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One of One: Creating the Ultimate Polisher for Obsessed Garage with IND

When at least three bodies are aligned in the same gravitational system the group is known as a syzygy. The word is as odd as the occurrence is rare—but when it happens, this intergalactic planetary (planetary intergalactic) collaboration is a celebrated occasion amongst star-gazing enthusiasts.

In the automotive world, collaborations are admittedly much less rare. They provide unique opportunities for companies to produce new or limited production goods that recognize alignment in similar fashion to the planetary counterpart. Today, we celebrate that alignment between Obsessed Garage and IND Distribution.

It's sort of a mystery in itself why these two entities hadn't worked together before. Both these companies represent a certain level of obsession, a critiquing eye for detail that often intersect in the BMW community. But I digress.

Matt Moreman, the founder of Obsessed Garage, had approached IND for a special project—to create custom Rupes polishers as part of a giveaway he'd run on his website. At the onset, we were tasked to create a same-day concept that would suit the collaboration. Have a look:

Custom rupes polisher design for Obsessed Garage and IND Distribution

THE POLISHER

The LHR15 Mark III represents Rupes’s latest and greatest random orbital polisher, which made it the perfect foundation for this project. As a collaboration between Obsessed Garage and IND Distribution, it was almost mandatory to work in some sort of paint scheme. We mocked up a design that would carry a blue and black theme, a fitted nod to Matt Moreman’s Lemans Blue E92 M3. A bespoke Obsessed x IND logo would adorn on the polisher body, while the handle featured a sliver of carbon fiber and a unique red trigger.

The design concept was given a universal nod by both parties, but like every concept, there needed to be adequate time to discern how much was possible in the real world.

THE BOX

While the polisher itself was an ambitious undertaking, we thought that it’d be a shame to put such a beautiful piece back into the standard Rupes box. Now obviously the original provided very little connection to the Obsessed brand and for a one-off piece, that just didn’t seem right. Future Classic has prided itself on bold, motorsport-derived packaging since its inception and this collaboration afforded us the opportunity to push our creativity even further. We wanted to create something inspired by the collector’s world given this polisher’s rarity—something between the die cast space and the ever-present sneaker game. It was at this point that we knew we'd be involved in this project on a much deeper level than originally intended, but we were up for the challenge.

While it would’ve arguably been easier to abandon the original box dimensions, we felt it was important to still pay proper homage to Rupes. The factory box was measured and deconstructed and we got to work on creating a new template onto which we could lay our new design concept.

Obsessed Garage Custom Box SchematicFinal box design layout

The easy part was choosing the color scheme: a tribute to Obsessed’s own. Rather than mix in too many colors, we opted to add areas of spot gloss (easier to discern in the video than in photos) for an ultra-premium and subtle aesthetic.

A slanted window was cut into the box and the internals were adjusted so that the polisher would sit flat for a better presentation (again akin to die cast models) rather than on its side as Rupes intended. As extra premium enhancements, a strip of LED lights were recessed into the back “wall” and a magnet enclosure to the front panel. This enclosure not only allowed us to eliminate extra “wings” to fully close the box (keeping a much cleaner edge without bulging), but also the opportunity to leverage the box opening as a “switch”—a light sensor was added to the top of the box interior that would, upon exposure, trigger the LED lights.

Create It Packaging Box PrototypeBox prototype realized by Create it Packaging

All that said, imagination can only take you so far. As artisans of the prototyping world, we tasked Create It Packaging to turn this dream into reality and they absolutely knocked it out of the park—the magnet enclosure, stage, lighting, spot UV, and all. While we were prepared for several iterations to refine the box, our visions aligned so well that the box you see here was achieved after only one revision.

First print pass before the UV spot gloss in applied

Clear window being adhered to the box exterior

Module for the light sensing LED tucked neatly away in its own confines

Light sensing LED strip built into wall recess

UV spot gloss closeup on the new custom box

THE EXTRA MILE

The more time we spent on the bespoke box, the more we wanted to instill some more special touches onto the polisher itself. Since all of the Rupes decals had to be removed for paint, we saw it as an opportunity to replace them with our own versions. We started by designing two pieces: a new UPC sticker for the bottom of the Mark III and a new pad protector for when the polisher is not in use.

