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Thread: How to strip powdercoat

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Denver, CO
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    2007 22ve

    How to strip powdercoat

    Hey Tige’ Owners!
    I decided that I wanted to change the color of my tower in the off season. The guy I bought it from had ordered it orange form his dealer and while I’m a die hard Broncos fan and I definitely didn’t hate it I think it will look better either black or gray to match my boat.
    I contacted several local powder coat businesses to get some quotes for both stripping the old powder coat and applying the new. Well, turns out this stuff is expensive to strip, like $400 dollars was the cheapest I was quoted expensive. That was just to strip it off. Ouch! Out comes the cheap *** in me and I started doing some research online to figure out my options. You can use a chemical, an oven (danger of warping the metal) or sandblasting. (my tower is aluminum so I didn’t want to go this route, I’ve heard it can leave the aluminum slightly pitted)
    Pretty sure these shops outsource this job to the same sandblasting company at $150/hr, I called the sandblaster direct and was told $110/hr with no guarantee how long it’ll take.
    I found several videos on YouTube and a got a tip from Rugger on Wake garage on how to chemically strip it. I figured I’d share my experience here with you good people as well.
    It’s a fairly easy process but you need warm temperatures (product says 70-85 is best), and a liberal amount of the stripper for it to work correctly. I noticed it seemed to work best in direct sunlight as well.

    Stuff you’ll need-

    -Jasco paint and epoxy remover $30 Home Depot or Lowe’s (get the big can, you’ll need it)
    -2 or 3 of the cheapest paint brushes you can get
    -plastic paint a scraper (buy several and sharpen the edge before each piece with a grinder or file)
    -brass brush (used to clean up angles and welded areas)
    -something metal to pour the stripper in (I used a metal paint roller pan)
    -heavy duty chemical gloves (this stripper, like most, is nasty )
    -wear a pair of safety goggles or glasses, a long sleeve shirt and jeans

    All in I spent around $45 in materials

    The process-

    Set your tower pieces out, preferably outdoors or at a minimum a very well ventilated area.
    Pour a bunch of the stripper in your pan and start brushing thick layers of it onto the tower pieces. More like globbing it on then painting. The more the better. The idea is to do one side of the piece at a time. I just coated all the pieces on one side then checked to see how it was working. It takes a good 15-30 minutes for it to really work. You’ll see it bubbling up and turning into a rubbery consistency. If some places aren’t raising up, glob some more stripper on it and give it another 10 minutes or so. After coating everything and giving it 10 more minutes I started scraping the first piece. You can use your hand to scrape off a bunch of the really lose stuff then the plastic scraper and brush for the rest. I was bending the scraper so it contacted more of the tower taking long strips of the powder off at a time.
    I was also told a good, easy way to get the loose stuff off is by using a power washer after it bubbles up although I didn’t try that method (no power washer).
    The stripper is water soluble so it can be cleaned off of the tower, brushes, pans, etc... with water pretty easily.
    All in all it’s a mind numbingly easy project but is a bit labor intensive. I suspect if I just used more of the stripper and gave it adequate time to work it would be easier. (Work smarter not harder)
    I’m in Denver so for a winter project it’s been tough to come by days that are warm enough for the chemical to work well.

    Hope this helps someone else!
    Cheers

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    Last edited by Jetdriver; 03-03-2018 at 05:33 PM.

  2. #2
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    Mar 2017
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    Alexandria Bay, NY
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    RZ4
    I commend you! I run a powder coating and plating shop and this is generally a long terrible process if original powder was done right. And if anyone else is in this situation do not try burning off the powder unless the parts are steel. I am curious how long this took? On similar sized projects we have had 10-12 hours in the stripping process as sometimes you have to coat and scrape 6 or 8 times depending on the original paint. I would always advise trying this first though because with some paints one or two coats will remove everything. Just whatever anyone does, NEVER attempt to spray paint over something, it makes removing the paint much more difficult. And while it is possible to powder coat over powder if it is sanded this is definatelg the best route. From a quality perspective, the way you did this will yield the best result. The other option is the sandblasting, which can make the surface very rough, especially if the blaster is too agressive. In the past I have powdered, cured, sanded the powder down, and did a second coat of powder in order to get the smoothness back on sand blasted work. If you have any other questions feel free to reach out.

    Also if anyone has any powder, wet paint, or anodize questions on here I would be glad to help. We do not do any chrome, so I cannot really add much with questions on that. The websites for our plating/paint companies is below if anyone is interested.

    www.tcmfcorp.com
    www.chthompson.com

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Boise, ID
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    Thanks for the write up Jetdriver. Super informative and well written. Are you going to have it PC a new color??
    Also, as I've never had to try and remove PC from anything, can it be wire wheeled off or is really that hard/durable that wire wheel won't cut it??

