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Removing scratches from a dome port


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#1 rschrager

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 06:50 AM

I badly scratched up my Sea & Sea dome port (it's acrylic) while diving at Cocos and Malpelo. Lots of current and lots of rock is a bad combination for a housing with a big dome port. A couple of fairly deep scratches (you could easily feel them with your finger) and some shallower ones (you could feel them with you finger-nail).

After doing some research, including some older threads on this board, I decided to try the Micro-Mesh NC-78-1 ACRYLIC RESTORAL KIT (Micro-Mesh) . It's made for taking scratches out of airplane windscreens. It cost $37 and comes with 9 grades of their Micro-Mesh papers (high grade wet/dry sandpapers), polishing paste, detergent, anti-static cream and pads and cloths.

Taking a good stiff drink first, I started the job with 320 grade wet/dry paper, went to 400 grade paper and then started using the Micro-Mesh papers. Each grade took about 3-5 minutes and the instructions were to sand in straight lines only, not circular, and then rotate the dome about 120 degrees for the next grade.

After the first sanding, the port looked like a diffuser (although when I flushed it with water before going to the next grade, it was clear). However, by the time I did the final polish, it looked new.

I highly recommend this product. $37 and a little elbow grease (actually, not much at all) is a lot better than a buying a new port.

Bob

#2 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 07:00 AM

Great info, Bob. Its a common question.

Now we need something that will work on glass domes too!

Alex

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#3 rschrager

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 07:27 AM

They do Alex. It's called a credit card.

Bob

#4 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 11:44 PM

:P ;) :(

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#5 NWDiver

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 10:07 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.

#6 bacripe

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Posted 18 June 2005 - 10:32 AM

This is what we use on Shear Water, and we've had great results with it. Jim Abernethy has been using it for a while (I got it from him) and a number of customers on our boat have also been happy with the results from it.
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#7 mo2vation

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 09:41 AM

OMG this stuff rules!

About halfway through my Kona trip a couple of weeks ago, I noticed my Ikelite Dome Ports were getting pretty worked. I dive the D70 rig. I don't get it. I keep the cover on until I get under water and then pocket the cover. I cover it up on the ascent. I'm pretty much a nut about it. So I couldn't figure it out.

Then I noticed (on about dive 15 of the week) - when I'm clipping off the rig (when there's nothing to shoot, on a long swim, etc.) it would sometimes swing around and the domes would rub against the very tough webbing (I dive a BP) of my shoulder strap, waist band and was probably hitting the buckle.

Bottom line - I was trashing my domes. You could actually see the scratches in the pictures (especially on the 10.5 where I'm focusing on the dome its self.) So I get home and hit wetpixel - I'm thinking there must be a fix for it. I find this thread. Genius.

I go to the recommended site, and I pick up the Micro-Mesh kit. It arrived yesterday. Last night I dive into the 12-24 Dome (I use this one less than my 10.5 dome) and I figger if I kill the thing, its a cheap replacement (like $150-something to replace it.)

The kit is a 10 level polishing kit. 9 fabric sand papers (1500 - 12000 grit) and a finishing polish. Then an anti-static cream thingy.

I didn't think the scratches were severe enough to go to Home Depot and pick up some 300 or 400 wet paper - so I started with the enclosed 1500. After the first couple of fabrics, I also basically had a diffuser. But I could see the kit working - taking off just enough of the material to get to the deep scratches. By the time I got to the 6th level, it started to come together and I could actually see through the thing again. When I reached the 12000 grit, it was looking not just better, but almost NEW again. I'm serious - a 30 to 35 minute investment and my dome was fixed.

A little water with dish-soap in a spray bottle, a little sanding, a little buffing and they're all better. This is so liberating. I mean, now that I found the cause of the problem, and have now secured a way to repair the domes, its a complete relief.

I can't recommend this kit enough for Ikelite-type domes. The flat port was a little more challenging, as I can't get off the port with each successive pass - so I just used the finishing polish. Made a huge improvement, but its not in NEW condition like the domes. I may try the Nouvus on the flatty.

I'm pretty fired up. Now that these things look great again, I can eBay these two domes and step up to Ike's new 8" mega dome.

