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What are holograms

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Holograms are a visual side effect that can occur when polishing in a certain way with certain products. It looks good with minimal lighting, but when the lights hits the paint just right, you can see certain marks in de surface. These are very small surface imperfections that cause the light to be reflected in a slightly different way.

Types of holograms

Abrasion related

Abrasion holograms, often reffered to as buffer trails or machine marring, which are microscopic scratches in the paint caused by micro marring of the surface by a very fine abrasive pad or compound – when viewed in the sun you get a sort of holographic effect, sometimes with the small scratches appearing to move; buffer trails tend to be in circular trails, following the path of the machine. These need to be polished out, typically by machine with a fine finishing compound/pad.

Product related

Oil holograms, caused by residues of products (oils, waxes or sealants predominantly) curing at different levels on the surface. These high spots and low spots alter the depth of the surface visually speaking, so the paint can look darker and lighter in different places and reflect light in odd ways. Typically this looks like smearing or blotching. The final type of oil hologram resembles fine scratches – it is simply fine lines of product that have been spread rather than removed. This is why a second buff is often worthwhile. People often mistake these for scratches caused by the cloth or product, but it is really just the peaks and troughs left behind after a single pass of a cloth (the fibres causing the channels).

How are abrasive holograms created

Holograms are created when a polish hasn’t been worked in enough at a to high speed. Not letting the polish break down properly, causes the polish to leave an uneven finish. Polish is made to slightly sand away a tiny layer of paint in a very controlled manner. When this process hasn’t been completed, the polish won’t have removed an even amount. There is a microscopic height different in the surface. This causes the light to be reflected in a slightly different way, which is caught by the eye as “holograms”. When the polish also has been worked in at a high speed, the holograms will increase in size. Holding the polishes at an angle, instead of perfectly flat to the surface, will give the holograms a certain direction.
These can also be called: “buffer trails, polishmarks, compoundmarks, webs”.

How are oily holograms created

The causes of this is either buffing off a product too early or buffing it off too late. By buffing too early, you inadvertently spread fresh product whilst attempting to clear the panel. If you fail to remove all fresh product and it remains on the surface in a small – perhaps near-invisible amount – then it could overcure or remain ‘unlevelled’ and lead to hologramming. If you buff it off too late, as in the second instance, and leave it on too long, then the product could cure/set at different levels and may be difficult to buff or remove. Oily products can also soak into mildly UVdamaged clearcoats if left too long (mainly reds and blacks) and again, these soak into microscopic pits in the paint if left for a longer time and may be unable to be removed/buffed totally. To remove, reapplication and removal of the product can sometimes work, some people apply water as a spritz onto naturally-based waxes with good effect, you could use a solvent or degreaser to thoroughly clean the surface or you could simply wait for the oil/product to diminish over time.

How to fix holograms

This can either be done by refining the polishing process with a finer pad, finer polish and a slightly lower setting. Or, in case of a product, by buffing the product a second time, or by re-applying the product and buffing it thoroughly. The spit shining technique can help with this.

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