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Removing scratches from a dome port


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#61 Kogia

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 06:12 PM

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!


For those with damaged Subal glass ports, please be aware that they can be returned to Subal for replacement of the glass. While far from cheap, it is considerably less expensive than buying an entire new port.

#62 ghostcrab

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 05:44 PM

For those with damaged Subal glass ports, please be aware that they can be returned to Subal for replacement of the glass. While far from cheap, it is considerably less expensive than buying an entire new port.


I have a heavily used Sea&Sea compact dome port with several mostly minor scratches on it. While on a Live Aboard in late March, the Captain who was also the photo pro suggested I try using some of his "Harley-Davidson" (yes the motorcycle people) Swirl & Scratch Treatment and a lot of elbow grease. After 3 treatments I noticed a great deal of improvement and bought a bottle of the polish when I returned home. My next photography dive trip is in late Sept. so I plan to use the polish between now & then to see if I can restore the port to almost new. Will keep you posted as to my results.

#63 SGL

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 02:44 PM

I leave for the Galapagos in 8 days. I have about a 2 cm deep scratch on the 8" acryllic dome port. I have the micro-mesh NC-78-1 kit. I sure don't want to mess this up because there's no time to get a replacement dome before the trip. Can you tell I'm looking for reassurance...So I have to do the entire 8 inch dome port? I'm planning on doing it after dinner tonight. Is there anyway I could really mess this up? The instructions and the previous tips seem pretty straight forward? Is it really that easy? I'm paranoid to do it.

#64 MIKE POWELL

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 03:59 PM

SGL,

I hope you mean 2 cm long and not deep. I was leery the first time I tried it, but it turned out fine. Just follow the instructions and try to put it on a slip proof mat so it doesn't get away from you.

Good luck!
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#65 rtrski

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 04:31 PM

SGL I used the liquid solution (Novus) and it worked, although from re-reading this thread I bet the micromesh would've worked even better. You WILL get a huge sinking sensation with the coarser starting point...don't panic, don't rush, and don't skip steps. That was my one mistake - I was so terrified by the 'scarification' the coarser solution made that I quit too soon and went to the finer stuff....only to finish and find that some of the big scratch was still present, so I had to start over.

Just resist the urge to 'focus' too much on the problem area (which I assume is a "2cm , deep" scratch") or else you alter the curvature locally in a way that might make a focal ripple. Time yourself, take rests if you feel like you won't have the endurance to keep going rather than risk sloughing off on a step...and trust in the force. :)

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.

 

Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#66 SGL

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 07:27 PM

SGL I used the liquid solution (Novus) and it worked, although from re-reading this thread I bet the micromesh would've worked even better. You WILL get a huge sinking sensation with the coarser starting point...don't panic, don't rush, and don't skip steps. That was my one mistake - I was so terrified by the 'scarification' the coarser solution made that I quit too soon and went to the finer stuff....only to finish and find that some of the big scratch was still present, so I had to start over.

Just resist the urge to 'focus' too much on the problem area (which I assume is a "2cm , deep" scratch") or else you alter the curvature locally in a way that might make a focal ripple. Time yourself, take rests if you feel like you won't have the endurance to keep going rather than risk sloughing off on a step...and trust in the force. :)



Thanks sealifeprints and rtski for the encouragement. I should have done this a few weeks ago in case something goes wrong. I'll probably do this tomorrow morning! I'll report how it went when I'm done

#67 davehicks

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:44 PM

Thanks sealifeprints and rtski for the encouragement. I should have done this a few weeks ago in case something goes wrong. I'll probably do this tomorrow morning! I'll report how it went when I'm done


I polished my 8" acrylic dome for the first time a few weeks ago. I used the MicroMesh down through all of the grades and it did a good job with multiple scratches and dings. However at the end of the job I felt like it had a lot of super fine scratches that left it with a less the crystal clear look. I did a follow up pass with the two of the three Novus grades (medium and polish) and I am now happy with the results. The dome looks great, almost as good as new. I probably spent about 4 hours all told, mostly sitting in front of the TV watching movies. Give your self a couple of days to work on it in case of finger cramps! :)

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#68 SGL

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 09:08 PM

Ok--If I can do it, seriously anyone can do it. I appreciate the tips from past posts, such as the need to use the sandpaper and micromesh on the entire dome and not just on the scratches, and that the dome would look like a diffuser but would get clearer and clearer as you use finer micromesh (thanks for the photos from an earlier post). Take your time and read the really easy instructions included in the NC-78-1 kit. It took me over 2 hours but I was being very precise. Although it doesn't look brand-spanking new, it almost does. I am very happy with the results and am ready to use it in the galapagos next week.

