Headlight restoration
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  1. #1
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    Headlight restoration

    Hi!
    I own a headlight restoration business and I have a couple of product questions.
    I restore polycarbonate plastic lenses by removing the old UV coating and re-shooting a new one. After some trial and error I have created a unique system using a fast drying automotive clearcoat with an adhesion promoter. In order to get a perfect like-new finish, I some times wet sand and polish. The issue is heat. I am looking for a product that will remove sand scratches at a lower RPM (I'm thinking around 1500) with possibly a wool pad? I think the foam will generate too much heat which will damage the lens. I have used the Meguiars plastic polish with a rotary buffer and a foam pad, but the heat can actually cause stress cracks. Any suggestions? I am using mostly 3M product right now because that is what my paint shop carries, but I would gladly switch if you have a better combo!

    Thanks for your time

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    Product & Training Specialist Nick Winn's Avatar
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    Re: Headlight restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Renovas View Post
    Hi!
    I own a headlight restoration business and I have a couple of product questions.
    I restore polycarbonate plastic lenses by removing the old UV coating and re-shooting a new one. After some trial and error I have created a unique system using a fast drying automotive clearcoat with an adhesion promoter. In order to get a perfect like-new finish, I some times wet sand and polish. The issue is heat. I am looking for a product that will remove sand scratches at a lower RPM (I'm thinking around 1500) with possibly a wool pad? I think the foam will generate too much heat which will damage the lens. I have used the Meguiars plastic polish with a rotary buffer and a foam pad, but the heat can actually cause stress cracks. Any suggestions? I am using mostly 3M product right now because that is what my paint shop carries, but I would gladly switch if you have a better combo!

    Thanks for your time
    Welcome to Meguiar's Online. Meguiar's M105 Ultra Cut Compound & M205 Ultra Finishing Polish has been our go to recommendation for users providing professional headlight restoration as a service for many years. M105 to remove sanding marks via whichever pad you wish. M105 is very different & more aggressive than PlastX (although may not be as aggressive if you are using 3M Compounds). M205 to remove any marks from compounding & to further refine clarity. So this would be our recommendation for you. These products are actually sold in small 8 oz sizes through some outlets if you did want to try them out.

    Another thought, keep in mind that the quality of your sanding/finishing abrasives will play a large roll in how even & deep of sanding marks you are inflicting, in turn how easy removal is. In other words not all automotive sandpaper technology is the same. We specifically would recommend at least further refining with a foam back finishing disc by machine. We recommend our Meguiar's Unigrit or 3M Trizact. Additionally, refining more, especially with a foam backed disc, up to 3000 grit, will make sanding mark removal much less invasive.
    Nick Winn
    Product & Training Specialist | Meguiar's Online Forum Administrator
    Meguiar's Inc.
    Irvine, CA
    nawinn@meguiars.com
    800-854-8073 ext 3845

    CLICK HERE TO REGISTER AS A MEMBER FOR MEGUIAR'S ONLINE DISCUSSION FORUM

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    Re: Headlight restoration

    plastic polish to buff an auto clear- doesnt make sense to me because your not buffing plastic- your buffing clearcoat.
    ive done headlights with matrix MS52 universal clear then buffed with a twisted wool and the 105 mentioned above. ive switched to m100 and have even better results.
    start with low rpms and work up to what you feel comfortable with.

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    Re: Headlight restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by tomsteve View Post
    plastic polish to buff an auto clear- doesnt make sense to me because your not buffing plastic- your buffing clearcoat.
    ive done headlights with matrix MS52 universal clear then buffed with a twisted wool and the 105 mentioned above. ive switched to m100 and have even better results.
    start with low rpms and work up to what you feel comfortable with.
    I agree, I used the plastic polish with the thought it might react at a lower temp. I don't know the chemistry behind it, but I think the plastic polish is similar to a low abrasive paint polish. That's why I tried it.

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    Re: Headlight restoration

    Thank you Nick,
    I am headed out to pick some up reight now!

  6. #6
    Product & Training Specialist Nick Winn's Avatar
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    Re: Headlight restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Renovas View Post
    Thank you Nick,
    I am headed out to pick some up reight now!
    Sounds good & let us know how it works out, and we can advise if needed from there. Also just so you know I have moved this thread into our "Headlight Restoration & Clear Plastic Detailing" Forum section.
    Nick Winn
    Product & Training Specialist | Meguiar's Online Forum Administrator
    Meguiar's Inc.
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    nawinn@meguiars.com
    800-854-8073 ext 3845

    CLICK HERE TO REGISTER AS A MEMBER FOR MEGUIAR'S ONLINE DISCUSSION FORUM

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    Re: Headlight restoration

    I was unable to find the M105 in anything less than 1 gal, and unable to find the M205 at all. is there an online source you recommend?
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Winn View Post
    Welcome to Meguiar's Online. Meguiar's M105 Ultra Cut Compound & M205 Ultra Finishing Polish has been our go to recommendation for users providing professional headlight restoration as a service for many years. M105 to remove sanding marks via whichever pad you wish. M105 is very different & more aggressive than PlastX (although may not be as aggressive if you are using 3M Compounds). M205 to remove any marks from compounding & to further refine clarity. So this would be our recommendation for you. These products are actually sold in small 8 oz sizes through some outlets if you did want to try them out.

    Another thought, keep in mind that the quality of your sanding/finishing abrasives will play a large roll in how even & deep of sanding marks you are inflicting, in turn how easy removal is. In other words not all automotive sandpaper technology is the same. We specifically would recommend at least further refining with a foam back finishing disc by machine. We recommend our Meguiar's Unigrit or 3M Trizact. Additionally, refining more, especially with a foam backed disc, up to 3000 grit, will make sanding mark removal much less invasive.

  8. #8
    Product & Training Specialist Nick Winn's Avatar
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    Re: Headlight restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Renovas View Post
    I was unable to find the M105 in anything less than 1 gal, and unable to find the M205 at all. is there an online source you recommend?
    Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, O'Reilly Auto Parts, & Pep Boys show to carry M105 & M205. There are several on-line suppliers, I would recommend searching for the product & several distributors will pop up.
    Nick Winn
    Product & Training Specialist | Meguiar's Online Forum Administrator
    Meguiar's Inc.
    Irvine, CA
    nawinn@meguiars.com
    800-854-8073 ext 3845

    CLICK HERE TO REGISTER AS A MEMBER FOR MEGUIAR'S ONLINE DISCUSSION FORUM

  9. #9
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    Re: Headlight restoration

    Toothpaste technique works, you should give it a try if you want to save a couple of bucks.

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