Micro-Mesh rocks.
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#8 Peter Schulz

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 12:21 PM

I've tried Novus, it's a lot of work and is best only for light scratches. I also have the mesh kit. Haven't tried it yet but my expectation, based on this thread is that it will work better/faster.
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#9 mo2vation

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 02:09 PM

Peter - can you post a link for the Novus 3 step system? Micro-Mesh is great for a dome, but pretty worthless for a flat port with a lip - like the Ike ports. I need to try something else (unless there is a way to pop off that big black ribbed flange and just get to the 90 degree edge of the flat Ike port.)

Thanks!

Ken

(PS: been following your stuff for years and years, going back to my Oly days. You've changed the way a lot of us shoot.... for the good!)
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#10 Peter Schulz

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 03:26 PM

Purchase Novus here.

http://www.spadepot....ts/005novus.htm
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#11 PRC

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 09:34 PM

Maybe Alex or one of the other mods could pin this topic - I just know I will be using this info sometime shortly :)

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#12 DuikKees

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 10:49 AM

I just placed an order for the Micro-Mesh NC-78-1 ACRYLIC RESTORAL KIT, I have some realy nasty scratches to restore.

And again Wetpixel saves me another day :thumbsup!!

#13 timing

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 11:57 AM

I put a deep 2 inch gash into my Nexus Dome port. This wasn't small, this thing was visible at 50 yards! I gave it to Steve at Ocean Optics who passed it onto a contact. Result was I received the dome and it looked absolutely brand new - you can imagine my relief at not having to fork out for a new port.

If I do get another big scratch, I'll try the tips here safe in the knowledge that I know a pro if it all goes wrong.

Nice tips WP.

#14 Udo van Dongen

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 12:41 AM

Hi there,
My story is similar to that ones of the members above, but i took images of my domeport in between each step which i want to share with you. Each picture is after a treatment with different grain size papers (1500-12000). Just for your information.

cheers, Udo

the scratch that caused it all
00kras.jpg

after the first treatment with 1500 grain size paper
01500.jpg

after 2400..
02400.jpg

after 3200
03200.jpg

after 3600
03600.jpg

...4000
04000.jpg

...6000
06000.jpg

...8000
08000.jpg

...12000
12000.jpg

...Finished
finished.jpg

and finally after treatment with abrasive liquid and and antistatic treatmanet mounted on my housing.
finished01.jpg


cheers, Udo

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#15 Kimmeineche

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 11:27 AM

Hi Udo!

Thanks a lot for sharing these pictures with us! :)

Did you just bought the sandpapers and added water in the polishingproces?

Best regards from Kim Meineche who also have a port with scrathces!

Edited by Kimmeineche, 05 September 2006 - 11:42 AM.


#16 Udo van Dongen

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 11:23 PM

Yes, i used water with the sandpapers, but for the pictures i dried the port.

cheers, udo

www.udovandongen.com
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#17 Kimmeineche

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 12:04 PM

Yes, i used water with the sandpapers, but for the pictures i dried the port.

cheers, udo


Ok.... sounds quite simple if the superfine sandpapers are common availiable!?

One more question: What brand/name are the abrasive liquid and atistatic stuff, mensioned at the last picture?

Thank you very much for your help!

Kim! :rolleyes:

#18 PRC

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 01:53 AM

How long did the whole process take Udo ?
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#19 Udo van Dongen

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 05:31 AM

Well, i didn't buy all the different sandpapers separately but i ordered the Micro mesh kit mentioned in the first post. I don't know whether regular sandpaper would do the same job, you can give it a try off course, you always can restore it with the micromesh kit.
BTW, the abrassive liquid wasn't really nescessary anymore since the port was really shiny after the 12000 grain paper. Probably white toothpaste has the same effect.
In the kit all necessary parts are included and you're sure that it works. The kit can be used more then once.
The whole process took me about 1.5 hours, most of the time with the first paper.

cheers, Udo

www.udovandongen.com
Nikon D800, D800E, Hugyfot housing, 15 mm fisheye, 16-35 mm WA, 105mm VR Macro, 60 mm Macro, Subsee +5 an +10 wet diopters, Inon Z-240 strobes (3x), Inon float arms, Nauticam armclamps, Bigblue and Inon focus lights.

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#20 Kimmeineche

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 09:05 AM

Well, i didn't buy all the different sandpapers separately but i ordered the Micro mesh kit mentioned in the first post.

cheers, Udo


Udo, where did you order the Micro-Mesh acrylic restore kit? Seems hard to find inside the European Community, which i think will be the cheapest way to get it, due to taxes shipping and exchanging fees.....

Thanks again in advance!

Kim! :-)