Rupes LEGACY BigFoot 6" Electric Random Orbital Polisher

Rupes LEGACY BigFoot 6" Electric Random Orbital Polisher

Rupes LEGACY BigFoot 6" Electric Random Orbital Polisher

Rupes LEGACY BigFoot 6" Electric Random Orbital Polisher
Option 2: The Rupes 981.321 6" Extra-Hold Backing Plate is factory installed onto the LHR21ES, and mounts perfectly onto the LHR15ES.Option 3: The Rupes 981.321 6" Extra-Hold Backing Plate is factory installed onto the LHR15ES, and mounts perfectly onto the LHR21ES.Replace the factory plastic bolts with polished button head stainless steel bolts! Nicer looking, plus they allow you to super-tighten the head cap assembly (which always seems to loosen up when using the plastic screws).
Click to enlarge image(s)
A graceful dancer with a powerful KICK.


 NOTE:  This is the original version of the BigFoot Polisher, now referred to as the LEGACY. The updated version (officially named the MARK lll BigFoot Polisher is located here. The MARK ll offers improved performance, and higher RPM. The Legacy and Mark lll machines are very similar in appearance.

The Rupes® LHR21ES BigFoot 6" Electric Random Orbital Polisher has left an indelible mark on the paint polishing scene.  For me, it was love at first second sight!  Allow me to explain.

While walking the aisles of the 2011 SEMA Show with my good friend Derek Bemiss, we meandered through a sea of car-related tools & goods.  Upon eye-balling a booth filled with sanding & polishing machines, Derek commented, "Nice looking stuff", and I agreed.  However, neither of us recognized the brand Rupes®, so we forged ahead.  But, for some odd reason, I glanced over my shoulder as we strode past, and a number printed atop one of the machines caught my eye: it was a 21.  To the average guy, 21 was just a number.  But to me, it represented something potentially huge.

I stopped, turned, and locked eyes with one of the fellows manning the booth.

"Does that 21 mean twenty-one millimeter, as in 21 millimeter orbit diameter?" 

His response was a very brief but excited,  "Yes!"

That man turned out to be Marco D'Inca, designer of the now legendary Rupes BigFoot machine. After some conversation and investigation,  Derek and I invited everyone we could think of to visit the Rupes booth, to share in our excitement.  Several months passed, but in the summer of 2012, I was the first to offer the Rupes line of products in the USA.  

By now you're probably wondering, "WHY all the excitement, and WHAT is the BIG DEAL?!"

The LHR21ES BigFoot creates a 21mm diameter orbit.
Random orbital machines that use 5" to 6" discs and pads typically create small orbits, sometimes as small as only several millimeters in diameter. The Rupes LHR21ES creates a 21mm diameter orbit, which really gets pads, discs, and compounds moving.       Note: This machine is also available in a 5-inch, 15mm version: LHR15ES

Why is a large diameter stroke or orbit beneficial?
To better understand why a large stroke machine can deliver better and faster polishing results, imagine hand sanding a panel of wood with a typical sanding block & paper using very short 1mm back and forth strokes.  Although sanding would be concentrated and exact, most of the sanding debris would remain positioned between the sandpaper and wood panel.  Rapid clogging of the sandpaper would likely occur, effectively limiting cutting power and finishing potential.  

However, if the length of each sanding stroke was increased (within a similar time frame), the sandpaper would move along at a more rapid pace.  The increased speed of motion would assist in loosening any stuck-on debris from the sandpaper, all the while helping to eliminate sanding debris residing between the paper and wood surface. The exact same principles of extending the stroke apply when using the LHR21ES, except its motion is rotational (not linear), and we use buffing liquids (not sandpaper) to accomplish our work.

High speed + lots of motion = very fast polishing.
A majority of the buffing liquids available today utilize abrasive particles that are engineered to assist in polishing the surfaces we're working on.  To work efficiently, these particles must occasionally shift and tumble in order to keep them free of debris, minimize clumping of the abrasives, and slow contamination of the buffing pad.  The LHR21ES's large-diameter stroke (21mm) and high-speed capability (4,200 RPM) combine to deliver unrivaled performance in this regard, utterly stomping the performance mustered by other competitor's machines.