Custom UPC Label Obsessed Garage custom polisherOriginal UPC versus our custom design. Note the subtle "FC" that replaces the SA

The UPC sticker is, by nature, a flawed looking piece. As such, simply printing our design onto vinyl wouldn’t produce an authentic effect. Instead, we opted to go old school and print the new Obsessed UPC with a Gerber EdgeFX thermal transfer machine with some help from our friends at Brooke Graphics. This archaic printer uses a series of foils for each color. Three passes were required on this machine alone—one black, one red, and one green. Listening to this machine and its accompanying cutter run brought me back to the dot matrix printer days—loud screeching coupled with an abrupt, mechanical feed echoed the visual result. 

Red foil tray being loaded for a single pass in a 30+ year old printer

UPC graphics ready to be cut with rounded corners on another legacy machine

custom obsessed garage UPC sticker by Future ClassicCustom Obsessed Garage pad protector

We found the standard Rupes felt pad protector to be functional, but not exactly exciting. It was also a bit cumbersome to remove from the velcro hook since the entire piece of flexible felt acted as the loop. To combat these problems, we opted to print the replacement piece on thick styrene for a more premium feel and easier removal.

Although the design above shows the removal "tab" at the bottom, the thicker styrene allowed us to eliminate that portion for a cleaner look.

Special Zünd tool head that sweeps and collects debris from cutting styrene

Styrene pad protector for obsessed garage custom polisher overhead viewThe final styrene polisher pad protector with velcro backing

As shown in our original mockup, we wanted the trigger to be red so it would stand out. Unfortunately, this design detail was a much more cumbersome piece to execute correctly. Rather than simply paint the OE trigger and potentially interfere with the intended factory tolerances, it became clear that we would have to make a mold out of a 3D printed trigger and use dye to achieve our desired hue—a shade of Ferrari Rosso Corso—because why not.

3d printed Rupes trigger in stages for obsessed garage polisher projectA Rupes trigger was first scanned and 3D printed. Then a special mold was created into which we could inject dye

3d printed Rupes red trigger in stages for obsessed garage polisher projectRed trigger being pulled from the mold and fitted

Extensions were built into the mold so that it could be epoxy glued to the Rupes trigger surround. These extensions were subsequently trimmed as to not impact the trigger articulation. Tensions were high during this three week block as this was the first time we'd ever experimented with both 3D printing components and creating a mold, but the end result was even better than expected.

With our confidence brimming, we decided to switch up our plans for the top of the buffer. Our original intention was to simply re-create the Rupes speed usage graph for Matt using vinyl, but again, that just didn't seem special enough for a one-off piece.

Obsessed Garage new top plaque concept for Rupes polisher giveawayThe new plaque concept involved more experimentation: this time with laser etching brushed aluminum

Scary signage greeted us to a giant laser machine in an auxiliary building of Brooke Graphics—probably four times bigger than the one we regularly employ at Future Classic HQ—but with even greater accuracy for the tiniest details. I hesitated a bit before bringing my camera inside, but the opportunity to capture every possible facet of this project was too great to ignore.

obsessed garage laser engraving attempts for custom Rupes polisherSeveral passes were made on the laser to fine tune for variances in the material, cutting depth, and legibility

As straightforward as this piece sounds, we probably finished over ten versions before we landed on one that checked all the boxes. Small alterations to the graphic and laser itself improved the plaque over the course of the day. These are all things that a normal client would never see, but there is a ton of work behind the scenes to achieve what we do.

IT'S COMPLICATED

Part One: Of course, it must be said that not every part of this project was a win. The original design that we produced for the side (indicated as "A" in the concept above) would be too small to traditionally kiss cut and weed, so we opted to print it on clear vinyl for ease of install. Despite using this method and material for several other projects that responded well to clear coat, this particular piece did not.

Back to the drawing board: our original side graphic missed the mark

Certainly not something we could've anticipated, but we switched material and opted to print the second version on black vinyl with a thin border so it'd appear more like a plaque in its own right. Having visible borders also allowed for pinpoint accurate installation versus its clear vinyl counterpart; this was crucial as each piece (one on each side) would be clear coated over and therefore unable to be replaced.

