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Dentology: Rules For Mapping Microdynamics


What is Dentology?

 Dentology is a scientific method of removing dents from the painted surface of a vehicle. It is a branch within the auto body industry, with the goal of bringing a vehicle back to its original state using paintless dent repair tools and theories. Auto Dent Repair, saves bodywork time, lowers repair costs, and preserves the original paint of the vehicle, which is extremely valuable since the advent of CarFax and how auto body procedures have negative impacts on the price of a vehicle. It primarily deals with the removal of minor and major noticeable pressure blemishes or upward bracing pushes to the metal of a vehicle's surface: you would typically identify these in unsightly hail dents, door dings, creases, or other movements that disrupt the original version of a vehicle outer shell. 

These are truths that are set in the heart of every dent. Just like music theory uses scales, auto body paintless dent technician's use dentology.

It's the full breakdown of what is really happening in the mind of every hail dent repair or small door ding on a car, truck or motorcycle. This is happening even if the technician is unaware of it, just like with many musicians. They may not fully understand why they are doing it, but they are doing it all the same because if they didn't, no one would listen to their music for very long.  

Science Over The Art Of Our Songs

This is performed through a scientific method, commonly referred to as paintless dent repair (PDR).
In many quarters this is considered to be an art, rather than a science. I must grant that like any other science paintless dent removal, does have an element of art involved. However, when performing a car door repair, for example, there are several rules that must be followed in a specific order to obtain the best outcome. Although music is an art, it is also a science.

Behind every song that you ever loved, there is a meter, beat, and some uninformed thought. Without the guitars, pianos, violins, and all of the various instruments being in tune, or being controlled by the definitive laws, it wouldn’t be very pleasant to listen to. In the end, you would have a half-second of gibberish. This is not unlike a poorly thought through car dent repair. If the Paintless Dent Repair technician doesn’t follow the guidelines, they will end with a song that is worse than the silence they started with. 

Perforated & Protruding

There are only two visual categories of dents, from an academic standpoint: Perforated and Protruding.

  1. Perforated, which is what you typically see when looking at your vehicle and notice a “dent”. These are small indentions that stand in stark contrast to the original factory setting to a vehicle's outer shell.
  2. Protruding is when something is pushing from within a panel to create a rise on the outer surface. This is typically caused when something gets lodged between the inner structure and the outer skin, like a rock that’s bounced it's way from a gravel road, into the inner bedside of a truck. Once the rock is lodged between the inner structure and the outer shell it will create a ridge or a series of ridges on the outer shell. 

Dynamic and Quasi-Static

Within these two visual categories, there are two causes: Dynamic and Quasi-Static.

  1. Dynamic denting is the most common form of perforated dents. Essentially, it is from something on the outside hitting the surface of the panel.
  2. Quasi-Static denting is caused by a major shift in the panel, from opening and closing a door extremely hard. This is where weak points in the metal show small lows around the edges. Even in new vehicles, you can find these throughout the entire inventory. Look around the door handles or near the edges of the panels.

  • Quasi-static denting can be combined with protruding dents, when a perforated dent hits the inner brace of a vehicle. That is, if someone punched a car door and the outer shell hit the brace behind it, the bracing would create a line on the outer panel, due to the force on the surface, hitting the brace within. In that case, both of the visual categories and causes would be needed to describe the event.

  • PDR Microdynamics: Mapping Dents on a Micro Level

    PDR Microdynamics is just answering the questions, “what are the small components within your dent, and what exactly is your dent made up of?” Every dent is unique based upon the type of metal and the object it came into contact with, at what velocities, etc. To the untrained eye, it's just a dent. To a technician, even very small dents come in thousands of different varieties. We need to map them, name them, and define the best procedures to remove each of them individually and as a whole within a larger dent. Large dents are rarely, just that. Typically they are just smaller dents comprised together to form a larger one. 

    Mapping A Dents Origin

    The first step within PDR Microdynamics is defining the origin with X-ray levels. Understanding its design gives us insight into how to fix it, we call this entire process mapping the origin. The process of plotting a plan to tackle the contours of the origin is called reversing the origin. Reversing the origin is simply working backward from the design within the original dented structure to create the easiest way to release the metal. The goal of this is to reduce pushes, taps, and cracking paint. The best way to avoid cracking the fragile paint on the surface of the metal is by understanding the structure within the origin. Let's start with the X-rays.

    X-Ray Levels To Mapping

    There are three descending X-ray levels within this mapping process, they are ever smaller magnifications within the dent itself, expanding the dent’s size to break each component down into their least common denominators. This provides us a way to explain dents over the telephone or during conversations, without the need for an image. Although images are very powerful tools, to tell us what a dent looks like. The map dives far deeper and gives us a much deeper look at what has actually happened to the panel and how that differs from its original factory setting. 

    1. X-ray Level One uses basic shapes and mapping key indicators: triangles, rectangles, circles, topographical lines, and icons just like you might find on any topographical map. Topographical lines can help us determine the contour of the origin, the metals attachment points, weak points surrounding the damaged area. 
    2. X-ray Level Two is the origin visible with the naked eye. The origin is the deepest point within any dented structure. It is typically the initial impact point that created the dent, to begin with. This helps us understand not only how the dent actually happened, but also how to best release the surrounding metal, in which order, and the tools we should employ. In terms of ballistics, this is a splash analysis from incoming objects. It allows us to identify the speed, type of object, and how it interacted with the metal of the vehicle. 
    3. X-ray Level Three uses an LED PDR Light to peer deeper into the trench, to stand within it, and to prevent its walls from falling any further in on itself. This is the path of the origin of the direction the impact actually took, to create the dent. Think of it in terms of standing on a micro level in the center of a trench. The trench is the lateral origin itself and looking out upon its terrain you find it has an embankment climbing to the top on both sides. These embankments are the walls created by pushing deeper into the metal. This is what really needs to be repaired to make a dent perfect again. 

    Once we start to define the origin using these three X-ray levels, patterns begin to emerge. It allows us to better learn from mistakes that cost us time. Like the professional athlete that steps onto a treadmill to be recorded on how his feet are landing, heart rate, hand movements, shoulder placement, the center of gravity. Microdynamics allows us to help make adjustments to errors we didn’t know that we were making, refine what we are doing right, and help challenge the metal we encounter, to push beyond our current capabilities. More importantly, it helps us better understand and apply the Single Solution Theory