plating, anodizing, & finishing Q&As since 1989
Stripping fancy paint from an aluminum bike frame
I would like to strip the existing paint off my aluminum bicycle frame and replace it with a more subtle, less attractive to thieves, color scheme, such as flat black. What is the simplest, easiest way to get rid of the existing paint? I would prefer a solvent to an angle grinder.Zakary Cushing
student - Homer, Alaska
Solvents used this way tend to be environmentally unfriendly, and introduce other problems. And, since you won't know the details of the paint, the first solvent you pick may not work. And some solvents are tough on aluminum. Can't you just scuff the paint with sandpaper and repaint with your ugly stuff?
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
I would like to do a similar thing, i.e., removing old paint from aluminum to repaint. I am restoring an ejection seat from an F-16 and the seat is made mostly of aluminum. I was told to lightly bead blast the seat to remove the surface oxidized paint. What would you recommend in the way of equipment and blast media to do this job without damaging the metal? I don't mind buying a new tool, but don't want to spend a fortune either.
- Plano, Texas
You can use any proprietary solvent based paint stripper, or if you want to work with your own solution you can mix acetone [on eBay or Amazon affil link] and white spirit or toluene (1/1). Rinse well, first with acetone.
Good luck!Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia
I just had my steel frame dipped at a local chemical stripping company - $2/lb. They also advertise stripping for aluminum. Definitely worth it!David Lee
- Ontario, Canada
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