Getting Spray Paint off Aluminum

What would be the best and easiest way to get spray paint off aluminum metal? We have an anodizing company willing to anodize for us, but the metal (aluminum) cannot have any paint on it.

How can we get it off?

Edit: Can we fix the topic title. I forgot one of the F’s in Of. The title should say: Getting spray paint off aluminum. Computer must have not picked up the second click :slight_smile:

use an automotive paint stripper and scotch-bright pads. It would help if we knew what kind of paint was used. You could probably get away with just the pads and some work but it depends on the kind of paint.

What kind of paint was used?

use a wire wheel and a drill. it will come right off.

sandblasting is another way.

I would worry that sandblasting or a wire brush would remove too much material and it would not be as strong as before.

Also, this would be a pretty poor way to use a wire wheel. I’d use one on a grinder personally, its marginally safer since its more stable.

So just get a sander?

You can either use a paint stripper as suggested above or start with rough sandpaper, then finish the part off with a finer sandpaper. It’s what we do and works fine. I would go against using a wire wheel in a drill…

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acetone :wink:

probably the best idea :wink:

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Personally, I do not see the up side in painting aluminium structure. It looks good when first done, but quickly looks pretty shabby when it gets a few marks and scratches. It requires time to pull the assembled robot apart, apply the paint, reassemble it and finally spend more time cleaning the paint off when the robot is finished with. I think this is a lot of effort just for aesthetics. Paint strippers and abrasion can give the metal a hard time, perhaps good if you want it lighter :rolleyes:, but not too good for the structural integrity.

A couple of suggestions for cleaning:

  1. Has anyone tried using a paint stripping heat gun? Perhaps give it a trial on a small component first. Take care, as the aluminium will get extremely hot.
  2. If you can get access to a muffle furnace (with good fume extraction fitted), give it 6 hours at 600 deg celsius and the paint layer will turn to ash and wash off in water. We use this method at my work to clean hot melt adhesive from aluminium blocks. Do not go over 600 C or you will risk melting the aluminium. Again, trial a small component first in case it goes pear shaped.
  3. Here is link giving advice on using acetone to clean metal. Take extreme care if using acetone as it is highly volatile and flammable.

Cheers, Paul

automotive brake cleaner will take the paint off. The smell is harsh and it will remove any paint or coating it comes into contact with, so you just have to be careful with it.

Oh yes, it sure will, had a painful experience (for my car) with this in the past.

With any of these chemical methods please be careful, they can be very nasty substances, adult supervision highly recommended.

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Do I just spray it on there?

In a well ventilated area, on a bunch of old rags to soak up the cleaner and paint. A respirator (like a 3M one, not a dust mask) could also be a good investment…


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I have heard that nail polish remover has gotten it off. You might want to soak it on the spray paint for awhile so that it sinks down deep enough instead of just coating the top of the paint.

Guys, This is why plastidip is amazing, It works so well to peel off :smiley:

@DRow This is so obvious its a bit hilarious as well.
edit: for anybody else who can still see the bot post above, look at the profile.

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