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There are two basic types of paint strippers, solvents or caustics. The caustics are lye based and are generally used to strip paint from wood. The solvent strippers range from some of the “green” ones based on the chemicals in citrus (oranges) to the most aggressive, usually containing methylene chloride. Methylene Chloride will burn skin almost instantly. You must wear eye protection, have adequate ventilation and wear protective denver broncos hawaiian shirt when using Methylene Chloride strippers.
Automotive brake fluid is another alternative although maybe not as fast as conventional strippers, it is one of the safest. Not only is it less likely to harm skin, it won’t hurt most plastics. Model railroaders have used it for years to remove the paint from their diecast model trains and accessories. It is important to thoroughly wash the stripped casting before repainting or any remaining residue could hinder future paint projects.
Acetone is another commercially available stripper that can be found with the paint thinners at any paint store or with the paint products at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, etc. Although flammable and the concentrated vapors can be toxic, it is safer than most of the commercial strippers. Store it in a glass jar with a metal screw top. Acetone will dissolve will dissolve some plastics and tends to evaporate through the plastics it doesn’t dissolve. It should be noted that a safety label should be affected to the container and the container should be stored in a safe place. Even though you know what is in the jar, others may not. After carefully dissembling your model put metal parts in the jar and let them soak. The paint will usually slough off in a few minutes. You can snake the casting out of the jar using a wire hook or pick it out with tweezers or forceps Although using a metal screen to pour through is faster and removes more of the paint residue. Light brushing with an old toothbrush will usually remove any stubborn spots. Use a wooden toothpick to get any remaining paint out of door and hood lines. If the paint is stubborn, you can just keep repeating the soaking. One advantage of acetone is that it completely evaporates and won’t leave any residue to interfere with repainting. The primary problem with acetone and skin is that it removes the natural oils. Just avoid skin contact as much as possible. Keep the acetone away from windshields and other plastic parts as it will destroy them.
As a final thought I would like to stress the importance of safety when stripping diecast cars trucks or any type of metal model. If you are unsure of whether or not the solvent you are using will cause harm to yourself or the model then it is recommended to use brake fluid.
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write by Tim Marshall Jr