The most costly equipment area for looking after a paintball group is the cost of thermal mask lenses. We do not let clients try to clean them as experience has shown that most lenses would be ruined in a single outing.
The main challenge is to keep the lense clear for the client, avoid scratching the lense, especially the inner surface, and to avoid getting liquid between the two layer of the thermal lense.
So here is the procedure that will allow a staffer to maximize the life of a thermal lense.
The tools are the hot water pressure sprayer, antifog spray, and clean, soft clothes.
When a mask shows up at the counter, it is vital to get any grit and all paintball splatter off the exterior using the hot water pressure spayer. Check under the peak. Any spatter that is left will get on your wipe cloth and cause a lens smear.
Never spray on the inner surface of the lens as the pressure is likely going to force a lens leak. Game over for the lens.
On rare occasions when there is spatter on the inside, gently spray the centre of the lens but try to avoid any water pressure at the edges of the lens. Rare that this situation occurs.
Using a totally new cloth (one use only and then into the wash basket) wipe off the peak and the lens exterior. Then gently wipe the inner lens and the foam and areas that could drip on the final cleaning job.
Vital to get almost all water off before the fairly expensive antifog spray is used.
You want the water gone so that the antifog spray isn't diluted.
When wiping the inner lens, you must ball the wipe cloth up so that you apply minimal pressure on the soft inner lens - intense pressure with your fingertips will tend to scratch the plastic. A balled up cloth gives absorbent capacity with low pressure - less likely to scratch.
Do the initial internal wipe to get rid of fog or spray water. This wipe doesn't need to be perfect. Just get most of the liquid off.
Give the inner lens a couple of light squirts of antifog spray - one on left - one on right - it doesn't take much.
Likely your initial wipe cloth is still clean and dry enough to do the final internal wipe that distributes the antifog and puts the final smorp free finish on the lens.
Eye your result by looking through the lens. If all is well - job done.
Sometime a lens will come in in a totally clean state but with internal fogging. In this case, a shot of antifog on the inside and a gentle wipe may do the job.
Glasses are often fog problems. Antifog spray and a gentle wipe that leaves some residue on the lens usually helps for a time.
This final photo stresses what would happen if the spayer blasted this thermal lens right where the inner lens joins the large outer lens. Leakage would very likely result.
Thermal lenses are vital to cold weather or night paintball activity. The job of the staff mask cleaner is vital for the enjoyment of the players and skilled performance makes a huge difference on the cost of lens replacements.
The main mistakes that staff often make would be;
- failure to get all external spatter off the mask prior to trying to get the lens smorp free.
- not removing water before putting antifog spray onto the wet surfaces.
- using far too much antifog - almost letting it take over from the hot water sprayer.
- using high finger tip pressure and not balling up the wipe cloth when cleaning the inner lens.