Product Review: Rupes iBrid Nanoby Zach McGovern
The Rupes iBrid Nano was a product that I had extremely high hopes for when it was announced at the SEMA Show in 2016. After what seemed like forever, the iBrid was finally available for sale and I was eager to put it to work (see my Unboxing Article Here). I have spent many months with the tool now, and I have learned a lot about the iBrid Nano as I continue to use it whenever possible.
To be perfectly honest, this tool was perhaps a bit overly hyped in my own brain. When it finally showed up, and I put it to use, I was somewhat disappointed. My first few hours with the machine were a bit of a struggle. I had fitted the machine with the 3 mm orbit, 1 inch pads, and battery pack for cordless operation. I found it to be quite challenging to maintain pad rotation, and I was not seeing the results I was hoping for. The machine is extremely quiet, so initially I just assumed it was drastically under powered because it didn’t sound like it was working hard even at full speed, but I would later discover that this tool requires you to pay a lot of attention to your technique.
Keeping the pad level relative to your working surface is more of a challenge due to the long body of the tool compared to the small pad face. Any small change in the angle of the handle can create too much pressure on the outer edges of the pad, slowing or stalling the rotation. I found that when I switched to the larger 12mm orbit it was not as much of a challenge for me to keep the pad spinning, so this is now how I use the tool most of the time. It also felt like the machine had a bit more power when it was plugged in via the supplied power adapter, though it may have just been due to the fact that my battery was no longer fully charged. I still prefer to use the tool cordless as it gives you so much more freedom.
As I grew more comfortable with how to make the most of the tool, I found it to be extremely useful for a variety of tasks. Obviously, the tool is made for polishing small, hard to reach areas, and it certainly does work well for this.
The Rupes iBrid Nano allowed us to get into intricate areas on the exterior of the vehicles as well as interiors, engine bays, wheels, and almost anywhere else that may have a surface in need of polishing. Most luxury vehicles are equipped with a glossy trim of some sort, typically carbon fiber, wood, or piano black. These trim pieces will show wear over time as mine had in my 2008 Lexus ISF. The nano was the perfect size to safely polish all of the trim pieces, using both the 1″ and 2″ attachments, to restore clarity in my carbon fiber pieces.
I really enjoyed the freedom of being completely cordless, especially when working in tighter areas such as interiors and engine bays. The compact size of the machine and the cordless operation enable you to easily navigate small spaces, though you do need to be aware of the metal neck on the polisher. This piece can cause damage to nearby components if you are working in a congested area.
I found the trigger to be very easy to operate, though I do wish there was a lock mechanism like the ones found on the larger Rupes machines. The speed dial is easy to manipulate during operation, and the battery indicator light is quite handy for letting you know when you need to switch to a new battery. Changing attachment is quick and simple with the supplied tool. You can change to different size orbits, different size backing plates, or brushes in no time at all.
I wasn’t sure if I would find much use for the supplied brushes, but after fixing the horsehair brush to the tool and testing it out on some of my interior pieces, I was hooked. The random orbital motion scrubs the leather and vinyl surfaces so much better than I could do by hand, and with much less physical effort required. When paired with a nice interior cleaning like CarPro Inside, you can do a lot of cleaning in a very short period of time.
Overall, we have found the Rupes iBrid Nano to be a welcome addition to the Rupes lineup. The tool certainly has its limitations, but it enables us to get into areas that were previously not accessible with larger machines. I still feel that the price is quite high for this kit. I would rather there be an option to purchase a kit with fewer attachments. I personally have not found the need to have the sanding backing plates, sanding discs, Rupes compound, Rupes polish, 3mm orbit attachment, blue Rupes pads, microfiber cloths, or the large case. A standalone polisher with batteries and backing plates would have been much more appealing to me. Perhaps I am in the minority and most others find all of the supplied products and attachments to be useful.
In any case, we enjoy using our Rupes iBrid Nano when it is needed, but in my opinion the high price for the kit makes it hard to justify purchasing the iBrid unless you are a professional and will be making good money with this tool.
Nice article,your description of the stalling caused by tiny angle changes sounds exactly how I was finding my Bigfoot 15 mark 2 when i first bought,i did the washer mod and its so much easier now to maintain rotation and less prone to stalling when the pad isn’t 100 percent flat to the surface.
I wonder if maybe the I brid has the same anti spin shroud thing going on ??
I’ve had my eye on one for ages but still reading mixed reviews…..maybe they’ll do a mark 2 with more power and some kind of rubberized coating to protect against accidental bumps ??