#69 Kogia

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 08:14 PM

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!

#70 Daehag

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 04:23 AM

What a nice information here!

Finally I got some scratches on my Ikelite 8" Dome Port, decided to go with Micro-Mesh. After 2 hours working while listening music, All scratches are gone.

Thanks a lot for all great information.

Daehag.

Edited by Daehag, 29 August 2009 - 10:49 AM.


#71 simonmittag

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 06:20 PM

What a nice information here!

Finally I got some scratches on my Ikelite 8" Dome Port, decided to go with Micro-Mesh. After 2 hours working while listening music, All scratches are gone.

Thanks a lot for all great information.

Daehag.


+1 on using Micro Mesh NC-78-1. Polished my Sea&Sea NX dome port which had 2 nasty 3cm long scratches with it. Aside from the big ones, the sanding process removed all the tiny scratches. The result looks indistinguishable from a factory new product to me.

I used all sandpapers wet, each step at a 90 degree angle to the previous one, and washed and dried the port between each step. Drying is not essential to the sanding process but it helps you see what you missed.

You can also easily wash the micro mesh papers at the end for later reuse. This was $50 well spent and the kit is small enough to travel if need be.
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#72 Nicool

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 04:52 AM

Hi there,
Three months ago I've had a bit of salt water inside my Ikelite 8" dome. I ended up the dive and the camera was fine, cool.
Problems arrived after rincing the inside of the dome, and trying to dry it up: due to the shape of the dome's base, a bit of water couldn't get out!
So I stupidely dried it up manually, using a soft cloth. Now my dome has a lot of very tiny scratches in the inside, and I'm afraid they lower picture sharpness. At least they increase the rate of out-of-focus picture :)
So I may try the Micro-surface solution (thanks all for this advice!), but I wonder if it's not a hard treatment for my dome, considering that I don't have any big scratch.
Anyway, my actual question is: what would you do when you get water inside your dome? You can't just let it evaporate, you would end up with stains on the inside. How would you dry it and avoid those micro-scratches?
Maybe I should open a dedicated thread for this question?
cheers,

#73 rtrski

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 05:51 AM

I bet you can already guess from the experience of just trying to wipe out the dome interior out to the edges: it's going to be really, really difficult to get even pressure using any sort of finishing product on the inner dome surface. I personally wouldn't be willing to try it. Perhaps just some sort of "polishing" solution (that doesn't actually have grit) and a good soft buffer pad on a drill or something might let you get in there, assuming you can get a long enough extension on the drill shaft, and a pad size that runs all the way round to the edges.

Regarding how to clean the interior, try another cleaning this time after letting it soak a while to make sure all salt is dissolved, then wash with distilled water and some mild soap (liquid handsoap or whatnot - just make sure it doesn't have any solid surfactants or grit), then use something with good sheeting action for a final rinse (mix a little alcohol in with distilled water to break the surface tension, same as you'd use to put in your ears...or try a few drips of that "Jet-Dry" type stuff you put in dishwashers for sheeting action) so that the water at least runs 'off of' the dome. After the rinse, position the dome port-side down, tilting around to get rid of as much water as you can, maybe wicking with a paper towel or whatnot wadded up into the neck (NOT so far as to touch the dome - just to get the capillary action sucking water off that flat back face!), and let it dry like that. Any waterspots from drying will be on the plastic back, not on the dome inner face, assuming you got it clean and broke the surface tension so no 'drips' were left behind.

I just can't believe you're going to be able to get good even finger pressure and not make things worse trying something even with really fine grit on the interior, unless you've got far smaller hands than I...

Edited by rtrski, 09 September 2009 - 05:56 AM.

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.

 

Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#74 Nicool

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 01:32 AM

I bet you can already guess from the experience of just trying to wipe out the dome interior out to the edges: it's going to be really, really difficult to get even pressure using any sort of finishing product on the inner dome surface. I personally wouldn't be willing to try it. Perhaps just some sort of "polishing" solution (that doesn't actually have grit) and a good soft buffer pad on a drill or something might let you get in there, assuming you can get a long enough extension on the drill shaft, and a pad size that runs all the way round to the edges.

