Favorite Stripper

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wildhorsesracing

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I am not talking about your entertainment choices! :)

I need to strip old paint off of my RV7A and what works and wondered who had good results?
 

TFF

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Aircraft stripper usually bought at the car parts or paint place. Warning it says not for aircraft. Stuff at the hardware stores are not strong enough.
 

Pops

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Having stripped at least a dozen airplanes, one certain brand of stripper may work good on one paint and not on another. If you can, try different brands to see what works best on the type of paint you want to strip.
Like Kyle Boatright said, they work the best when warm. I put the stripper on and let it set for about 45 minutes covered with black plastic placed in the sun.
The best stripper that I have used was called "NO Sweat" paint stripper. Aircraft Spruce used to sell it, but I don't think its on the market anymore. You could stick your hands in it, and washed off very good with warm water. Used it on a lot of the airplanes. Would take about 3-4 gal to do a C-172. Local pilot and distant relative of mine was a part owner of the factory.
 
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speedracer

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RAFE (Rutan Aircraft Flying Experience) took a pair of Long EZ wings to an auto paint shop to be repainted. They used paint stripper on them and totaled the wings.
 

Victor Bravo

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Slightly off-topic, but a baking soda blaster or dry ice blaster could be the very best option.

Chemical stripper is a really gross mess, and it would be quite a horror if it gets in between riveted seams and causes corrosion..

I recently used a friend's cheap HF soda blaster to removed baked and burnt on carbon and lead from an O-300 piston. Incredibly good results. Look up some videos of dry ice blasting, it would possibly be a very good alternative.
 

Kyle Boatright

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I recently used a friend's cheap HF soda blaster to removed baked and burnt on carbon and lead from an O-300 piston. Incredibly good results. Look up some videos of dry ice blasting, it would possibly be a very good alternative.
We had a dry-ice unit at work and a friend had another one (Lockheed Surplus). They were both expensive to operate and maintenance intensive. The deal (obviously) would be to find one to rent or to find a shop you could hire to do the work. All of which sounds spendy.
 

ScaleBirdsScott

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I'm curious if a Vapor Hone machine would work on aircraft aluminum. They recently did some videos of their mobile unit taking down the paint on an old hotrod fender and they can make engine parts go from grimey gross to a pearly shine.
 

proppastie

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I'm curious if a Vapor Hone machine would work on aircraft aluminum.
Grit in bearings, hinges, pulleys, ....could be a problem.....was a place near me at one time tried plastic bead blast and they did not last long because of the grit in bearings problems. That is why dry ice or soda blasting and strippers are the preferred methods.....For some reason scuff and paint works without the grit in bearings problem which I guess I do not understand that or maybe it is a problem and that is why it is not done so often.
 

wktaylor

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USAF T.O. 1-1-8 APPLICATION AND REMOVAL OF ORGANIC COATINGS, AEROSPACE AND NON-AEROSPACE EQUIPMENT
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My favorite is AeroChem Plane Naked... for many reasons... except availability may be an issue.

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Military / Commercial Aviation Archives | West Penetone U.S.A. | Your cleaning solutions resource

For light weight sheet metal, 'plastic media blast-stripping may work... but only in the hands of an aircraft stripping paint-shop experts [lots of possible damage issues to be aware of].
 

Fiberglassworker

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USAF T.O. 1-1-8 APPLICATION AND REMOVAL OF ORGANIC COATINGS, AEROSPACE AND NON-AEROSPACE EQUIPMENT
Technical Orders

My favorite is AeroChem Plane Naked... for many reasons... except availability may be an issue.

Home Cee-Bee

Military / Commercial Aviation Archives | West Penetone U.S.A. | Your cleaning solutions resource

For light weight sheet metal, 'plastic media blast-stripping may work... but only in the hands of an aircraft stripping paint-shop experts [lots of possible damage issues to be aware of].
I used to offer this service when I ran an FAA licensed repair station, the first thing was to make sure the surface had absolutely no holes in it. A 1/8" diameter rivet hole will dump a quarter of a cup of particles inside within 3 to 4 passes of the blasting nozzle. This is why the CO2 systems became much more popular. Remember the same thing happens with soda blasting, but at least you can wash it out with a hose.
 

Dillpickle

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Soooooo...the GOOD stuff in paint stripper was... "Methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane or DCM, a solvent used in a range of products. The average consumer is most likely to encounter it in paint strippers, even though safer alternatives exist. Methylene chloride has been linked to cancer, cognitive impairment, and asphyxiation. Numerous people have died from exposure to methylene chloride. In 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to ban this chemical’s use in paint stripping. In 2019, EPA only finalized the ban on consumer uses and sales".
That blurb, from SaferChemicals.org, explains what happened. People are idiots and need the government to step in and protect them from themselves. So you and I can't buy it, but commercial users CAN. So, make friends with a commercial paint shop or "fhagedaboutit." I tried to buy some from a vendor but they wanted business license numbers and a commercial address to ship it. It can be neutralized with water, but people would splash that $h!t in their eyes and go blind.
 

Kyle Boatright

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Soooooo...the GOOD stuff in paint stripper was... "Methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane or DCM, a solvent used in a range of products. The average consumer is most likely to encounter it in paint strippers, even though safer alternatives exist. Methylene chloride has been linked to cancer, cognitive impairment, and asphyxiation. Numerous people have died from exposure to methylene chloride. In 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to ban this chemical’s use in paint stripping. In 2019, EPA only finalized the ban on consumer uses and sales".
That blurb, from SaferChemicals.org, explains what happened. People are idiots and need the government to step in and protect them from themselves. So you and I can't buy it, but commercial users CAN. So, make friends with a commercial paint shop or "fhagedaboutit." I tried to buy some from a vendor but they wanted business license numbers and a commercial address to ship it. It can be neutralized with water, but people would splash that $h!t in their eyes and go blind.
Yep. Just like blasting caps and dynamite. Both of which were available over the counter in my extreme youth. ;-)
 

wildhorsesracing

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Dec 17, 2007
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I have tried a half dozen over the counter strippers and none seem to work well. It was getting $$ so I called a local soda blasting company and should have an answer today or tomorrow - might be cheaper and easier to soda blast anyway.
 

TFF

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Soda is nice if you have the money. If the item is valuable, it’s a drop in the bucket. Something like a car or airplane, they are going to have to shoot $500-700 worth of soda to clean it. Labor for them to do it is probably $200.
 

wildhorsesracing

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Dec 17, 2007
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I have tried at least 6 different stripping products and only 2 of them had any effect. I will post the various products when I get a chance.

The Soda Stripper was suppose to come today but it is raining, hopefully next week. His rates were $175/hr everything included and he expected it to take 3-4 hrs to strip the whole plane. I will post the outcome when it's done.
 
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