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Refinishing Painted or Anodized Mountain Bike Components





Q. I am curious about refinishing painted bicycle frames (high strength aluminum or chromoly steel), and anodized aluminum. I have heard of using oven cleaner [on eBay or Amazon affil link] to remove anodizing, and commercial chemical paint stripper for painted parts. The components to be refinished are high strength, high stress and high dollar. My concern is the reduction of yield, or fatigue resistance in the process. Are there any other solutions that do not adversely impact the material properties?

Derek Hughes
- Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
2001



2001

A. I've personally never heard of paint strippers having an adverse reaction on steel parts. Aluminum is sensitive to a number of things, so some paint strippers could affect it.

As to the oven cleaner, again I can't see this having any effect on steel parts. It's used on aluminum parts to remove the anodized finish, and it definitely will attack the aluminum base metal as well. The way to strip anodized coatings from important aluminum parts is with chromic-phosphoric stripping solutions which dissolves anodizing but does not affect aluminum. Good luck.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. YES INDEED SOME TYPES OF PAINT STRIPPER CAN DAMAGE ALUMINUM. ESPECIALLY IF IT'S LEFT ON THE MATERIAL TOO LONG. THE BEST TYPE OF STRIPPER , AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC IS Tal-Strip [ed.note: this product is largely (60%+) methylene chloride; most users should consider substituting a less toxic stripper these days] AIRCRAFT STRIPPER. THE BEST AND MOST EFFICIENT WAY TO STRIP ANODIZING OFF OF ALLOY IS TO GO TO YOUR LOCAL RADIATOR SHOP OR PLATING SHOP, AS THEY HAVE HOT CAUSTIC. IT WILL WORK FAST AND EFFICIENTLY AS OPPOSED TO YOUR OVEN CLEANER, THAT WILL NOT STRIP CONSISTENTLY. EITHER OF THEM SHOULD BE RINSED VERY THOROUGHLY, AS THE CAUSTIC CAN BE CORROSIVE IF DEPOSITS ARE LEFT BEHIND, OR INSIDE YOUR FRAME , OR OTHER pieces. YEA

ROB MCKAY
- VANCOUVER, CANADA
2001




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