Boat Detailing Basics: Forced Rotation vs. Long Throw Polisher

When you’re detailing boats, knowing your tools is just as important as a golfer knowing which club to use in which situation or a painter knowing which paintbrush to use for a certain style. Both a Forced Rotation Machine and a Long Throw Polisher are useful, but they have different use cases. If you use them in the wrong situation, you might end up doing the heavy lifting instead of letting the machine do the hard work, and you likely aren’t going to get the results you want. We’ll break down when and how to use each machine for the best results.

Forced Rotation Machine: FLEX 3401 Dual Action Polisher

Also known as “The Beast,” this is an older model of what is the current FLEX XCE 10-8 dual action polisher. The FLEX 3401 is still available for purchase, but you may have to look a bit harder to find it. This machine is great for cutting and polishing but isn’t the best option if you’re solely looking to polish.

In instances where you want to do a one-step process without compounding, this is a great option. By pairing an orange force pad and Elevate with the FLEX 3401, you’ll get really excellent results without having to break out two machines. Because this machine gets so hot, the pad you pair it with is crucial; we recommend using the Lake Country line of pads called the Force Lineup when using a forced rotation machine. 

Long Throw Polisher: RUPES BigFoot LHR Rotary Polisher

Though the RUPES Bigfoot LHR is similar to a dual-action, it has a 21 mm range of motion, meaning it travels way further than the standard 8mm dual action machine. The increased travel offers better correction than a dual-action machine would, but also creates a lot more heat.

With this Long Throw Polisher, you’ll need to use Lake Country HDO (Heavy Duty Orbital) Pads. These pads are made in different variations: the blue pad is a more aggressive foam, the orange is a bit softer, and the black is a finishing pad. These pads work so well because of the foam insert in them that’s a bit stiffer, protecting the pad itself from disintegrating due to the high level of heat produced by the machine. If you’re looking to correct holograms, swirls, or micro-scratches, this is the machine for you.

Machine Differences

The main difference between these machines is that the Forced Rotation Machine rotates in one direction and oscillates in the other direction, while the Long Throw Polisher rotates and oscillates in the same direction. Because of this nuance, you’ll feel as if the Forced Rotation Machine is a bit harder to handle, almost as if it’s fighting you the whole way.


Both machines are great resources to have available to you, but, if you’re anything like us, you might find that you use the Long Throw Polisher more often. The Forced Rotation Machine is good for a one-step process, but it’s not uncommon to split out the steps for the best results. Whether you’re a detailing business owner or a hobbyist, knowing your detailing machines is the first step towards success.


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