Quick unboxing and first impressions today:
I mentioned lighting in a previous post and made a bit of an impulse buy when Crazy Detailer posted a deal on the Rupes Swirl Finder.
This is something I periodically talk myself into and out of… and one of those that you are on the fence about and then when you’ve finally made a decision, you discover all the stock is gone. This was the case for both Rupes and Scangrip penlights as well as the slightly larger Scangrip lights. Story of my life… Same happened with the Big Boi ‘medium’ dryer. These are all firmly in the area of ‘nice to have’ and hence the decision making process is usually protracted for me.
The Rupes LL150 Swirl Finder has some mixed reviews from people who compare it to torches and others who rave about it. I mentioned before that I have a VERY bright and effective head mounted lamp as well as an existing LED torch.
How different can it be?
Well light is a strange thing and the mix of colour temp, intensity and ability to change focus makes this quite a nice tool to have. The surfaces of my cars range from near flawless to ‘needs a fine polish’ so I might do a video on this with someone else’s car to show it off better (if you haven’t please do check out the vid in the prior post and let me know if it was useful below or on PM?) I know where most if not all the defects are on these cars and did a quick check to see how different this was under my downlit garage, with the floodlights, headlamp and then the Rupes on the Merc. It sounds like this was a big exercise written down but it was really just a few minutes fiddling with some lighting for a first impression.
With the Rupes in a relatively diffuse lens position, it is dramatically easier to identify the imperfections (and as the name suggests) particularly micro marring and swirls far better than the other tools at my disposal. This is not a replacement for the headlight or flood lights that help you in other ways as you are working a section of the car. This is of use upfront and to ‘check your work’ after you go through each panel. It is convenient in size as well vs. my old LED torch which was VERY chunky (and which for the life of me I couldn’t find to take a pic of for this post).
Will it reveal something that other lighting simply will not?
You will eventually spot these defects with effort, a good torch and a good eye… the above factors just mean the effort required is quite a lot less with this. Quality is as you would expect from Rupes and it comes with batteries and well packaged in a box you will end up reusing as storage for it.
So I am happy right? Of course I am!
BUT how much of that writeup is me justifying to myself that an LED (albeit a fancy, high quality one), shone through an adjustable lens and powered by 2 AAA batteries housed in an aluminium chassis was worth what it costs (normally over R1100)? Well probably a fair amount if I am honest! The bill of materials is not close to R1100 even accounting for the Rupes brand. I would love for this to cost closer to R4-500 at which point it would still be unnecessary but might make a great ‘pro grade’ stocking filler gift for an amateur. Unfortunately our exchange rates probably don’t allow for this. I don’t think the average person wanting to maintain their car well or even the weekend warrior just wanting to detail their car needs ANYTHING like this. If you read the amazon and other reviews, I am not even sure the average person would KNOW what they were ‘revealing’ with this over and above a flashlight or other lighting that I’ve covered before.
That said, there is no cheaper unit that will do what this will do IMHO (not that I’ve used anyway). You could probably get 80% of the way there with some trial and error in finding the higher quality (R200+) torches behind the counter at Ali Express Kyalami branch or China Mall. Of course by this point between trying different stuff and the failure rates of these things you will probably have spent R800 anyway over time.
If I could compare this with a car-based decision, this is not even like a “should I buy an M240i vs M2” decision. It is an “M2 vs. M2 Competition” decision… It boils down to “do you just want the best” or “will you be able to use that 5-10% extra that costs you 20-30% more”. In most cases the decision is based on the former even if the person is unable to use (or even notice) that little bit extra. If you feel that you will notice the difference and (more importantly) can use it to your advantage, then definitely yes it’s worth having in your arsenal.
In this case, and back to the product at hand, YES you will get a benefit out of it, YES it will cost you disproportionately more to get that extra benefit and NO don’t watch youtube videos or read reviews and feel like you’re missing out on something very badly by not having one if you are not a pro detailer.
I decided to grab new wash buckets while I was at it (long overdue – one of my old ones sprung a leak!). I also grabbed some of the quite excellent Mother’s detailing brushes which always come in handy. I feel like you can never have too many brushes or microfibre towels! I have a pair of these already and they have held up for nearly 7 years now.
Thanks for reading