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rschrager

Removing scratches from a dome port

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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

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Great info, Bob. Its a common question.

 

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

 

Alex

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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.

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

 

Paul C

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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!!

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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.

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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

post-6179-1156581014_thumb.jpg

 

after the first treatment with 1500 grain size paper

post-6179-1156581030_thumb.jpg

 

after 2400..

post-6179-1156581048_thumb.jpg

 

after 3200

post-6179-1156581081_thumb.jpg

 

after 3600

post-6179-1156581096_thumb.jpg

 

...4000

post-6179-1156581112_thumb.jpg

 

...6000

post-6179-1156581128_thumb.jpg

 

...8000

post-6179-1156581146_thumb.jpg

 

...12000

post-6179-1156581159_thumb.jpg

 

...Finished

post-6179-1156581303_thumb.jpg

 

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

post-6179-1156581280_thumb.jpg

 

 

cheers, Udo

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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

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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:

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How long did the whole process take Udo ?

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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

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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! :-)

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I use a very fine abrasive (in England called wet 'n dry) that is used for car paintwork. Then I finish off with metal polish wadding called Duraglit. I'm sure you can find it in Dk. Check with Lars at DYK. Reckon to spend about 4 Euros.

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I use a very fine abrasive (in England called wet 'n dry) that is used for car paintwork. Then I finish off with metal polish wadding called Duraglit. I'm sure you can find it in Dk. Check with Lars at DYK. Reckon to spend about 4 Euros.

 

 

Hi John!

 

Thank you for the info!

 

I googled "Duraglite" and found it to be the same like "Brasso" what is a wellknown product for polishing kobber and silver in DK!

 

I know Lars and will check with him for the details and the experience he has! :-)

 

 

 

Best regards and thank you again from Kim!

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Just found some Brasso/Duraglit at home in a drawer where I keep the shoe polish.

 

I must say I was suspicious at this suggestion, so I searched round the house for some acrylic to test it out on - rather than my dome port. I selected one of my BSoUP runner up trophies made of some nice flat acrylic and set to work with a lump of wadding out of the tin. The smell of solvent and the tin warnings to keep it off my hands did not feel right.

 

After washing it off with water things looked very good indeed. If I look very closely at the acrylic I can just see some barely noticable abrasive marks that were not there before. However they were only just noticable under the right light.

 

I conclude that this suggestion seems quite good. All I need now is to scratch my dome port!

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Nice pictures, Udo.

 

I've used the micromesh on a dome. It's worth noting that only the 1st coarsest mesh removes the scratch. The rest of the meshes remove the scratches left by the previous mesh, each mesh only goes so deep.

 

It's not a sandpaper, it's a fine mesh, the residue you've ground off comes through the mesh without clogging the mesh like normal sandpaper.

 

I screwed up a few times and had to go back to coarser meshes and start over. I did it in about 30 minutes on an 8" dome, bet I could do it in 20. I'm sure Udo was slowed down by drying and photographing. it's a lot of steps, but it's not a lot of elbow grease, it's not rocket science. The way it goes step by step, many fine steps, it's easy. The 2 step liquids may take more elbow grease to do the same job, I'm not sure.

 

The final liquid is also an anti-static paste, it helps the dome shed any dust and particles that might be left after the process. I think it helped and was more than toothpaste, just my opinion.

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it's very well possible thta it's not sandpaper but something else, to me it only appeared sandpaper.

There are three liquids in the kit included: A Detergent, an abrassive and an anti static. The abbrasive liquid is probably less rough then toothpaste, which also works fine for cleaning copper and silver (like brasso etc. etc.) I'm sure supercleaner for your car is also something similar. But none of these products will easily remove deep scratches that can be felt with your fingernail.

But anyway, the micromesh acrylic restoral kit works great and i justed wanted to show you people that it's safe to use it. The largest part of this 1.5 hours of polishing was mainly for removing the deep scratch.

I ordered the kit via CIBO in Belgium, their web- or emailaddress is linked on the official micromesh webpage.

 

cheers, udo

Edited by Udo van Dongen

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