Automobile Stripping/ Media Blasting / Metal cleaning/ Stripping cars and rust can be done most efficiently using one of three methods
- Hand / mechanical sanding/ chemical stripping and power tool cleaning
- Immersion dipping in a hot caustic solution/ chemical stripping
- Dry media blasting / soda blasting / sandblasting / plastic blasting / walnut shell Blasting / glass bead blasting
Before you select a stripping method, start with project goals. Goals may include budget constraints, completion time, expectations for longevity and quality of finish and the customer’s ability to handle large bare metal surfaces and process them at one time. Typically restoration and body shops can handle large parts and volumes as normal course of business but the hobbyist restorer may not because of space limitations.
We here at ASCo American Stripping Company Manassas strip paint, rust and corrosion using a dry blasting processes. The blast media used for a specific project is a function of the existing condition of painted or rusted metal and the type of metal. It is also important to understand if any of the parts are wood, aluminum or have lead or other types of fillers.
We start the media selection process after we understand the project goals and type of paint to be used. The most common request is that the aluminum or steel surfaces are clean and free of rust and corrosion. The second most important requirement is that the surfaces are not damaged or warped and third what is the cost.
Hard blast media’s includes garnet, aluminum oxide, silicone carbides and similar abrasives that are expensive but are also very uniform in size will always provide a “white metal” or clean surfaces if care is take. It is important to understand that certain coatings including tars and mastics, undercoating, multiple layers of paint are probably not good candidates for any blast cleaning because they cannot be removed easily or cost effectively. Attempting to remedy all problems with one cleaning method can create additional problems and should be avoided.
Rust and paint removal for automobile parts in recent years moved away from hard abrasives and into plastic media or other soft media materials. More recently that too has changed and more and more people are using baking soda or soda blasting as a method to remove paint and rust. Soda blasting is simple, easy and low risk, the down side is soda is not very aggressive and may not fully clean your surfaces to an acceptable standard, especially for removing rust. Soda is not without problems beyond marginal surface preparation. Portable mobile soda blasters that come to your house and advertise soda as being environmentally friendly are only partially correct. DEQ, Department of Environmental Quality and EPA has limitations on virtually everything that goes down the storm sewer or drain. Paint chips that are removed with any process may also contain hazards that are never allowed into storm sewers.
Warping sheet metal parts is a common concern and is often misunderstood. Warping is a result of peening or stretching the metal on one side and not the other and typically not caused by heat. Heat can however warp or distort metal but the temperatures have to be so great and so intense that if that is the case you are using the wrong vendor for you blasting needs. It is typical to get a 5 – 10 degree temperature rise on a sheet metal fender for instance. The temperature is measured on adjacent surfaces that have not been cleaned. Typical compressed blast air that has been through an after cooler may have a temperature of 15 – 25 degrees warmer than ambient so some temperature rise can be anticipated. Large size heavy abrasives accelerated at high velocity are more likely to peen, soft light weight media such as soda or plastic blast less likely to peen, but also do not clean the surface as well.
It is important to understand that each project has different goals, each car is different, and a 1968 car that has original paint and has been stored outdoors will be a much easier car to strip than a garage kept car that has been painted several times.
Before you start your project stop by our Manassas Virginia facility, let us show you our operations and method of handling parts then we can talk about your project.