A View on Faceplates

chris gabel

A diver’s viewport of the world, right? The faceplate is the visual part of any dive helmet that allows the diver to look out and the tender or dive supervisor to look in. Without speaking, you can see the look of anger, terror, delight or disgust.

We see them typically scratched up, cracked or gouged. Light scratches are fine and will fill with water when submerged rendering them almost invisible. Not a big deal.

Most of the current manufacturers use polycarbonate products for their faceplates such as Lexan. We’re going to talk about Lexan for the rest of this article. Those of you still diving Mark V hats with glass lights/ports can ignore the rest. Clean yours like glass, since it’s probably, you know, glass.

Keeping all that in mind, there are preventative maintenance tasks that you can do to prolong the useful life of your Lexan faceplate.

a view on faceplates

According to United States Plastic Corp.:

Preventing Scratches

Wash Lexan™ Sheet with a mild soap or detergent (e.g., Joy dishwashing liquid) and lukewarm water using a clean sponge or a soft cloth. Rinse well with clean water. Dry thoroughly with a chamois or moist cellulose sponge to prevent water spots. Do not scrub or use brushes on these products: their coating is UV-resistant, not mar-resistant.

Fresh paint splashes, grease and smeared glazing compounds can be removed easily before drying by rubbing lightly with a grade of VM&P Naphtha or isopropyl. Afterward, a warm final wash should be made, using a mild soap or detergent solution and ending with a thorough rinsing with clean water.

some important donts

Some Important “Don’ts”

  • DO NOT use abrasive or highly alkaline cleaners on Lexan™ sheet products.
  • DO NOT scrape Lexan™ sheet products with squeegees, razor blades or other sharp instruments.
  • DO NOT use gasoline, benzene, acetone or carbon tetrachloride on Lexan™ sheet products.
  • DO NOT clean Lexan™ sheet products in direct sunlight or at elevated temperatures.
some important donts

Compatible Cleaners for Lexan™ Sheet Products

The following cleaning agents have been found compatible with Lexan™ sheet. The manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions should be followed.

  • Joy
  • Freon T.F.
  • Palmolive liquid
  • Top Job
  • VM&P grade Naphtha

So what’s that all mean? The faster that you remove things like paint, epoxy and grease, the better. NEVER use gasoline on Lexan. Start with a mild detergent like Dawn dishwashing liquid or equivalent soap. Try to stay away from any of the specialty dish soaps that contain scents or abrasives. NEVER use abrasives or sharp implements to clean your Lexan faceplate.

Keeping it clean and projected is going to allow a longer service life for your faceplate.

Dive safe.

question mark

please ask!

In future issues, I would like to continue from time to time addressing your questions. I’d like you to send in some maintenance questions that you want to have answered. You’re the reason that these articles are written, so I want to work on subject matter that you are interested in. Send your questions to me via email at CGabel@oceaneyeinc.com or you can snail mail them to me at:

Ocean Eye, Inc.
C/O Chris Gabel
471 Fairview
Chapel Rd.
Birdsboro, PA 19508