Getting paint off aluminum

Someone painted the console of my Lund. Then didn't mask it off, and some of the spray got on the inside side of the boat. In several places. Ronnie Milsap coulda did a better job.

I'm going to pull the console and the bench and everything else that will come out for recarpeting. While it's out, I'll paint it right. But I need to take off the paint from the aluminum. Suggestions? A vibrating sander? Acetone? Paint remover? Scouring pads? What will look decent without buffing it up? And if I do buff it up, how would I age it quickly to dull it down before I put the parts back in there?

Help appreciated.


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Depends some on what the paint is. Since they didn't mask, it seems likely that they didn't use good (pricey) paint so it probably isn't

2-part urethane like Imron, more likely an acrylic lacquer or something from a rattlecan. Paint I got from Alumacraft (years ago) was acrylic lacquer. Lacquer thinner will remove lacquer with ease.

I'd start with acetone or lacquer thinner, see if that works. If not, try paint remover. If that fails, Scotchbrite will definitely do the job, particularly the Roll-loc discs in a pneumatic die grinder -- but they will definitely buff it up some. A sander is more aggressive than necessary and suitably-fine-grit paper will clog very quickly.

Unless the overspray is Imron or similar, I'd be quite surprised if a Scotchbrite pad wet with lacquer thinner and operated by (gloved) hand wouldn't get 'er done in jig time.

If it gets buffed up, or even if it doesn't, get some Ditzler/PPG Alumaprep #33 and apply that. When time to paint, I'd follow with Alodine.

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These treatments prepare ally so about any paint wets, flows and adheres with a vengeance. A body shop or auto paint supplier should have these products or something similar. A quart of each would be way plenty for this project and several more. If you want to keep cost to a min you could skip the alodyne with little loss in job quality.

Reply to
Don Foreman


dont get on your skin.

Reply to
Stealth Pilot

I'd like to add one caution. Do not use the common "etching primer" and overcoat with a two part polyurethane paint. Experience has shown that the two part causes the primer to come off :-(


Bruce (bruceinbangkokatgmaildotcom)

Reply to
Bruce In Bangkok

If it's lacquer try acetone. It's probably shake-n-shoot enamel of some type.

MEK. For flat surfaces pour some on and let it work for 5 minutes or so. For curved/intricate/verticle, fold up some paper towels to make a pad, soak with MEK, and put on surface. Let it work a bit and wipe off the paint.

MEK. Not as bad as some, but flammable, and the fumes will knock you on your butt.

Little MEK story. Used to work for a rock crusher manufacturer. Had a BIG paint booth building. When the paint would build up to 1/2" or so on the floor, the painter would slop a 5 gallon bucket of MEK on the floor, close up the building for an hour. Reach in and flip on the fans for 10 minutes or so and then we would clean the floor.

1/2" thick industrial enamel was softened up like oatmeal. Scooped it up with a shovel. Neat stuff!
Reply to
Bill Marrs

a friend of mine, now deceased sadly, was complaining to me about the wasted cost of the overspray of expensive aircraft epoxy paint on his hangar floor. when it came time to spray the tube fuselage of my aircraft I did it in about the same time as he did. he came to watch and coach. at the end of painting my fuselage I had the merest hint of overspray dust on the hangar floor. he couldnt believe that I'd sprayed the entire tube fuselage in the hangar so I cranked up the sprayer for the last section. the difference was that I used an aeromodellers revell airbrush. the real simple little one that uses a small glass bottle and has an on/off air control and nothing else. the paint was mixed and thinned in the bottom half of a clean coke can and decanted into the little bottle. because the revell had a spray width about the same as the tube diameter there was no overspray. I also needed about a tenth of the solvent thinners that he had used and inhaled. getting the little airbrush into the nooks and crannies was no trouble at all.

couldnt you use a smaller spray gun?

Reply to
Stealth Pilot

"SteveB" wrote in news:i6i0a6-clb1.ln1

Permatex Gasket Remover will take off just about any paint. I've never used it on aluminum though. I'd test it on a scrap of the same alloy first, but it literally turns paint and primer into a jelly that wipes off with a rag.

Don's right about using Alumaprep. Just remember, every second counts between prepping and painting with aluminum. Bare aluminum starts oxidizing immediately when exposed to air.

Reply to
Bruce Spainhower

SOS pad works great. It was light overspray. A little polishing, but that will oxidize.


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If nothing else works, aircraft paint stripper will. If you use chemical means, you probably won't lose any polish on the alloy underneath, if that's important. If you're going to paint it anyway, sand away! I've gotten the real stuff from a body shop supplier, hardware store brands are a very poor substitute.

While you're there, check out what they've got for prepping aluminum for paint, there are a number of primers and conversion coatings that can be had. If you really want a durable job,check into automotive finishes. Short of the stuff they use on oil rigs, it's about the toughest stuff. You'll want to get all the stuff, primer paint, thinner, hardener, from the same paint maker, the "families" all work together.


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Aluminun is corroded both ways ,

acids , caustics .

Mercury eats it fast ...

Other bases like steel can be paint stripped using some extreme caustics .

Paint removers must work under protection of a gel , to keep out air .. You wire brush the gel around til it penetrates the paint ,all the way to the base ...

BTW The new E-Welders have potential that is missing and too expensive to implement on old , heavy welders . So i bought 5 Harbor Fright $200 welders . Great as a pow source for MIG ! Also got a combo , Plasma , TIG , Stick from Its has no pilot arc , but cuts almost same . Has a foot control , that works on Stick and TIG .

I dont like Simon K' , he has problems , tries to blame customers for his faulty website . If you find a welder combo elsewhere , buy it there .

Im real thrilled with the ability to start a weld at high power , til the metal gets hot , shut down to 10% of that HEAT . I can weld 1/4" plate to a thin skin , say .020 !! but of course the edge of 1/4 is tapered ...

i also got $700 HF Plasma , then i learned about combo units for same price ! ha ha ha ... HF uses a AT91 microprocessor , its NOT needed .. Uses a heavy inductor to PILOT arc the plasma . circuitry is typical , 10 times too many transistors , relays and parts ! Dont buy the other HF Plasma , its output is too low for the bucks . The bitch is the air compressor , my HF $700 Plasma wastes air "cooling" the torch too much . Not needed , It wastes 4 CFM . You can fine tune that to 2 CFM ...

kc7cc yahoo com

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Steve, my favorite low-impact paint remover is DOT 3 brake fluid. Buy a quart for $3.00, brush it on, then come back in an hour and it will wipe off.

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