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Paint Stripping

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1 Paint Stripping on Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:39 am

Kitbash

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i see this question asked a minimum of 3 times a week in various forums and groups i am on.
so instead of repeating myself over and over again i figure its a good idea to make a post about it.

first off, why would we need to strip parts?
restoring an already built kit
bad paint job that needs to be redone
trade or purchase of a started kit in a color you dont like
plan for a laquer paint job but body already painted with enamel ( never paint lacquer over enamel as the paint will react and craze, you can however paint enamel over lacquer )
chrome needs to be removed for realistic finishing


it is always better to start with bare plastic when beginning to finish a kit. you wont end up with the buildup of paint which might make you lose finer details.

let me start by making a personal statement here, this is my own opinion and i have reasons behind it.

do not use easy off oven cleaner or brake fluid to strip your plastic kits.
easy off oven cleaner is made to break down baked on carbon inside of an oven, it is highly caustic, can leave chemical burns on your skin, the fumes are deadly if concentrated and at the end of the day, its more expensive than any of the other options i will give you.
brake fluid is glycol based, this can cause a chemical reaction in some styrene making it brittle, also it can be hard to remove all of the residue from brake fluid as it is "sticky" and would need to be scrubbed heavily with warm soapy water and flushed thoroughly before you could even think of applying paint.



now that you know why i dont like those 2 compounds for stripping plastic, lets get on to the list of things i have had success with.
L.A.'s Totally Awesome cleaner ( found at the dollar store )
Westleys Bleach White ( found at auto supply stores )
Castrols Super Clean
Purple Power
91% Rubbing Alcohol


all of the above mentioned strippers work well with STYRENE, if i am stripping resin, the only one i use is the westleys bleach white, i have not experimented with the others on resin so if you do, do it at your own risk.

now for my method of stripping that works well for me.

all these strippers work well at room temperature, but, they work even better if warmed up a bit.

for room temp stripping, simply fill a shallow tupperware bowl(dip tank), big enough to fit your parts to be stripped in, with your stripper of choice and then submerge your kit in it. give it 24 hours and check your progress. if the cleaning solution is fresh, there is a good chance you will be able pull your parts out at this time, give then a good wash with some soap and water and be ready for finishing. there are occasions where you will want to give then a scrub with a toothbrush in the stubborn areas and re submerge them for a few more hours to get the remaining bits off.

now if you want to strip things quicker and plan on doing a fair bit of stripping in your modeling routine then you will want to add a bit of heat. maybe heat isnt the right term here as it is more "warmth" you are looking for.
how do you get the stripper warm?
the quick and easy way is to get a container slightly larger then your "dip tank"
prepare your parts as normal and submerge in your stripper of choice.
then set your dip tank in the other container and fill with hot water ( depending on the capacity of your dip tank you may be able to add boiling water to the holding tank. your target temp in the dip tank should be between 115 and 125 degrees. anything hotter and you run the risk of melting or warping the parts.

looking for a more permanent solution?
hit your local thrift store or garage sales and find a large crock pot
to test the temp you fill it with water and set the crock pot onto its "warm" setting. after 30 mins check the temperature of the water. ( always leave the lid off a crock pot if you are stripping, even the smallest ones will get too hot if the lid is left on )
if the water is too hot, there are 2 ways to regulate this. first is to find something to use as a spacer under the "pot" to hold it up off the heating coil a bit. i have had good luck using a couple shallow sockets from my tool set placed in strategic places. this add's an air gap between coil and pot and keeps the temp lower. an alternative to this technique is to use a disposable foil loaf pan which you can get cheap enough at any shopping center or dollar store. squish the foil to the rough shape of the interior of the pot and fill with your test water, let it set for 30 mins and see what the temp is. should come in pretty close to the target temps.

the simple addition of this heat makes any of the above mentioned strippers work 10x better and faster. i have had 20 year old paint fall off of kits after as little as an hour using this method.



now for the last little tidbit i can offer, stripping chrome..
you dont need anything fancy or extravagant to strip chrome, simple unscented household bleach works wonderfully well.
the fresher the bleach the better , this doesnt mean going by the sell by date, this means a freshly opened bottle. i buy the smallest bottles i can find when it comes to bleach. after opening the bottle, the bleach becomes stale very quickly, sometimes within a week or two. the same bottle that stripped chrome in 5 minutes when it was just opened, can take a week to strip a small part after a month. its not worth the wait. keep fresh bleach on hand as often as you can.

follow up all stripping of paint with a good wash in warm soapy water, dish washing detergent works quite well for this.
let the parts dry and then prep for paint as normal.

i hope this helps a few people find their way to restoring some old builds.

if anyone uses anything different with any success, let us know here

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2 Re: Paint Stripping on Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:00 am

My question is....how do you get the amber film off after the chrome is removed?

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3 Re: Paint Stripping on Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:33 pm

Kitbash

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Purple power will remove the under coat as well, just have to leave it in a bit longer

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4 Re: Paint Stripping on Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:09 pm

Longer than 3 days?

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5 Re: Paint Stripping on Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:26 pm

Kitbash

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i have had it work in about 2 hours with a fresh bottle of purple power, bit longer if it is starting to go stale because of exposure to air

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6 Re: Paint Stripping on Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:14 pm

I guess I will get a fresh bottle and give it another shot.

The last time I used purple power the parts sat for 3 or 4 days and no dice.

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7 Re: Paint Stripping on Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:27 pm

I usually strip my chrome using Super Clean (Pretty much the same thing as Purple Power, it's even Purple!), but use DOT-3 Brake Fluid to strip the varnish underneath, it seems to work better for me.

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8 re; Paint Stripping on Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:04 pm

Thanks guys 4 all tips. God Bless

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