Polishing Lexan T-tops - my experience
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  1. #1
    Registered Member Hawkfanatic's Avatar
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    Polishing Lexan T-tops - my experience

    So I decided to polish the t-tops of my wife’s car over the weekend. The tops were scratched and had a few chip marks in them. I researched how other people had done it, but their instructions were kind of vague on what exactly to do. I guess I could have just googled “How to wet sand”, but since I was working with Lexan, I figured it would be different, so I should just dive into it. The worst that could happen is I have to go buy some glass replacements.
    fficeffice" />
    I bought 4 progressive sandpaper grits, 600, 1000, 1500, and 2000. I probably should have started out with 400 grit as I later learned that any scratch you can catch your nail on, 600 grit will not completely remove. They are nearly invisible, however.

    I then made my own sanding sponge by buying a common general purpose sponge and cutting it to the width of the sandpaper, and cutting a piece of plywood down as a backer, then attaching the paper with a staple gun.

    I have plastic sawhorses, so I had to put a shelf liner material on the tops of the saw horses in order to keep the tops from sliding around. I learned this lesson after they fell off twice.

    I read that the best way to sand was in long, back and forth strokes that overlap by 1/4”-1/2”as you move across the panel, keeping it wet at all times. I found it is also a good idea to switch what side you start from because the mechanics of your arm movement will change where you put pressure on the panel, and some areas don’t get sanded the same.

    It is very important to only sand in one direction per grit. For example, I would start with the 600 grit going north-south on the panel, then go east-west with 1000 grit, and so on.

    Always keep the panel wet, and eventually it will tell you when you are done with a particular grit. What I mean by that is as you sand, you are making tiny grooves in the panel. Eventually, all those grooves become uniform and go one direction. What that means is the water that used to be just laying on the panel, will start to drain away very quickly. When it drains immediately after you run the paper over it, it means there are no more opposing sanding lines for the water to get stuck on. This process took about an hour per grit, or about 5 hours per panel.

    After I was done with the last grit, I washed the panel thoroughly, then dried it. I was unsure what to use to polish the Lexan, as I had read that it could be difficult being that Lexan is supposedly harder than painted surfaces. I have a rotary sander that I bought from Harbor Freight, and 2 ffice:smarttags" />Lake Country foam pads – Cyan Heavy Polishing, and Tangarine Light Polishing. I tried three different combinations, all set at the lowest speed on the rotary:

    Meguires Ultimate Compound on blue pad, followed by Meguires SwirlX on tang pad
    Turtle Wax Rubbing Compund on blue pad
    Meguires Ultimate Compound on blue pad, followed by Meguires PlastX on tang pad

    By far the best combo was the UC/PlastX combo. It brought out the best shine and took out the most swirl marks. The UC/SwirlX was second, and the Turtle Wax third. It couldn’t do half as well as the UC. After multiple passes with the rubbing compound with hardly any effect, I washed the blue pad and after the first pass with UC, the effects were immediately noticeable.
    It took about 10 passes with the UC/Blue pad, and about 5 passes with the PlastX/Tang combo, followed by 2 coats of Meguires Gold Class wax to achieve the results shown in the outdoor Reflection.jpg picture.

    I was extremely happy with the results. It was a lot of work, but totally worth it. The panels are not absolutely perfect. Like I said, a heavier grit could have take out some of the minor scratches and chips completely, but as it is, they are almost invisible, appearing as a spec of dust. Also if you put your face literally 3-4 inches from the panel, in the right light, you might still see some sanding marks. You really have to look for it tho. From 1 foot away the look like glass.

    Enough rambling, here’s the pics:

    Before






    My home made high tech sanding block


    After 600 grit:


    After 1000 grit:

    After 1500 grit:

    After 2000grit:


    After polishing:







    Heres the car all this work is for:




  2. #2
    Sr. Global Product & Training Spec Michael Stoops's Avatar
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    Re: Polishing Lexan T-tops - my experience

    Our apologies for missing this when it was first posted - lots of travelling in the summer and that can make it a bit tricky to keep up sometimes. This is an absolutely fantastic write up on working with this often very difficult surface. You did a phenomenal job not only restoring the finish but also communicating your process for doing so. We'll be sure to reference this post whenever the topic comes up. Well done!!
    Michael Stoops
    Senior Global Product & Training Specialist | Meguiar's Inc.

    Remember, this hobby is supposed to be your therapy, not the reason you need therapy.

  3. #3
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    Re: Polishing Lexan T-tops - my experience

    WOW!

    I too missed this post...Great job and write up.

    Love the color BTW.

    Bill

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