwise), which some detailers find annoying.

    Below it's pictured Flex XC 3401 VRG, dual action/random orbital polishers, with forced rotation and traditional 8mm orbit.
    It's pictured with optional Lake Country Mfg. 4-inch changeable backing plate system, to allow the machine operate with 4-inch spot buffing pad. My friend, Eric Dunn (ex Lake Country Mfg., currently Buff & Shine) was the master designer of that changeable pad system.

    The strongest asset of Flex 3401 it's the forced rotation mechanism. No matter what, the rotation can't be stopped. It's a big advantage during paint defect removal/ paint correction work. The polisher is very sensitive to flat pad holding, just like rotary buffers, it will "walk" if not kept flat. Therefore it's much harder to control and requires some time/training. Flex 3401 removes paint defects very quickly. I estimate its power as 80% of rotary buffers, some detailers say it's even more. This effectiveness increases while used with microfiber cutting discs/pads or foamed wool pads.
    Flex 3401 gets hot pretty quickly, especially when working on higher speed settings. It causes some vibrations and requires down pressure for effective paint removal, just like all traditional 8mm polishers.

    Overall Flex produces very well engineered polishing machines. They operate very smoothly and effectively. Model XFE7 is definitely more user friendly, due to its large 15mm orbit. Model 3401 is more powerful/more effective during paint correction work, due to its forced rotation mechanism.
    They both get their jobs done well, but users looking for faster defect removal/time efficiency won't be disappointed with 3401, while XFE7 users will glory its super smooth operating process.
    At the moment model XFE7 can only be used with 6.5", 6", 5.5" and 5" buffing pads, extra backing plate needed for 5.5"/5".
    Model 3401 will work also with 4" spot buffing pads, with additional backing plate.

  2. #2
    Mr. greg0303's Avatar
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    Re: Polisher war: Flex XFE7 vs Flex 3401

    I posted my thoughts about using DA Microfiber Correction System with forced rotation dual action polishers back in 2011, but it's still accurate:

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