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Plastic Lense Restoration

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by The37Kid, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 27,881

    The37Kid
    Member

    What is out there in the way of products or tips for the restoration of PLASTIC tail light lenses? I've got two '53 Buick lenses with faint scratches that I'd rather not see. Bob
     
  2. Dan in Canada
    Joined: Nov 21, 2012
    Posts: 83

    Dan in Canada
    Member

    Meguire's sells a headlight restoration kit that is basically plastic polish. You buff the scratches out.

    I've never used it, so I can't comment any further. I'm sure that someone else on here will know more.

    If the scratches are actually internal age cracks, that won't be repairable.
     
  3. WillyKJr
    Joined: Sep 5, 2009
    Posts: 146

    WillyKJr
    Member
    from Blackstone

    If it's just scratches on the surface a compound for plastics to remove the scratches followed by a compound for color and shine on plastics (typically a white rouge) will do ya'. If you want to do it on the cheap I believe Eastwood has the supplies for a drill or some other one-time application that will provide good results without having invest in a buffing operation.
     

  4. Pics?
    I have used a 2 part plastic polish buffing system with limited results depending on how deep the scratches are in the plastic. I used to use "carbon tet" but for obvious reasons I cannot use it now. 2000 grit wet sandpaper can also be used in the crevices. If it has the age checking ^ there is a stained glass coating that can be used to reduce some of the visible ones. (applied on the inside and outside)
     
  5. young'n'poor
    Joined: Jan 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,280

    young'n'poor
    Member
    from Anoka. MN

    I've used the plastic polishing kits from several manufacturers on lights and its worked fairly well. Age cracks will still show, but you would be surprised how much better even a decent shape light looks after doing it.


    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
     
  6. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,895

    stuart in mn
    Member

    Metal polish like Flitz or Simichrome does a pretty good job on plastic lenses. If they have deep scratches sand them first with fine wet and dry sandpaper.
     
  7. Sand with 600 wet, in and outside.
    Spray 2-3 coast of urethane clear.
    Look new and will last 4ever.
     
  8. 296 V8
    Joined: Sep 17, 2003
    Posts: 4,666

    296 V8
    BANNED
    from Nor~Cal

    Its just like dealing w scratch’s in paint …. Only be more careful of melting / makin heat.
     
  9. DJCruiser
    Joined: Jan 15, 2012
    Posts: 316

    DJCruiser
    Member
    from CT

    2000 grit wet sandpaper using ammonia, not water.
     
  10. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    CutawayAl
    Member
    from MI

    Novus makes a two step plastic polish that is widely used in the plastic industry.
     
  11. junk yard kid
    Joined: Nov 11, 2007
    Posts: 2,719

    junk yard kid
    Member

    Ive used a buffing wheel with rouge. Its worked well on some things and has utterly destroyed other things when they hit the ground. Ive also heard of atf but havent tried it. I use clear enamel paint on peoples fogged up headlights, works ok, lasts a year.
     
  12. Bob,

    If the scratches are deep, look into the micro grit sanding sticks that scale modellers use. You can wet sand with them to remove the scratch, then use the Meguiars for final polishing.

    Bill
     
  13. Kustom7777
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 5,183

    Kustom7777
    Member
    from Austin, TX

    wetsand with 2000 grit paper,,,polish out with a good quality plastic polish,,meguiars makes a good one.....take your time, be patient, and they will turn out stunning
     
  14. Moonequipt13
    Joined: Jul 9, 2012
    Posts: 196

    Moonequipt13
    Member

    Start with 600 grit paper and sand out all imperfections, the lens should be evenly dull. Step up to 1000 grit, make sure to remove all 600 grit scratches, then 3000 grit (3m trizact). At this point the plastic will be dull, and ready for heavy cut compound, followed by a polishing compound and a good buff with a towel. Put a coat of wax on and you're good to go.
     
  15. Go to 3Mcollision.com to see the kit and how to videos. It's real simple start out with coarse abrasives work you way up to 2000 wet or dry or 3000 trizat. Use a wool pad, some compund, than follow up with a polish and a foam pad. If ya got 3 inch tools even better
     
  16. Kustom7777
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 5,183

    Kustom7777
    Member
    from Austin, TX


    hahah,,,couldn't resist..
     
  17. richardlw
    Joined: Jun 26, 2009
    Posts: 21

    richardlw
    Member

    I wouldn't start with 600 unless there are deep scratches, since you will have to take those out with the finer grits.

    This was with 1000 grit, followed by 1500 (wish i had had 2000) then Meguiar's PlastX.

    Extremely cheap.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Moonequipt13
    Joined: Jul 9, 2012
    Posts: 196

    Moonequipt13
    Member

    If you had started with 600 your odometer wouldn't have those pits left in it:D Sanding out 600 scratches with 1000 is waaaay easier than sanding out pits with 1000
     
  19. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 27,881

    The37Kid
    Member

    Thanks for all the trips, I'll buy some sandpaper and get busy. This is my first step in getting the wiring done for the Roadster, rebuild the tail lights and move onto scarier things. Bob
     
  20. slammed
    Joined: Jun 10, 2004
    Posts: 8,151

    slammed
    Member

    Allow your paper to soak to soften it up and more pliable to work with.
     

  21. I think I need to kick my own ass for that one HA-HA
     
  22. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,850

    Squablow
    Member

    I've slimed up old plastic lenses with vaseline and let them sit a week or so before wiping them back off and had good results reducing the appearance of internal crazing with that.

    And I typically just buff plastic with the same compound I use on paint, works pretty good.
     
  23. Doctor Detroit
    Joined: Aug 12, 2010
    Posts: 1,018

    Doctor Detroit
    Member

    Meguiars makes a product called PlastX, for removing scratches from headlights, clear plastic, etc. It's a very mild abrasive, and works really well with a little elbow grease. I cleaned up the clear plastic piece that covers all of the gauges on my dashboard. A big bottle is about $10 at the auto stores, or you can get a headlight restoration kit that has a small bottle of PlastX with an attachment for a power drill to buff it out for about $20. Tooth paste also works for removing faint scratches in plastic because it also is a mild abrasive.
     
  24. noboD
    Joined: Jan 29, 2004
    Posts: 7,544

    noboD
    Member

    '37, You realise that qualifies as electrical work if it's actually a light lense? I use Dupont number 7 chrome polish for plastic. It's still the best I've found.
     
  25. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 27,881

    The37Kid
    Member

    You noticed that, all these years of bodywork and paint, I'm slowly getting past the fear of death by electrical fire. If all goes well I could have both head lights and tail lights wired and working on my test table by Daytona 500 time. :) Bob
     
  26. noboD
    Joined: Jan 29, 2004
    Posts: 7,544

    noboD
    Member

    Can I have the Lyndwood if it doesn't work out?
     
  27. I use 3M polishing products, the same products you use to polish paint. It makes paint shine doesn't it?!?!

    When a lens is really bad (faded, scratched, whatever) I'll start with 240 grit on a DA. From there I dry sand by hand with 320 and final dry sand with 600 "wet or dry". I then use 3M Super Duty compound with a wool pad. I finish with a series of 3M Perfect-it products and a foam pad. Finally I use Meguiars paste wax.

    If what I am polishing isn't real bad I skip the 240 on a DA.

    I've been doing it this way for years on everything from modern headlamps to those thick plastic clock face lenes from the 40's.
     
  28. RussTee
    Joined: Mar 25, 2008
    Posts: 1,214

    RussTee
    Member

    Try tooth paste.
     
  29. Bob,

    Could use show us a pic of the part?

    Thanks, Bill
     

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