The LHR21ES BigFoot leaves surfaces beautifully polished & remarkably scour-free.
As I prepared to use a prototype LHR21ES at length for the first time, I was expecting everything from the machine. After all, I had spent untold hours writing an in-depth article entitled Machine Stroke - How It Affects Sanding and Polishing Performance (read the article here). Through the writing of the article, it became very clear that large stroke machines had a lot to offer in terms of cutting speed and finishing performance.  The LHR21ES BigFoot did not disappoint; its combination of adequate machine speed, ample backing plate rotaion, and smooth sweeping motions combined to deliver remarkable results. 

The LHR21ES  BigFoot is easy to control, and fun to use!
The moment you use the Rupes BigFoot 6" Random Orbital Polisher, it is immediately apparent how managable and comfortable it is to operate.  The LHR 21ES BigFoot is specifically balanced for use with Rupes-brand 155/180mm (6") Foam Pads, but can also be used with other similarly-sized or weighted pads (such as Meguiar's DA Microfiber Discs and Soft Buff 2.0 7" Foam Buffing Pads ).

To recap, this machine features:

           • An orbit diameter of 21mm
           • Super-fast cutting speed
           • Fantastic finishing potential
           • Extended working time per application of buffing liquid
           • Less build-up of contaminants across the face of discs & pads
           • Smooth & balanced swooping motions that increase user comfort
           • Increased rotation of the backing plate versus other machines

 OPTION 1:  Add a Rupes Buffing Pad Set, save 15%. 
You'll be ready to tackle just about any polishing task if you've a set of Rupes® Buffing Pads on hand.  These pads have been optimized specifically for use with BigFoot machines (read about them here).  Choose from four different grades:
  Blue   = Hard Cut   |     Green   = Intermediate Cut   |     Yellow   = Polish   |     White   = Finish

 OPTION 2:  Add a SPARE backing plate, save 15%. 
Make sure to keep a spare backing plate on hand, as a simple dropping of the machine can bend the backing plate's mounting pad. This can stall polishing work until a replacement plate arrives.

The Rupes 981.321 6" Backing Plate is a direct replacement for the factory installed unit. Click here to read more.
The Rupes 981.321 6" Backing Plate can be customized to fit just about any buffing pad! Click here for more info.

Use the LHR21ES with 5" diameter pads & discs!
While the other guys were warning against exchanging the factory installed 6-inch plate for a 5-inch version, I had already tried it. Upon first checking the fit and comparing plate weights (virtually identical), I ran the machine. It worked great! The Rupes 981.015 5" Backing Plate enables you to install 5-inch buffing pads onto your machine. Click here to read more.

 NOTE:  This is the original version of the BigFoot Polisher, now referred to as the LEGACY. The updated version (officially named the MARK ll BigFoot Polisher is located here. The MARK ll offers improved performance, and higher RPM. The Legacy and Mark ll machines are very similar in appearance.

This machine carries a one-year parts and labor warranty (shipping to and from the repair center is not included).

This machine is also available in a factory-built kit: Rupes LHR21ES/DLX Deluxe Edition Duffle Bag Kit
Check out the LHR21's little brother: Rupes LHR15ES 5" Electric Random Orbital Polisher
Specifications & Notes:
Motor specifications:
500 watt (output)

Speed settings:
1,700 R.P.M - 4,200 R.P.M.

Stroke size:
10.5mm offset, creates a 21mm orbit diameter

Machine type:
Random Orbital Polisher aka Dual Action

Action 1:
Shaft drive rotates a free-spinning backing plate spindle, creating a circular path measuring 21mm in diameter

Action 2:
Backing plate free-spins and is able to rotate in either direction.

Backing plate #981.321
5-7/8" (149mm) 8mm x 1.25mm bolt-mount

Spindle mounting hole:
8mm x 1.25mm female thread

Machine weight: 5 lbs 8 oz

Electrical cord:
Length: 120"
Specs: 2 x 16g, CSA/UL certified
Overall dimensions:
14-1/4"L x 5-7/8"W x 5"T
Body width: 3-1/4"
Shroud width: 4-1/2"
Backing plate width: 5-7/8"