PDR is tough. Finding your tip through a non transparent metal panel with paint is a difficult challenge for many at first, and the only way it is done properly as experts know is via some sort of a reading instrument.
The instrument used could be a PDR light, reflector board, pole, or other object that casts an adequate reflection to read/see the dent and find your tool accurately to manipulate the metal to bring the dent up and flush.
Whether you use a board or light, the initial setup and then adjustment throughout the repair is crucial for fine detail work and quality finish.
We initially instruct students to have their light about 18-22 inches from their dent and about the same height from the panel- an equal length triangle if you will. Deeper dents require more deeper reading which can be done by bringing in the light a big closer to you, while shallower dents can have the light a bit farther back initially.
Once you get the dent 50% removed or further, trim your light/board farther away:
Once you have your light trimmed out far enough to see the shallow remaining lows and have removed them, it’s time to cross check your dent.
PDR Cross checking: Taking your light or board and moving it 90 degrees from the original light reading position.
We cross check dents because low areas that are perpendicular to your light may be masked or hard to read while switching to the 90 degree position will highlight and help you identify them.
Top panels are particularly a necessity to cross check since the customer often has 360 degrees of viewing position and can identify low areas more readily than a side panel. So when a PDR tech is working a hail repair, it is crucial that they take several angles with their light(s) so they can be sure all lows are removed and the dent is a flat as possible.
Good PDR isn’t automatic. It’s a systematic approach with a step by step procedure to eliminate unwanted variables so clients are wow’d every time.