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Warpshadow.com • View topic - Paint stripping discussion


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 Post subject: Use Methylated spirits
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 4:46 pm 
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Location: Dublin, not the one in Ohio or California
A lot of the stuff you mention isn’t available this side of the Atlantic, personally the best I have found is Methylated spirits which is ethyl alcohol denatured with methyl alcohol to prevent its use as an alcoholic beverage (Hic!). It is also known as denatured alcohol or surgical spirit (used for cleansing skin before injections or before surgery). It is also used by artists to clean acrylic paint from brushes.

And just for the scientists among us here’s the full spec: - http://www.distill.com/specs/EU2.html As you can see the exact composition varies depending on which country you buy it.

I have found that soaking a mini in Meths for half an hour is sufficient for the paint to wrinkle and go all floppy (an effect not unlike that that happed to Emil (Actor Paul McCrane ) in Robocop when the van crashes into a big tank to chemical waste). Then it’s under the running tap and a stiff toothbrush to remove the paint. I have found that it may one or two goes to remove 98% of the paint on a mini. Sometimes there will still be a bit in crevices etc.
The stuff is cheap, only 3 or 4 Euros for a litre and you can get it any chemists or hardware shop and it doesn’t seem to affect plastic.

Some disadvantages of meths is that it attacks green stuff causing it goes rubbery and loose adhesion and it stinks in the nasty chemical way because it is volatile, so use it in a jar with a lid.
I have ever only ever used it to strip GW paint but it did remove GW spay primer (eventually) so I don’t know how it will with other brands of paint..

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Bigus Nidus - What are the hazards? What is the disposal method? How badly does it muck up your family's (soon-to-be) drinking water if you pour it down the drain?


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I'm quite surprised to hear that methylated spirit works so well!

The biggest problem with assessing the hazard level is the wide variety of mixtures that can be labelled as 'meths' - the link Bigus gave shows a good view of the size of the problem. Mixtures that contain only ethanol and methanol are innocuous from an environmental standpoint and reasonably safe from a handling perspective, as shown by rather comprehensive document. My use of 'reasonably safe' in this context means that you're treating it like the flammable, poisonous chemical that it is, not like something you can take a bath in.

Other denaturants such as methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) or methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) are more serious hazards. I didn't find any data on their environmental persistance but at the quantities present I wouldn't anticipate any issues. More of a worry is the toxic effects: long term exposure warnings tend to consist of things like 'liver damage' and 'nervous system depression'. The levels of these chemicals added to meths are designed to make them taste bad and be mildly poisonous, not knock you unconscious when you open the bottle. Nevertheless it's reason to treat these formulations with a bit more respect. On the plus side MEK and MIBK are rated as excellent solvents for paint in industry (MEK is typically used as a carrier for coding inks in industrial processes, amongst other things) so meths denatured with them may show increased effectiveness.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 6:58 pm 
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@Phage, I've never had a problem with disposing of Meths, as teatime points out it's just alcohol, I'd say that most of the meths I use just evaporates. I have found that after a few week, despite my best efforts, that my sealed jar of meths has reduced to a jay with a thin layer of congealed paint peelings which I just put in the bin :oops:

All the same I'd be careful of where I'd dispose of it. It makes a nice blue flame though :lol:

@Teatime MEK ! :shock: That is horrible s**t, I know I used to work with it. I was told that's it is such a powerful degreaser that the fumes can remove natural oils from your lungs.

When I worked in aviation the Boing approved method for looking for leaks in the B737 bladder fuel cells was to put some Ammonia in the fuel tank, pressurise the tank and hold a white cloth soaked in MEK near the pipe connections, inspection holes etc and see if the cloth changed colour! Or maybe it was MEK inside, I can’t remember. It was one sure way to empty an aircraft hangar! I'm showing my age now; the B737 centre section fuel tank has been "wet" for a long time now.

Anyway I think MEK will attack some plastics.


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Back onto topic. I have a suspicion that Cillit Bang (or as i call it, 'hydroflouric acid') may work, but i have to try it out before i am certain. Available here in Britain.

Time to sacrafice a marine or 6 to this cause

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I have to post my report on Greased Lightning.

I took my Flyrant appart to make him a magneto-tyrant. Long story short, Balrog wings went in to a pan of greased lightning. After 4 hours came back scubbed lightly with a tooth brush and only managed to get a bit of the base coat of the fleshy part of the wings (Ultra Marines Blue) After another 8 hours i was able to get a little more of the Ultra Marines Blue and some of the Regal Blue started to come but it was hardly noticeable. The process continued for about 5 days scrubbing 2 or 3 times a day. There is still much of the black primer on the model that I gave up on. At one point I was scubbing so furiously I broke 1 of the long claws off. I don't think I changed any variables in the experiment. Can anyone confirm or deny the efficacy of Greased Lightning as according to the original post?

This is the exact type used:

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