Acrylic Dome Repair

A couple months ago, I put some pretty serious scratches in my Ikelite dome, which clearly showed up in any wide-angle or fisheye photos I took with the dome. Rather than get a new dome, I got a Micro Mesh kit for acrylic restoration. It was about $40, or about a tenth the cost of a new dome.

Essentially it’s a bunch of very fine sandpaper that you use progressively. First, you use regular sandpaper to sand out the scratches, if they’re big enough to warrant that, and mine were. Next, you use the micro mesh sandpapers, which go from 1200 to 12000 grit. At each step, you sand in one direction, ninety degrees from the last step, making sure to eliminate any traces of the previous sanding. After finishing with all the sandpaper, you buff it with a special paste.

Does it work? Yes. As you can see from the photos, things start off looking bad, but quickly get better, until the dome is totally smooth again. The toughest part is the edge of the dome, where it is hard to always remove the previous sanding. In my case, I ended up with a few small sanding scratches at the edge of the dome, but they don’t show up underwater because water is essentially the same density as acrylic, so it fills in minor scratches.

One Response to “Acrylic Dome Repair”

  1. Exploratory Diving in the Tintamarre Area | Les Fruits De Mer Says:

    […] as you may have noticed from the photos, the dome scratch repair was pretty successful. I think there may be some optical distortion in spots from uneven sanding, […]