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Downloadable Instructions: Brush Instructions Red Spray Polymer Lifting Techniques
Helpful Hints & Tips: Protect Area Before Spray
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Apply First Contact™ directly with brush in the applicator bottle; for larger surfaces (2” or larger) pour First Contact™ directly from the refill bottle. Liberally coat the surface without allowing First Contact™ to run under retaining rings or mountings. It may be useful to apply multiple thin coats, allowing each to partially dry.
Spread First Contact™ Polymer using the applicator brush or other appropriate object. (As a general precaution, always test the applicator to be used. Some applicator components or the glue holding brush bristles may dissolve in First Contact™.) Gently spread the solution to make a thick, even coating on the surface to be cleaned. DO NOT use a scrubbing action. DO take care “cutting-in” the edges to avoid spilling over the edge of the optic. Take care to keep it out of any mounting frames when cleaning an assembled or mounted part. Toothpicks (wood is usually softer than your substrate) can be used to get dried polymer out of corners etc. if necessary.

Cure the polymer by allowing it to dry completely (around 15 – 20 minutes for 1” flat optics, overnight for frosted surfaces, diffraction gratings, silver mirrors and gold mirrors while learning to use First Contact™). Drying time depends on film thickness, temperature, and humidity. The solvents must be able to evaporate for the film to dry. Film adhesion remains high until the film is completely dry; in fact, the film adhesion continues to decline until all solvents are gone from the polymer film, this is why very long dry times are suggested for the most sensitive optics. When in doubt, allow more time to dry. After you have some experience and success, then shorten dry times according to your experience and needs.

Remove cured First Contact™ Polymer by applying the special lint-free peel tabs at any film edge and lift the film. Lint-free peel tabs are provided with standard and deluxe kits. To use a peel tab, remove the backing, extend the peel tab over an edge, place the tab adhesive-side down onto the cured film, and press it firmly into place. Allow about 30 seconds for the tab’s adhesive to fully adhere to the polymer. Lift and pull up slowly on the tab from the edge. Once an edge starts to lift, the entire film will come off easily. Remove all of the film. Your part will now be clean.

Take care not to touch the optical surface with the sticky tabs (First Contact™ can be used to remove peel tab adhesive). Remove residual polymer on retaining rings/mountings with a strong wooden toothpick that will not scratch your optic. If the polymer film tore during removal, it was too thin. Reapply First Contact over the old film using a thicker application or multiple thin coats.

*NOTE: Certain coatings have inherently poor adhesion, especially if manufactured without effective substrate preparation. Always test a non-critical section first, especially with gold and silver coatings. That being said, we and our customers have successfully protected and cleaned lots of gold and silver mirrors and gratings including those on the WM Keck Telescope and the Gemini North Silver. While we routinely clean diffraction grating, the old adage about gratings still holds - don’t touch them unless you have to!