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Joe Sabo took an ordinary piece of equipment and found a way to make it extraordinary.
Joe Sabo is no newbie to the collision repair industry. After working alongside his two older brothers and younger sister for the past 32 years at West Michigan Auto Body, he’s developed his own standards for a proper repair — and he aims quite high.
“We’ve buffed and polished every car that’s gone through our shop, and pleased our customers doing so,” said the longtime body shop manager. “We try not to deliver anything that we wouldn’t accept ourselves and keep our standards really high.”
As personal standards evolved, so too did buffing and polishing technology. From flat buffing pads to waffle pads, Sabo’s seen it all — and he just wasn’t satisfied with the available products.
Over time, he noticed that compounds used for polishing would migrate to the center of a flat surfaced buffing pad, resulting in heavy smearing of the panel being refinished. To resolve this issue, he simply cut a conical shape out of the center of the pad — and it worked.
“It keeps compounds outward, and it helped us so much that we thought this was something we should really pursue,” he said.
Pursuing a Patent
Sabo took the next step to make his idea a reality. He dubbed the product the DRC1000 (Diagonally Recessed Center) and received his patent in 2007. He also designed a backing disc with a tapered edge that tucks up into the foam, allowing the user to easily work in tight areas.
Marketing the DRC1000 in addition to running a full-time business has been a long process, but he says he has managed to work on it during spare moments throughout his typical day. The American-made product (“We wanted to keep it built in the U.S.,” said Sabo) is primarily marketed through its website, though a recent partnership with Amazon.com allows consumers to purchase it via another outlet.
How It Works
To use the DRC1000, you first grab your polishing machine of choice and choose an appropriately sized pad. You then align the pad to the backing disc, put a squirt of polish on the pad and begin polishing the vehicle, gradually increasing the RPMs. The DRC1000’s design allows compound to migrate to the faster, outer edges of the pad instead of the center, resulting in a more efficient distribution of polish.
“We use lower RPMs [than other pads], but we have full surface contact, so it’s faster and less stressful on a user,” said Sabo.
Currently, there are four different types of 8.5- and 6-inch pads available for just about every purpose – from removing scratches to applying finishing polish. They’re color-coded (yellow, white, green and black) by compression ratio and recommended RPM, and can be used as a series or individually for specific tasks. Sabo even crafted his own Pad Conditioner, a custom brush that thoroughly cleans pads so they can be used over and over again.