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Removing scratches from a dome port

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#121 Udo van Dongen

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 06:51 AM

I did something really bad to my Ikelite 8” dome port this weekend. After not shooting UW for about a year I have been putting all the pieces together. We’re going to Little Cayman in a few weeks. I was testing the strobes and needed to put a lens on the camera. I had the super wide port body on the big dome but instead of mounting the shorter 8 mm f/3.5 fish eye lens I put on the larger 11-22 mm f/2.8-3.5 WA zoom lens. If you shoot with Olympus you know these lenses and how different they are in size. Both lenses are great underwater but they require different port bodies. I had my DIY neoprene port cover on and couldn’t see why the port body wasn’t engaging with the port locks. I kept rocking and rotating the dome trying to get it to seat.


To make a long violin solo short, I ground up the inside of the dome port on the knurled lens filter, making an ugly round mark. Ouch! I felt awful and awful dumb at the same time. Please don’t try to cheer me up by saying, “Duh, you should ‘a known better”, ‘cause that won’t make me feel any better. L LOL, I know I deserve it anyway. J


So Ikelite is being very helpful, as always. The acrylic dome can be replaced in my existing dome body and shade without having to buy the whole Dome Assembly new. It’ll cost me about $150 instead of $400. Gee, I feel a little better already.


I thought about this polishing method but it would be really hard for me to do this evenly on the inside of the dome. My hands are too big to fit inside and if I didn't polish the whole surface evenly the dome would have anomalies in the surface that would show up as distortion.




 I was stupid once too, and did the same mistake. However, i managed to polish out the scratches on the inside of the dome, so i'd recommend you to give it a try before spending another $150.


good luck! Udo

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#122 whaleshark



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Posted 02 May 2013 - 09:57 PM

Thanks Udo,


I sent the port off to Ikelite. If I spent $30 or so for a polish kit and hours trying to do it right, I'd be better off letting Ikelite replace it for $150. The outside was pristine, with only minor marks. I would have considered the polish method if the damage were on the outside. The port will be near perfect inside and out now when it comes back.


I also had a bad dual sync chord that needed testing. Turns out it flooded and needs replacing. Ikelite gave me a better price for replacement so they're really standing behind their gear. I'll get the port and cord back before my trip. The shipping will be expensive for 2-day or next day air, but that's what happens when things break just before a dive trip.

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#123 Rui_Guerra



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Posted 10 May 2013 - 10:29 AM

Glass port scratches are as problematic as they are inevitable. Fortunately, it is possible to remove scratches in glass ports if the scratches are not too deep. Stephen Frink suggested to me I use "jewellers rouge" which I found on Amazon. I used a Dremel which has a power cord (when I tried with battery packs, ran out of juice before finishing) and a whole bunch of felt polishing wheels (catalog #414). It took a long, long, long time. Perhaps an hour but the minor scratches did disappear. I went through a number of felt wheels. It is a long and boring process but gives one time to reflect on the dangers of rocks attacking poor defenseless dome ports and to be more protective in the future. I write this now as I am preparing to attend to another session of polishing, which I hate as much, if not more, than cleaning the camera's sensor (also necessary this weekend). While you are out diving and having fun, think of a tiny wheel spinning round and round and be thankful if you have acrylic domes how much easier they are to repair.

I can't guarantee this process will work for everybody but so far it has done well for minor, hairline scratches and little dings. I hope this advice cuts into the sale of replacement Seacam domes, Harald is doing far too well these days.

Good luck!



I had been told by opticians and housing manufacturers that it is not possible to polish out scratches from glass domes: they must be replaced. However, after reading this post, I did some searching online, and found a DIY Glass Polishing Kit for $40 at www.hobbytool.com. I had a couple of scratches on my glass dome that were not deep, but close to 2cm long, and managed to produce really ugly black scars on the image files when shooting into the sun. To my utter astonishment, they disappeared after only about 20 minutes of polishing using an electric drill with the wheel, pad, and polish solution provided in the kit. Best $40 I ever spent. Thank you Yellowmon!


Hi all,


After a cave dive, my Subal 8" dome port had several scratches, right in the middle! THey are not deep, but the longest one is 2 cm long.


I've read all the posts in this thread, but from the 7 pages, only those two addresses the problem of glass domes (maybe ir will be appropriate to create two different topics - acrylic and glass - to be easier for future reference...?


Anyway, I live in Portugal, so maybe some can post advice regarding where can I buy that glass polishing kit, inside EU?

Also, has anyone more tried to polish glass domes?



Rui Guerra
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#124 aquanomad



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Posted 24 August 2013 - 04:33 PM

Hi All,

This is my first post here. Sorry its coming in the form of a question. Lots of good info and have been enjoying the forum. 


I have an 8" Aquatica dome port that has a few small scratches in the middle. Its fine underwater but noticeable on over unders. i bought the micromesh kit and my question is can i just polish out the small are that has the scratch or do I need to do the entire dome?


#125 Reyneronggara


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Posted 03 February 2014 - 08:43 PM



New member here just giving out a little more info, I used novus on my nauticam dome.

Maybe my scratches are not that bad, but then after finishing with the the number 2 (fine scratches remover), I stil find hairline scratches around.

I then use polywatch acrylic polish, it made it crystal clear, should be easy to get em on ebay.


Hope it helps!



Edited by Reyneronggara, 03 February 2014 - 08:44 PM.

#126 Larry C

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 02:05 PM

Hi All,

This is my first post here. Sorry its coming in the form of a question. Lots of good info and have been enjoying the forum. 