Regarding how to clean the interior, try another cleaning this time after letting it soak a while to make sure all salt is dissolved, then wash with distilled water and some mild soap (liquid handsoap or whatnot - just make sure it doesn't have any solid surfactants or grit), then use something with good sheeting action for a final rinse (mix a little alcohol in with distilled water to break the surface tension, same as you'd use to put in your ears...or try a few drips of that "Jet-Dry" type stuff you put in dishwashers for sheeting action) so that the water at least runs 'off of' the dome. After the rinse, position the dome port-side down, tilting around to get rid of as much water as you can, maybe wicking with a paper towel or whatnot wadded up into the neck (NOT so far as to touch the dome - just to get the capillary action sucking water off that flat back face!), and let it dry like that. Any waterspots from drying will be on the plastic back, not on the dome inner face, assuming you got it clean and broke the surface tension so no 'drips' were left behind.

I just can't believe you're going to be able to get good even finger pressure and not make things worse trying something even with really fine grit on the interior, unless you've got far smaller hands than I...


Thanks for this very comprehensive solution rtski! I'm gonna try this, and it looks less scary than using the technique mentioned above :)

#75 glewbel

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 06:10 PM

I bet you can already guess from the experience of just trying to wipe out the dome interior out to the edges: it's going to be really, really difficult to get even pressure using any sort of finishing product on the inner dome surface. I personally wouldn't be willing to try it. Perhaps just some sort of "polishing" solution (that doesn't actually have grit) and a good soft buffer pad on a drill or something might let you get in there, assuming you can get a long enough extension on the drill shaft, and a pad size that runs all the way round to the edges.

Regarding how to clean the interior, try another cleaning this time after letting it soak a while to make sure all salt is dissolved, then wash with distilled water and some mild soap (liquid handsoap or whatnot - just make sure it doesn't have any solid surfactants or grit), then use something with good sheeting action for a final rinse (mix a little alcohol in with distilled water to break the surface tension, same as you'd use to put in your ears...or try a few drips of that "Jet-Dry" type stuff you put in dishwashers for sheeting action) so that the water at least runs 'off of' the dome. After the rinse, position the dome port-side down, tilting around to get rid of as much water as you can, maybe wicking with a paper towel or whatnot wadded up into the neck (NOT so far as to touch the dome - just to get the capillary action sucking water off that flat back face!), and let it dry like that. Any waterspots from drying will be on the plastic back, not on the dome inner face, assuming you got it clean and broke the surface tension so no 'drips' were left behind.

I just can't believe you're going to be able to get good even finger pressure and not make things worse trying something even with really fine grit on the interior, unless you've got far smaller hands than I...


Thanks a lot for this totally useful information. I used Jet-Dry plus distilled water, just as you suggested, and it worked perfectly.

#76 Jens Hartmann

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 04:54 AM

Hello,
thx for this great thread which will help me to remove upcoming scratches (I expent them sooner or later :-) ) from my acrylic zoom dome port.
I just tried to buy a kit of N78-1 micro mesh here in Austria, but unfortunately, the responsible distributor is in Swizerland and offered it to me for 65 Euro (95 USD) + 45 Euro (65 USD) for shipping!! He definitely said that I have to pay the shipping from US to swizerland AND from switzerland to Austria. LOL.
Are there any comparable products which can be bought in Europe for a fair price?
Any help is very appreciated,
Jens

#77 Natalie_S

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 06:40 PM

I got my Micro Mesh kit this week and tried it on my dome port this evening. I had one deep scratch and many shallower ones. Only took me a couple of hours, and looks awesome! Thanks for recommending it, guys!

Edited by Natalie_S, 25 September 2009 - 06:41 PM.

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#78 gassa

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 02:32 PM

I used the micro-Mesh 78-1.

I had som big scratches so I started with 240 sandpaper, from there I used the micro-mesh. I could feel the pain in my arms the day after but the results was fantastic!

Posted Image

This is totally gone :)

Edited by gassa, 23 October 2009 - 02:33 PM.

Hver er sinn gęfu smišur!

#79 coloradodawn

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 12:33 PM

My stomach hurts thinking about it, but, I'm convinced after reading the forum. I have the kit, now, I need to take the plunge. One question: How do you know when it's time to switch between the grades of the kit? How can you tell? Thanks.
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#80 john426

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 09:34 AM

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