Blast cleaning and more specifically plastic media blasting is a common method to removing paint from fiberglass surfaces, fiberglass composite, polyester and epoxy , SMC plastics and molded rubber. Fiberglass stripping must be approached carefully and the project goals fully understood. Certain resin layups strip easily, others will have limitations including air bubble holes and others that have weather or may be polyester layup and water logged will have disappointing results.
Removing paint from an early 1960’s Corvette may have surprising results for the uninformed owner or body shop. Fiberglass lay ups were engineered to have specific characteristics. The early corvette for instance had production schedule requirements, price point, esthetic finish approved by the manufacturer and all of this required customer acceptance. Not on the list was stripping the car after 50 years. Stripping paint using any type blast media on a late 1950’s or early 60’s corvette that has been painted several times will result in a “rough” or “grainy” surface, this is not all bad however. The soft, poorly adhered or UV damaged polyester resins need to be removed until a sound base surface is found. These cleaned surfaces will also require more work to bring it back to showroom or better conditions. But ultimately the project will have better long term results, filler, primer and paint adhesion will be outstanding and the value of the automobile will be maximized.
Stripping any composite materials requires experience to select the correct blast media to be used. We here at ASCo have 35 + years’ experience and many standard stock medias/ abrasive to select from. We do not decide on what material to use until we have a full understanding of the project and project goals and have inspected the parts first hand. Even after careful consideration test samples are often done to prove the methodology.