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Denver, CO
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    2007 22ve
    Trevor-good to hear I made the right decision about sandblasting. It was too expensive anyhow. I figure if I’ve got the time why not save that money. Thats how I justify buying other toys! I’ve probably got about 5-6 hours into it, almost done. Probably another couple hours today to finish it. I should add that I’m putting a bunch of the stripper on it to get the results I am, literally globbing it on. I’m not sure how thick of a coat you mean when you’re saying 6-8 coats.



    Freeheel-thanks man! I’m leaning towards coating it in the same color gray as the back of my boat. That or black, still haven't decided.
    I’m not sure about a wire wheel, the PC is pretty durable stuff and I’d worry that the abrasivness of the wire wheel would chew up my aluminum. Maybe worth a shot if your tower is steel though.
    Last edited by Jetdriver; 03-03-2018 at 05:40 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    2007 22ve
    Victory! Not a fun project, especially when you have back issues like myself but I’m now half way to a new surf board in money saved so I have that going for me, which is nice...

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by freeheel4life View Post
    Thanks for the write up Jetdriver. Super informative and well written. Are you going to have it PC a new color??
    Also, as I've never had to try and remove PC from anything, can it be wire wheeled off or is really that hard/durable that wire wheel won't cut it??
    It really is durable. You can get it off but not cleanly. During testing of powder coat you use a tool that creates multiple cuts down to bare metal, and put in a humid salt environment to see how it holds up.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    Boise, ID
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    Thanks for the info Trevor. So I've always heard different claims about the Alpha Z. Since yall know more about this, is it actually powder coated or was it painted??
    While I'm throwing out questions about PC, is a hammer finish harder to remove than a paint finish?? Can you strip hammer the same way??

  8. #8
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    2005 22v
    Is it possible to polish an aluminum tower after you remove the powder coat? Is so, what’s involved? How much to have a shop do it?


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  9. #9
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    Definitely possible, there are a bunch of vids on you tube about polishing all kinds of metals. Not a whole lot to it, basically using increasingly fine sand paper to prep the surface, 320 or 400 grit to start depending on the roughness of the surface then 600 and finishing with 800 then using a variable speed 3-6000rpm buffer/polisher with buffing pad and metal polish to get that fine shine. Definitely some technique to it but it’s a pretty easy DIY in my opinion but Ive used sanders and polishers a bunch. It’s definitely a lot easier than stripping the powdercoat! I’m not sure what a shop would charge but I’d bet it’d be around $3-400.

  10. #10
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    Tige went to Auto Paint on the Alpha Z a while back. Im not specific of the year but I think it was before 2013.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by elevatedconcept View Post
    Tige went to Auto Paint on the Alpha Z a while back. Im not specific of the year but I think it was before 2013.
    Thanks Jason.

  12. #12
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    2011 Alpha Z was powder coat, so 2013 is probably about right

  13. #13
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    I also want to commend you on the paint stripping job, looks like a lot of work but looks good. It would be something I'd try to save a buck.

  14. #14
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    2007 22ve
    One side note to add for anyone thinking of tackling this kind of project. The sprayer at the powder coat shop told me that roughing up the aluminum with some 60 grit sandpaper would promote the powder coat to bond to the tower better. I’m trying to make it last as long as possible so I decided to do that. I previously had used some 220 to go over the tower to remove imperfections and inconsistencies so it was pretty smooth, oops.
    The owner, who I talked to briefly, tried to sell me on paying them $180 to sand blast it to texture the metal slightly. I laughed, then took the pieces of my tower home and sanded them in less than 30 minutes and brought them back to drop off. (except the biggest piece which I originally brought over on my trailer. I left it there and sanded it when I came back with the other pieces) I’d sand everything at their shop at $360 an hour!

    BTW, I decided to go black with the tower as I just couldn’t find a gray that I felt matched up enough. I also had my wakesurf rack coated along with my Bimini clamps. Pics coming when I get it back together!
    Last edited by Jetdriver; 04-14-2018 at 07:43 AM.

  15. #15
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    2007 22ve
    Got the tower back on my boat and started the process of hanging all the lights and speakers again. Took this pic the other day when I was installing my new FAE trim tab mounts. I think it came out pretty nice and only cost me about $350 and some elbow work all said and done.

    Before
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    After
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    Pic of the FAE taps plate mount because I know you guys love pics
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