A very cautious attempt to harden the lenses of the Pimax Vision 8kX with a kit offered by Nanofixit.
tldr - Did not cause any degradation (did not hurt), may or may not have helped.
Very thin glass (or similar) coatings may not be enough to harden soft underlying materials against deep scratches.
Chemically, this kit may be using simple sodium silicate. Lack of stress in the resulting glass surface after evaporation of the water provides a plausible explanation for claimed hardness. Hundreds or thousands of repeated spray/evaporate/polish cycles with this chemical in a controlled industrial environment may yield far more unambigious results, although such application may require a dedicated machine.
Diamond-Like-Carbon Coatings may also be worthwhile for VR headset lens hardening.
Alternatively, Nanofixit may be based on research such as this.
Update: a positive result from this process has now been confirmed - substantially improved optical clarity, internal Fresnel reflections, and chromatic abberation.
From the surface appearance of the lenses, there is every appearance that the lenses are not adequately polished and not adequately clean. Thorough cleaning and a thin ‘liquid glass’ layer likely does much to solve these issues.
Due to the potential lack of adequate cleaning at the factory though, I would suggest it is best for end users to apply this coating themselves if desired (at least until Pimax Vision 8kX production volumes increase enough to justify more extensive manufacturing procedures).
However, while this product may fill in scratches (or lack of polish), the reviews statistics on Amazon for a similar (if not the same) product by this company are less than reassuring, particularly regarding whether any scratch resistance is added.
These two products have more promising review statistics, and the marketing literature is more straightforward about the nature of these products as dissolved glass (presumably silicon dioxide) particles. I am considering using these products for the other headsets…
Exactly what the difference is between those two products other than cost does not seem to be obvious. However, the review statistics are (perhaps insignificantly) better for the more costly product.
It seems wrong, but I’m paying more for FedEx shipping than I did for the product. However, I have a friend visiting in just over a week and he’ll need to use his reading glasses with my 8KX. I was really concerned about scratches, so if this kit prevents that, it’s well worth the price (and FedEx costs, since it does me no good if it arrives too late).
You might want to try one of the Amazon products as well, since those seem more likely to provide stronger scratch resistance. Since these things are all dissolved glass, they should be compatible (ie. you should be able to apply multiple different brands). Spot test experimental stuff on the peripheral sides of the lenses of course…
However, if you do scratch the lenses, at least some related products should be much better at filling in scratches. So let me know, and I will do more research for that.
Keep in mind this is very nearly a case of ‘splitting hairs’. The sample size is one headset, optical improvements were not thoroughly measured after the cleaning and before coating with the ‘Nanofixit’ product, I cannot directly test scratch resistance, and Amazon reviews strongly suggest another product produces a far thicker and more scratch resistant coating.
And then I could probably use something like a 3D printer with a few spray nozzles, a hair dryer, and ordinary Na2SiO3 (aka. sodium silicate, waterglass, the stuff those silica gel dessicant packs are made from), to apply a far thicker coating, thick enough to guarantee some very effective scratch resistance.
So I am basically taking a best guess that this product very slightly improves the surface polish - considering the lenses were at least dirty from the factory.
No, definitely not.
Before - like there was an awful spot of grease and fog all over the lenses. At least half-a-pixel wide uncorrected chromatic aberration just 45 degrees off center.
After - None of that. Much less blur overall, no chromatic aberration even at the furthest edges of the lenses. Also, objects close to the middle - where the sweet spot of the lenses drops off near the nose - were far more clear.
I have seen much worse degradation after heavy roomscale use of my 5k+, with the grease and sweat on the lenses needing to be cleaned off after. So keep in mind no fancy coatings can eliminate the occasional need to gently clean the VR headset lenses.
Personally, I find the dark and unevenness of the 8KX lenses to be similar to the yellowing of the headlight lenses on a car that has been driven for years. This is also due to wear and tear on the surface of the lens and the loss of smoothness, and the 8KX lens may not have been properly cleaned and polished.
I don’t think any chemical issues with plastics and glass-based coatings and affinity for them.
However, some stain removers and coatings for inorganic glass may use organic solvents as a diluent or bonding agent. This is where you need to be careful.
Materials such as allyl diglycol carbonate and polycarbonate, which are commonly used in eyeglass lenses, have lower chemical resistance than glass. They are particularly susceptible to erosion by organic solvents.If the lens is scratched, it can erode through the wound and cause clouding or cracking.
Also, plastic and glass have different expansion rates. Due to this difference, use caution in high temperature environments. In the case of plastic lenses for eyeglasses, there are reports of coating breakage at temperatures above 60 degrees Celsius.
My eyebrows, and the problem was the unintended application of a greasy spot to the lens. That has most likely not changed, but ahem not enough time has passed for me to be in a situation where it could occur again…
Not properly cleaned and polished? Most likely. Wear and tear? Very similar indeed.
Yellowing though? I think that is an artifact of the panels, not the lenses. Technically, the NOT FINAL 8kX was too blue for accuracy, the 5k+ was way too blue to the point it needed careful adjustment of in-app gamma/saturation when possible. Also, a little less blue might reduce eyestrain. I suspect a warmer default color temperature was a deliberate choice by Pimax.
Then again, maybe the lenses for these 8kX units were ordered a year ago, and were shelved until production started in earnest…
Good point. So when applying unknown substances, it is also important to apply a little at a time, and carefully observe the effects of the first few layers.
Indeed. But VR headsets presently are already too delicate to be stored at such temperatures.
Not for a while at least. Science needs to be done here, and the best results might be achieved with professional optical coatings (eg. diamond), or even better lens materials (eg. glass).
Also, it could be much more cost effective for consumers to purchase aftermarket lenses and such. That would simplify a lot of the supply chain for Pimax, which could later endorse/integrate only the most successfully proven products at their discretion.
Many coatings do not disclose their ingredients. In particular, you should not use products for inorganic glass where the composition is unknown. In the worst case scenario, the lens will not retain its performance.
If you do use them, you should still choose a product designed for plastic lenses for glasses.
Wipes for glasses contain IPA. While plastic for lenses has a certain resistance to alcohol, the same is not necessarily true for Pimax lenses.
This is a very attractive tip, but you need to do your own research and preparation.
Plexus is another option, this spray on liquid was designed for the military to use on their aircraft windows that are similar to plexiglass or non glass canopies. I have used it for 20 years on my aircraft windows and all types of things including glasses. I find it to improve clarity and can fill tiny imperfections in the surface, not scratches however. It is completely safe for plastics and just a light spray and buff off. I have used in on my PIMAX 8kX with good results. It has an anti static property so helps keep the lenses free of dust. Information is available here Plexus Plastic Cleaner
It is available from motorcycle shops as we love it got the helmet visors and bikes.