The iBrid backing plate does not contact a shroud like the LHR15 and LHR21 do, so a washer mod would not have any benefit. I believe the machine will become available as a stand alone tool, and not a kit, which should make the price much more reasonable for those of us who do not feel the need to have all the attachments and add-ons. This would have made the decision for me even easier, as I was certainly on the fence about spending this kind of money on a tool that will get used for just a few areas on each job.
Thanks Zach for the article. You mentioned in the CL forum a little while ago and I was looking to it. Nice write-up. I learned something from your article particularly the use of this little machine to clean vinyl and leather surface. I am planning to clean the vinyl on door panels to prep the surface for Car Pro Leather Coat this year. Your article came in just in time!
You’re going to love CarPro Leather Coat. Very easy to use, and it helps keep your seats nice and clean.
Great write up Zach! I had purchased the iBrid short neck at Christmas to work on my new AM DB9 in black. I knew there would be areas that this small tool would help me on. The iBrid is well packaged with all the possible parts needed to either wet sand small areas or polish the areas out. I loved the case and how all items needed to work could be put in there. However, when first using it the quietness took me aback also. The tool felt very well built and had that solid construction feel to it even though with the amount of plastic used for the casing. The speed wheel was simple and easy to operate. The battery charging and spare were well thought out items, but the possibility of disregarding the batteries and just using the power cord was genius.
Keeping the 12mm orbital rotating was the easiest using a 2″ pad for me. Using the Rules pads it was more difficult to keep spinning. It is all about technique. You see write ups about the larger Rupes line and professionals saying that its the technique that keeps the pad spinning on all surfaces and it takes a good while to learn and adapt to that. This tool is no different. The small size of the pad, and the freedom of the smaller tool usually with no cord makes the technique all that much more important.
I definitely felt the tool had enough power without pressure being applied, but as soon as I applied the pressure I had an extremely hard time keeping it spinning. I did use on my first step the rotary attachment and due to the non oscillating orbital pattern the tool spun just fine. So for rotary usage like on headlights, first steps etc…. the tool worked as advertised and perfect. It wasn’t until the 12mm throw bit was put on that I had trouble. More time and more technique and it likely would have been good for me. But I only had 3 weeks home with it, so I ended up selling it hoping Rupes would come out this year with a more powerful one. One that supplied more torque. If that comes out, I will be immediately grabbing it. Concept is great, and if you have the patience to learn the technique you will utilize this tool to its potential.
Expensive for sure, and I felt it was too expensive for what can be gained by it for me. If someone needs the small tool for certain body lines, under spoilers, under rocker panels, detaining engines this tool with the right technique could be very useful. . Rupes definitely could have scaled down the kit and likely would have sold more of them. This tool helped me in the areas i needed it to, however, I could have used the Rules mini on an edge and gotten to them just the same and had very similar results. I bought this as a toy to help where needed. But it was not worth the $500+ in my opinion.
I sold it, due to not needing a tool for another year, in hoping a more powerful one comes out. Would I purchase this exact model again, possibly would. If a more powerful one doesn’t come out, and I have the spare cash, it doesn’t hurt to have something like this in your arsenal. Hope this also helps you guys out with what I learned in addition to what Zach posted.
Thanks for sharing your feedback!!
Good review. I have both the long neck and short neck versions of the Nano. It’s a great tool for interiors and wheels. It’s a great time saver for all those small areas that we used to overlook.
Nice review Zach. I love mine too. Took me a few uses to get used to it but once I perfected my technique in holding it it jumped to my top tool to use. Makes OCD folks like me very happy to whip out such an easy to use tool to correct the occasional scuff marks or scratches as I see them pop up after a wash and dry of my daily drivers. I love it for polishing wheels too. Pricey but for anyone detailing cars even just part-time on weekends like I do (1-2 per week), it’s priceless to have in my cabinet.
I purchased it about a year ago great tool to get into tight places I had some trouble with the pad rotating but it’s all about technique it is very expensive but I was lucky at least I bought at cost I used the sanding attachment and worked great a great tool
My friend lended me his ibrid nano and let me tell you it is a good tool but is it worth the 500-600 dollars? No. Rupes definitely missed the opportunity to make a more powerful and more affordable took which they would have ended up selling many more units. I will pass until the power goes up or price is reasonable.
Rupes has since released an a la carte option where you can purchase the tool on its own without the kit. It is significantly cheaper than the kit that, at least for me, included many pieces that I did not need. In the end, though, it is still a bit overpriced in my opinion.
I decide to go with the Flex PE8 which gives you lots of flexibility and use from 1 inch through 3 inch pads and its only 200 dollars a 1/3 of the RUPES, cannot beat that. I think RUPES got little greedy could have sold more units if they have kept reasonable prices. Happy detailing cheers!
I just purchased one through Detailed Image.
What are some tips and tricks on using it?
Where can one get the extension shaft Rupes makes or is there a better one?