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body paint stripping


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what is the cleanest, least smelly way to strip a body? i would prefer one that i can toss it in a bucket or something and let it do its thing. also, one that doesnt make the plastic brittle. the kit is a bit older and feels a little brittle already. in the past i used brake fluid, but that would make the plastic very brittle if kept in for too long

does this exist?

thanks in advanced. 

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Don't just use a bucket, get a container with a tight fitting lid...keeps fumes and smells in, keeps moisture (which will dilute and weaken the solution) out.  I use a cheap plastic "shoe box" with a tight fitting, snap-on lid.

As for stripper itself, there is no one, concrete answer...it depends on what you are trying to remove and how long it has been on there.  I haven't used brake fluid in many years, as it does make styrene brittle.  Lately I have been using something called LA's Totally Awesome Cleaner which I picked up cheap (something like four bucks a gallon).  So far it has handled everything I have thrown at it, some paints take longer than others though.  The next five people who provide an answer will likely recommend five other products, just watch!

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I can recommend only 3 Mark ;)....  91% alcohol for lacquers, SuperClean (kind of Totally Awesome?), and Testors ELO (Easy Lift Off).  Superclean is my go to.  Like Mark said, sometimes you need to leave the body in for quite some time.  Light scuffing of the paint prior to soaking helps too.

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The 91% is pretty much "it" when it comes to Testors or Tamiya lacquers, also many prepainted kits.  I didn't mention it because, fortunately, I haven't had to use it in some time.

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Posted (edited)

I suspect that the majority of responses that you'll get will be to use one of the degreasers/ cleaners such as Purple Power, Simple Green or Super Clean.

Either that or Easy Off oven cleaner, Isopropyl alcohol, or brake fluid.

Here are a few pros and cons of each.

 

Brake fluid will remove pretty much any thing, but as mentioned, it can do some weird things to the plastic, it can be very slow acting, and it's difficult to dispose of when it's useful life is over.

I haven't used brake fluid in many years just because of some of these aspects.

 

I haven't had much luck using alcohol.

At least no more than any of the others listed above.

I have a '65 Olds interior painted flat black that was soaked in alcohol to try to remove the paint.

I forgot that it was in there, and it wound up soaking for well over a month.........the alcohol did nothing.

 

Easy off oven cleaner is a good option.

It will remove many different types of paint.

But the fumes are highly caustic, and it's a one time shot kind of deal.

You can't reuse it.

You'll get the best results putting the parts in a plastic bag, spraying with easy off and then sealing the bag to soak.

So it works pretty well, but it's not very user friendly or economical.

Wear gloves, and probably some sort of breathing protection when using it.

The fumes are very strong and it's very hard on your skin.

 

The degreaser/ cleaners such as Purple Power, Simple Green and Super Clean are some of best options in this list in my opinion, but it's also my opinion that if you're going to use one of them, do yourself a favor and get the best......Super Clean.

Purple Power and many of the other knock offs absolutely do not have the same concentration of the working ingredients as Super Clean.

By the way, the key ingredient in these cleaners, as well as others such as Easy Off oven cleaner, is lye, so it is necessary to wear gloves when working with it.

The pros of using Super Clean over some other options are that it can be used over and over again, there are really no fumes to speak of, ( although you still will want to avoid breathing it in for too long as with any chemical) and it is biodegradable.

Although I would still recommend disposing of it properly, as once it's no longer usable, it will contain a lot of paint residue.

 

Keep in mind that most all of these options have their limitations and will not work in every circumstance.

In the case of the degreasing cleaners, such as Super Clean or easy off, success will often depend a great deal on the type of paint that you are stripping, and in some cases, even more dependent on the primer that you are using.

In the case of lacquer paints, these cleaners will have little affect for the most part on the paint itself, but if the right primer is used, it will work quite well.

As long as the cleaner is able to get to the primer itself, the solution will dissolve the primer, causing the paint to slough off in sheets.

A good practice is to scratch the surface of the paint in several areas down to the primer to allow the solution to work it's way under the paint to begin to loosen it.

Be patient and leave the parts in the Super Clean for an extended period of time, and the paint should come off cleanly.

There may be some remaining primer once the paint has been removed, but this is generally quite easy to remove with a little alcohol or even alcohol wipes.

 

I have had very good results removing multiple layers of automotive type lacquers with Super Clean using the methods described, but as I said, the primer is the key in these instances.

I use a combination of Testors lacquer primer and Duplicolor automotive primers and they are susceptible to these types of cleaners.

 

As a side note, cleaners such as Super Clean or Easy Off will have no ill affects whatsoever on the plastic as can be the case with some other chemicals used for stripping paint.

I have soaked parts in Super Clean for weeks with no affect on the plastic at all.

 

I have heard that people have good results with products such as ELO, but I have not used it myself, so I will leave it for others to comment on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve 

Edited by StevenGuthmiller
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I've used the LA's Totally Awesome for years now. It's my go to paint/chrome stripper. When I strip an old model, I can stick the whole thing, tires, glass and all in it without worries. It can be reused several times. It will weaken with use. But, at $3 for a half gallon, you can afford to replace it regularly. 

It is hit or miss on lacquer paints. Some it will. Some it won't. In which case, 91% alcohol does the trick.

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thanks guys. i will pickup some of the LA's Totally Awesome first since its cheap and seems to be sold at the dollar store by my house. i will also see if i can find a pencil case or something to put it in with a lid while im there. if not, my wife has some fancy looking cylinder container i can use. i think it would fit my model. 

 

i tried to paint my model silver, and then put tamiya clear blue over top of it. the color is amazing. however, it didnt seem to cover the pieces that are raised. in my case there is a straight line that is raised on my hood. i tried several thin coats, like 4 of them, and it was still just silver. finally i tried a heavier coat, and that cause it to pool up in places. im not sure how to get around this issue, but either way its just better to strip it and start over. even if it means with a different color. the clear blue is just so thin

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One other thing: I don't put smaller parts like engine blocks or suspension pieces into the "big tank" unless they are attached to something bigger.  Those go into smaller containers like prescription bottles or small plastic jars, with snap-on lids.  Less likelihood of small parts getting lost that way.

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23 hours ago, Plowboy said:

I've used the LA's Totally Awesome for years now. It's my go to paint/chrome stripper. When I strip an old model, I can stick the whole thing, tires, glass and all in it without worries. It can be reused several times. It will weaken with use. But, at $3 for a half gallon, you can afford to replace it regularly. 

It is hit or miss on lacquer paints. Some it will. Some it won't. In which case, 91% alcohol does the trick.

The dollar store had 2 kinds of la brand. One was a cleaner with bleach and the other said cleaner degreaser. 

I Got the degreaser one. Is it the right choice?

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A while back, I got the LA's Totally Awesome (Degreaser) to strip the chrome off a resin '57 Chrysler bumper which was badly plated. Took it right off, but I had to let it sit for at least a day. It wouldn't hurt to give it a try.

If all else fails, you could try the other type and use what you bought for other things.

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16 minutes ago, MrObsessive said:

A while back, I got the LA's Totally Awesome (Degreaser) to strip the chrome off a resin '57 Chrysler bumper which was badly plated. Took it right off, but I had to let it sit for at least a day. It wouldn't hurt to give it a try.

If all else fails, you could try the other type and use what you bought for other things.

 

i put the model in the plastic box and put the lid on it and put it outside. i will check on it tomorrow night and see how it looks. it smells like windex almost. the model is still available, so at the very worst case, i can buy another and have a box of parts 

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