I managed to get some time over the weekend to start working on the final sanding and polishing of the car. I only worked on the hood, and I sanded everything down with 1200 and then 1500 sandpaper, and tried to get everything as flat as possible.
My first polishing experiment was using TurtleWax swirl remover with a fixed speed polisher, using the foam polishing pad that came with the polisher.
You can see just how little work that combo achieved. I was fairly surprised to be honest. That polisher is a $150 unit and that pic was taken after about 20 mins of polishing.
My next experiment was to use Poorboy's SSR2.5 with a random orbital polisher (similar specs to a PC) and a cutting pad.
Now that is a finish that I'm happier with!!! To get the paint looking like that I had the polisher going flat out to generate as much heat as possible with the polish. I also kept polishing until the polish residue had almost totally disappeared. There are a number of deeper scratches in the paint that the SSR2.5 didn't get out, so I'm going to try again with some SSR3 which is a heavier cutting compound.
One thing that I'm really impressed with is the depth of shine that the SSR2.5 was able to produce. Normally an aggressive swirl remover like the SSR2.5 will leave some holograms that need to be removed with a pass of a normal polish with a polishing pad. That pic was taken after only doing the cutting. Potentially a polish will further improve the reflection.
The last pic is sort of a progression pic. The reflection of the garage roof is where I used the SSR2.5, the top of the hood has not been polished at all after the sanding and the left of the pic is the area that I polished with the TurtleWax. The headlight covers and nose cone haven't been touched since they were painted.
I'm actually really impressed with the polishing experiment. As the guy who started this whole roller paintjob thing has said, it's not how the paint is applied that matters, it's how it is finished that makes the difference.