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Sounds like you have perfected this and I like the selection of a UV clear. Thanks for the excellent improvements.
I use whatever I have on hand, but if you are charging people for this, you should do a little research on the most UV resistant brand. The drying time should probably be some of your criteria as you want it to dry quickly to reduce the chances of getting bugs or wind blown contaminants in your work.
In the right light take a look at the surface and if you see scratches, then you probably needed to sand it more with the 1200/super fine paper. Make sure the clear is high gloss clear. I noticed scratches in the one pictured, so it could have been more clear, but the improvement was more than enough for the time I put in.
I use catalyzed automotive clear coat on some things and agree it is a better longer lasting solution. Most people don't want to pay for that, so this is a cheap alternative and the results speak for themselves. Not bad for 20 minutes of work and about $3. If it lasts for a year or two it will be well worth it. I don't like the solvents or buffing because it is more error prone. You may get better results with buffing and you have no film to worry about, but we are talking about random skill and patience levels here, so simple is better.
That will vary depending on the UV durability of the clear coat you use, but it should be between 1-5 years (depending on sun exposure).
Yeah, I don't recommend that.
I agree your suggestion is better, but this site is about DIY repairs, so taking the problem to a body shop kind of defeats the purpose and costs more than a few bucks for sand paper and a rattle can of clear. If done properly a rattle can can easily fill 1200 grit scratches.
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Power Your Drill With A Computer Power Supply!
Awesome 'ible!I was unaware of the step down transformer for so cheap. $1.81 and 4 weeks later, I completed the project and it came out great. I drilled out the power input and output holes on the step down transformer to make it easier to get normal wires through it. That was a mistake as it apparently had solder connecting the top to the bottom and I had to solder the wires on both sides to make a connection, but that was my fault.I even got to use the drill just a few days later and was glad I did it. Thanks.
Most cars do have clear coat, but overspray will leave a fuzzy look where the "wet coat" stops. This is why you want to tape things off to creat a crisp end to the new paint without affecting the body paint.The other advantage to taping things off is to prevent scratching the bumper cover and body paint as you sand the lens.
One advantage to buffing whether it be toothpaste or any other type of buffing is that you are resurfacing the plastic itself and you don't have to worry about the paint film years in the future. That being said any good quality clear coat will last for a few years without issue and you can always repeat the procedure again if the clear coat begins to fail. Buffing would not have that potential problem years later.
I bet the citrus acid in that actually dissolves the plastic, but probably works well as long as you don't leave droplets on the lenses without wiping it around immediately.Good call.
Maybe try toothpaste like RickHarris has suggested on a DVD? That is buffing plastic and if done by hand it should be easy to control how much material you actually remove. I avoid buffing plastics with a machine because it is hard to control the heat and you can gawl the plastic, making it much worse that original. By hand you should be safe.
I would not use 400 grit on a dvd. You might try 1200 or some very fine grit, then carefully buff that to a smooth surface, but no guarantees there. Same concept?
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