Removing paint can be a time-consuming and tedious affair, but it can be sped up considerably with the use of an aircraft stripper. Contrary to what its name suggests, the aircraft stripper is not restricted to aircraft’s but can be also used to remove paint on cars, trucks, vans and other types of vehicles. You don’t need any auto experience to use an aircraft stripper as it is straightforward and easy to use. What you will need to do is practice extra caution when dealing with the chemical.
The most important thing to do when handling the chemical is to wear rubber gloves. This is because the chemical is corrosive and may burn the skin off your flesh upon contact. So unless you cherish the idea of having no skin, your best bet will be to put on some rubber gloves. They may slow down your movements slightly, but it’s better to be clumsy than to be in pain. It is also equally important to ensure your work area is well-ventilated. This is because you do not want to run the risk of inhaling noxious fumes which will seriously damage your health. Also, remove any glass or rubber from your vehicle which you do not want to get damaged.
After slipping on your rubber gloves, start pouring some aircraft stripper over the area which you want to remove the paint from. However, do not pour too much or it will eat into the metal underneath the paint as well. Step back and wait a few minutes as the chemical works its magic. Soon, you will see the paint lifting and looking like it has bubbles underneath. At this point, you can use a putty knife, a tool which is normally used for glazing single-glazed windows, to scrape off the paint. Alternatively, you can use a plastic squeegee in place of the putty knife. Just keep scraping the old paint off until the surface is bare. The number of times you have to repeat this step depends on the number of coatings.
When you have scraped the paint off until you can see the exposed surface, affix an 80-grit sandpaper to a dual action sander and sand the area. This will get rid of any stubborn leftover paint from the surface that was not removed by the aircraft stripper. Additionally, this process will rough up the area’s surface which is good in providing a firm hold for paint and bodywork. However, take care in not spending too much time on one specific area. Sanding in a particular spot for long periods of time will generate heat which can cause the metal underneath the surface to warp and distort. This could lead to more damages and repairs. After the area is smooth, switch the 80-grit sandpaper with 120-grit sandpaper and sand the entire area again. The smoother sandpaper will minimize the scratches from the earlier sandpaper.
Sometimes, the automotive industry uses powder paint to paint vehicles because they are more durable than liquid paint. You need not fret as the aircraft stripper works just as well on powder paint. The most important thing is to remember to wear protective gear like trousers, long-sleeved shirts, rubber gloves and safety glasses to avoid eye and skin contact with the aircraft stripper. Apply a generous coating of the chemical on the area which you want paint to be stripped off from.
If you are concerned for the environment, you can opt for eco-friendly aircraft strippers that are specially-formulated to remove powder paint from vehicles. Wait a few minutes as the chemical dissolves the powder paint before wiping it off with a cloth. Repeat this step a few more times until all traces of the powder paint is dissolved and wiped clean. Just use water to neutralize and rinse off the aircraft stripper when you are done.