I have an 8" Aquatica dome port that has a few small scratches in the middle. Its fine underwater but noticeable on over unders. i bought the micromesh kit and my question is can i just polish out the small are that has the scratch or do I need to do the entire dome?


If you only polish one spot, you'll end up with a flat spot which will show as distortion in your pictures.  Start with your bad spot and do an expanding circular pattern around it, staying even pressure on all sides.  Check frequently until the main scratch is gone, then go to the finer polish.

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#127 Victoria.liles85


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Posted 17 April 2014 - 01:15 AM

I want to throw a bit of a spanner into the discussion and see if anyone can help me.  I, unfortunately, had an incident the other day where my zoom focus ring came off of my lense while I was diving.  Typically I dive with my camera dome port facing down, so the zoom gear ending up lovingly nestled in my dome port where it has left a few minor, but very irritating scratches.


I have searched around but am unable to find any advice on the best way to remove these scratches.  I have a full dome 'buffing' kit already so I just need the technique and I am at your mercy for help.  I am using an 8" Sea & Sea acryllic dome if that helps any.


Patiently waiting a reply,



#128 okuma


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Posted 17 April 2014 - 05:37 PM

I would first shoot a few to see what shows up.

It may be inside the critical focus zone!

Some times you luck out!


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If it is so easy every one would be doing it!

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#129 dpaustex



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Posted 31 May 2014 - 05:04 AM

If the scratches are on the inside of your dome, they are kind of hard to reach. All of the various methods work by grinding off minute amounts of the plastic, just with differing grits of either sandpaper (use wet sandpaper, like body shops use), polishing compounds of various forms (all the way from acylic "headlight restoration" kits to NOVUS polish).  The main ingredient of the polishing is the elbow grease!!!


You can get "buffing" pads that fit on the end of a power drill. Buy a bit extension, and you should be in business. In polishing, you have to be careful not to wear a flat spot on the area you are polishing, and that is more difficult on a concave suface, as they don't make a convex polishing head (at least that I've seen).  If you use a smaller head on the polishing bonnet, that should help matters.


As mentioned by a great many posters, you just have to be patient with the process, and work the area a little at a time.


Hope this helps.

#130 kalilah



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Posted 19 November 2014 - 10:30 AM

Cheers for the heads up Bob. I've been looking for a way to fix the scratches in my ikelite housing for a while now. 


#131 TightLines


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Posted 08 May 2015 - 12:57 PM

Anyone notice the polishing process impacting water tension across the dome and ease of over/unders?

#132 MrPaynter


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Posted 01 June 2015 - 11:02 PM

I cannot thank you guys enough for this thread!

New member here but for some reason I could not post a new topic in the member Introductions thread.


I scratched my dome port up getting slammed in to a shallow sand-bank shooting some surfing recently and was really stressed about the cost of getting it replaced, plus shipping to deepest darkest Africa which always nails us on top of a difficult exchange rate. After reading this and ordering the micro-mesh kit I made the call to try what I could whilst waiting for shipment/delivery.


I got lucky and tried a 4-step emery board which was a nylon mesh/material and not sandpaper and it buffed my port out enough so the scratches are still slightly visible, but not coming out in my photos. Result!

I will try post some photos soon. I will also give the port a proper going over once the micro-mesh kit arrives.


I really just wanted to stop by and thank you guys for the input which saved me literally hundreds of $s

#133 sch



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Posted 19 January 2016 - 12:32 AM

Just finished mine couple day ago. Took me almost four hours but that was only because I really wanted to have it crystal clear and had to repeat few steps back again. Here are some tips for everyone who wants to try it:


- get Micro-Mesh NC-78-1 (Europeans can use this shop: http://www.sylmasta....SID=372#SID=372

- take your time, be prepared for repeating the whole process if something goes wrong

- use some lamp to look through the port so you can see all the scratches

- put few towels on the table you will work on

- use air blower if you have any so you can clean in from the dust when needed

- start brushing it WET in straight lines (this is very important!)

- once you have have it brushed all over, rotate 90º and start with next sand paper in straight lines again

- now you can clearly see if you covered all the lines from the brushing from the step before (remeber, if you not brush it COMPLETELY you will NOT be able to clear the older deeper lines anymore). Use the light to look through the port, especialy in the edges! 

- go step by step to finish it with the finest 12000 paper

- if you did everything right you should be able to do final polishing with Micro-Gloss Liquid Abrasive and the port should look like new

- at the end use the Anti-Static Cream to clean the port

- for cleaning the port use ONLY Flannel Cloths which are included with this kit


This is the knowledge I have from polishing my port, will be happy if this will help to anyone else ;)




Edited by sch, 19 January 2016 - 12:33 AM.

#134 woodnfish



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Posted 04 June 2018 - 11:34 AM

I went to a local acrylic shop, TAP Plastics, and they recommended the following product and it worked great on my Aquatica 8" dome

Novus Plastic Polish No. 2
A liquid that took about 5-10mins of polishing to take out some good size scratches (not super deep)

Novus Plastic Polish No. 1
Nice finishing product looked like new.

I have both the Novus Nos. 2 and 3 and have had pretty good luck removing scratches.

#135 camoc16


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Posted 02 July 2018 - 12:05 PM

I can't imagine taking that sort of grip to one of my ports  :notworthy:

#136 bilgerat


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Posted 07 July 2018 - 05:20 AM

I also had good results using Micromesh on my acrylic dome Port, now after a few years of diving its time to give it another clean up

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