Lotus Elan

Paint removal via media blasting

PostPost by: Thornts » Mon May 13, 2019 8:36 am

Morning/afternoon/evening all.
An area that has been visited many times but these guys are another option (no pun intended) for getting all that pesky old paint off your Elan or indeed any fibreglass car.

http://www.vale-paints.co.uk/index.php

http://www.vale-paints.co.uk/gel_blasting.php

They use media blasting and it really does get every last molecule of paint off without damaging the gelcoat, no chemicals or getting the bodywork wet and no potential to 'loose' its delicate contours. Depending on how you value your time it can be a cost effective alternative to hand stripping a car yourself. The pros and cons of the various ways of tackling this job have been discussed on here many times, this is just one of those ways that I've found to be effective. I know one or two guys have also used John in the past and (I think) have been happy with his work. No affiliation, just happy with what they did on my brother's TVR Grantura.

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PostPost by: 69S4 » Mon May 13, 2019 12:03 pm

And not only that but they seem to be well into motorcycle painting. I need a high end painter to redo the tank on my Honda CBX after the brake reservoir leaked hydraulic fluid all over it. Pity they're at the other end of the planet (in UK terms anyway) from me but I've not managed to find anyone local.
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Mon May 13, 2019 12:16 pm

how come they're not a bit more specific as to what media they are blasting ?

Even if I value my time, I also value my pride and joyand before entrusting its delicate body to foreign hand, so I'd make sure to check out in person the actual process and result... in particular the vagueness of the sales pitch and the folowwing sentence :

"We are happy to restore just the body should you require, repairing and strengthening where required, then finishing the body 1 to 2 layers of fibreglass matting."

which lets believe that in any case extra layer will be added makes me, to say the least, suspicious.

Maybe I'm overly paranoid, from having been burnt a few times no doubt, but when a original body is damaged by carelessness it's gone.
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PostPost by: Craven » Mon May 13, 2019 1:13 pm

“Although this is a long process, it gives the perfect base for restorations.” = $$$$$$/££££££
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PostPost by: JonB » Mon May 13, 2019 2:23 pm

nmauduit wrote:Maybe I'm overly paranoid, from having been burnt a few times no doubt, but when a original body is damaged by carelessness it's gone.


And there is the problem. Who can you trust?
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Mon May 13, 2019 7:32 pm

I've had GRP blasted before now and the only time it's not had most of the top layer of gelcoat striped back is when it was Plasti-Grit blasted by a VERY expensive aircraft painters.

If it was me i'd get some thing easily replaced done first like a bumper of bonnet and be very cautious as even Soda blasting damages the GRP.
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Tue May 14, 2019 6:04 am

The Bonnet on my TVR 3000M was blasted
using vegetal granules with an excellant result. No problem
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PostPost by: BRGS » Thu May 16, 2019 8:05 am

for the sake of making a contribution as i'm a newbie.

I make and supply paint for aircraft for a living. removal is an issue as the weight needs to be controlled and build ups >200 microns are undesirable.

For composites we can't use paint stripper, and in the case of some processes the operator (usually military) prefers to use media stripping.

Media blasting with "type 5" acrylic media or alternatively wheatstarch are both approved for aircraft composites and will remove the coating without touching the substrate if done by a skilled operative. The pressure is low and the media is soft so the paint will blast away in very thin stages.

I don't know enough about people doing this process on cars to be sure that they can do it. Certainly if they damage the GRP and see that as a good reason for a few hours extra work and a lot of filler then that would be pretty undesirable.
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PostPost by: rcfurse » Thu May 16, 2019 5:24 pm

Is Type 5 acrylic the tiny square cubes that are then taken down to -35 degrees?
If I offered up a body for a trial what would the likely cost be?
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PostPost by: LarrySprint » Fri May 17, 2019 5:00 am

Another possible option, Easy Off oven cleaner ! Yes it works, I used it recently to strip my chassis. I have not tried it on fiberglass. A high end Mustang restorer told me about it, stating he could strip a repaint , leaving the original paint intact. Someone should test it on gel-coat and post result. The Easy Off should be neutralized with a water and vinegar solution.
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Fri May 17, 2019 7:52 am

LarrySprint wrote:Another possible option, Easy Off oven cleaner ! Yes it works, I used it recently to strip my chassis. I have not tried it on fiberglass. A high end Mustang restorer told me about it, stating he could strip a repaint , leaving the original paint intact. Someone should test it on gel-coat and post result. The Easy Off should be neutralized with a water and vinegar solution.


I would not take the risk of embedding chemicals within the fiberglass, even only in a single pinhole, and take the risk it jumping back at me a couple weeks of months after the new paint has been sprayed on a body with hundreds hours of preparation. I only use mechanical means for removing paint on a fiberglass car, and dry. When dry sanding, one can feel the difference between paint and gelcoat then stop immediately, then the gelcoat will serve as reference surface for restoring the original body lines.
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PostPost by: Craven » Fri May 17, 2019 10:58 am

Agreeing with the idea that wet working is a no no, how is the use of modern water based paints systems on fibre glass cars both old and new accommodated.
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PostPost by: BRGS » Fri May 17, 2019 7:29 pm

I know there is a dry ice blast which leaves no abrasive residue as it evaporates. But i think this more like -75C

i don't know anyone doing cars with it. I wouldn't chemical strip GRP, the stipper will damage the gelcoat and the resin if it dwells any time.
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PostPost by: LarrySprint » Sat May 18, 2019 5:36 am

Fiberglass boat owners regularly use paint stripper. There are a lot of modern products that can safely do the job. Consider - Sea Hawk Marine Paint Stripper - "Will not damage gel coat or fiberglass"
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Sat May 18, 2019 9:31 am

Craven wrote:Agreeing with the idea that wet working is a no no, how is the use of modern water based paints systems on fibre glass cars both old and new accommodated.


I don't use water based paint on fiberglass, but I would think a suitable sealer (uninterrupted film, esp. in areas with reworked scratches, cracks or pinholes... ) can be sprayed and effectively isolate the substrate from soaking the solvent before complete dry up.
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