Part Two: Our original mockup also included a sliver of carbon fiber in place of the Rupes white trim. While it would've been cool to tie the handle in with the other carbon accents, we created the mockup before we knew the material of the trim. Unfortunately for us, that insert was made of some kind of fragile rubber material with very little tolerance to manipulate. Several rounds of experimentation occurred to try and salvage the situation, but even the best hypothesis (hydrodipping) proved to be an inconsistent effort. We'd have to leave this alone.

PICKING UP THE PIECES

While all of this was going on, IND had perhaps the harder job: figuring out how to properly disassemble the polisher without impacting its functionality. Luckily, they are no stranger to difficult custom tasks and before we knew it, the buffer was pieces and ready for paint.

prep work and sanding on the obsessed garage custom Rupes polisher handlesanding off the Rupes top graph for the obsessed garage custom polisher giveawayThe Rupes usage graph being sanded down in preparation for paint

Paintwork in progress for the custom Obsessed Garage x IND Rupes polisherThe rubberized Rupes side logo deleted and filled by IND

handle underside painted black on the obsessed garage custom Rupes polisherWeighing out color options using Glasurit paint swatches

While the original intention was to spray the upper half of the buffer Lemans Blue, BMW offered another hue that made the polisher pop so much more: San Marino Blue. The color toss up was no light decision. There were inherently tight tolerances on the Mark III already without any coats on paint, so adding any more than necessary could (and probably would) cause assembly issues.

The color switch was ultimately a fantastic call—San Marino's vibrancy really made a huge difference. Despite its small footprint, the polisher seem more formidable. With every bit of progress, the previous missteps seemed to fade further away.

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

Before we knew it, IND had the fully painted polisher assembled and in verified working condition. It was time to lay the final pieces. No pressure.

Although we delivered the brushed aluminum plaque with pre-applied 3M tape, it had to be curved prior to installing it onto the polisher body. We crossed our fingers as IND's skilled staff worked the plaque into shape. Its overall dimensions were slightly different than the Rupes version, but once it was installed, it definitely looked like it belonged.

Finally, the new UPC label was laid in place. Seeing everything come together after months of trial and error and plenty of worrisome nights was a huge relief. We stood back, our shoulders unhitched for the first time since the project began, as IND's artisans polished and ceramic coated the Mark III before we shot some final photos.

To say that this project was a team effort would be an understatement. At every uncharted stage, there were people at the top of their game involved—people who were able to confidently assert their expertise in pursuit of a like-minded goal: to make the ultimate Rupes polisher for perhaps the most discerning user in Matt Moreman.

Did we as a collective bite off more than we could chew? Absolutely not. Was it difficult to execute to our level of scrutiny with everything else that was going on within the walls of FC and IND? Undoubtedly. But I think it's extremely important continuously to hold ourselves to that almost unachievable high standard. After all, that's what helps distinguish our brands from others in the industry time and time again. Without it, I don't think we would've had this opportunity in the first place.

Special thanks to IND Distribution for allowing us the creative freedom to add unique Future Classic touches to this Rupes project. We feel incredibly fortunate to work with much more seasoned authorities and tastemakers within the automotive space and look forward to many more opportunities to come. Enjoy the photos of the final result and the video of the entire process start to finish!

Obsessed Garage x IND Distribution x Future Classic custom Rupes polisher product out of boxObsessed Garage x IND Distribution x Future Classic custom Rupes polisher box top viewObsessed Garage vs OEM Rupes LHR15 Mark III polisherOE Rupes polisher (left) vs Obsessed Garage x IND custom polisher (right)Obsessed Garage vs standard Rupes box product angle viewNew box designed by Future Classic versus OE Rupes boxOne of one brushed aluminum polisher plaque proudly affixed to the top of the LHR15 Mark IIIIn view: FC styrene pad protector, UPC label, and new 3D printed red trigger

It's all about the shoes: LHR-15 label reimagined in Nike design language

Top down: View of the "One of One" flap, light sensor, and box interior

Matt Moreman's signature printed on the clear window insert

A car enthusiast's sentiment and 90's throwback Weezer lyric

No stone unturned: the bottom of the box features another nod to the OE Rupes box with spot gloss treatment