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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've spent a fair bit of time reading online about spray-paint removal, and everyone generally agrees that A: it's a pain in the butt, and B: you should send it to a body shop to have it stripped/repainted. Well, since I'm a cheap-ass college student, I tried a 6 dollar bottle of "all natural citric spray-paint removal" from Home Depot. If people are curious, I can go check the name of the bottle tomorrow; I'm too lazy to get up right now.

Anyway, so the test subject is a Fuji Pulsar - I found it while riding home one day; some person had abandoned it near the town high school, and it had a completely shot front derailleur. The bike was completely covered in matte-black "look i stole this omg i'm cool" spray paint; the only reason why I kept it was b/c the frame size was relatively small (hard to find used frames for short people).

List of liquids that do not remove spray-paint:
Kerosene
WD-40
Brake Cleaner
Pedro's Bike Cleaner
3-M scratch remover
Lighter fluid

I tried all of these liquids, and none of them had any success. I proceeded to try and scuff the paint before I applied the solvents, but that made no progress.

Acetone does work to remove spray-paint without harming the original paint. This may vary from bicycle to bicycle, depending on where it was painted. However, the results aren't very good, and it's very tedious.

The citric spray-paint remover from Home Depot, on the other hand works fairly well, considering the price. Though it's not considered a carcinogen, it has a very strong smell, and any fumes will make you cough. It's as though you're inhaling a whole lot of orange rinds at once. The liquid needs to be sprayed on and left alone for about a minute; any earlier, and you'll be scrubbing hard - any later, and the liquid will just wipe off.
With a fair amount of scrubbing, the spray-paint comes off, with no damage to the original paint.

PS: I realize this is totally disorganized in terms of writing process; it's a bit late for me, and I'm still woozy from the fumes :p. If anyone wants to see pictures, please post in the thread and I'll be sure to grab some tomorrow. The paint-removal process is on-going.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I took some pictures tonight before I started removing more paint. A bit of warning: though the chemicals are bio-degradable and safe for the environment, they still pack a bit of punch. I woke up this morning with a bit of an itchy arm; apparently some of the mist from the solvent landed on my arm the previous night, and I'm suffering from a very mild burn. So, in short: don't drink the stuff/inhale large amounts - it'll suck.

This link should be public, and not require you to sign into flickr. Let me know if it doesn't work.http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/. You should also keep in mind that three days ago this bike was completely covered in black spray paint.
 

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angel of the morning
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dude ... you really gonna waste a lot of time and money. when you aim to strip paint off a bike frame get the super strength highly toxic industrial grade paint strippers. quick and easy and works out a lot cheaper ... you'll be there for days doing it the "eco" way. it's an oxymoron.

plant a tree later on :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The objective of using non-industrial strength stripper is to 1. not accidentally poison myself while 2. keeping the project cost as low as possible. Though jupiterrn is right that there are spots which need to be repainted, the majority of the paint is in pristine condition - one coat of wax, and you'd hardly know the difference. I intend on covering the chain-chips with a bit of primer, then spray-painting a contrasting color in a clean fashion. There are only two major points where the paint has been worn away straight to metal - the fork tabs, and the chain-stay. I'll take some more pictures tonight to show progress.
 

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If that orange stuff you've got will remove dried sticker residue, I gots to get me some.

Thanks for sharing yer info and risking yer lungs!
 

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duh...
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jupiterrn said:
Looks like it will need to be repainted anyway. Get the good stuff at an automotive retailer and strip it all off and start from scratch.


if rattlecanning there's no need to completely strip... let the old paint act as the primer, provided the old paint is not too chipped up. just sand smooth and go
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If you're looking to remove dried sticker residue, I suggest you try a very small bit of 3-M adhesive, wax, and mark remover. If you're wary of dulling the finish, the citric solvent might work...but it's not made for that. I always tend to use the correct product for each situation, in order to get the job done right.
 

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smoothness said:
If you're looking to remove dried sticker residue, I suggest you try a very small bit of 3-M adhesive, wax, and mark remover. If you're wary of dulling the finish, the citric solvent might work...but it's not made for that. I always tend to use the correct product for each situation, in order to get the job done right.


sticker residue? WD40 on a rag, followed by windex or alcohol
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
FatTire,

I'm a car detailer above a bicyclist. Both methods will work - but which method has a lower probability of ruining paint? Food for thought.

Anyway, the objective of this thread is to document how to remove spray-paint without using industrial strength paint thinner, in order to preserve the underlying coat. I realize that it is chipped in a few places, but with an even hand and patience, that can be repaired or sufficiently covered in order to prevent further corrosion. This is a restoration, not a "Let's see how I can spend two hundred bucks painting a bicycle I found for free" project.
 

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duh...
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smoothness said:
FatTire,

I'm a car detailer above a bicyclist. Both methods will work - but which method has a lower probability of ruining paint? Food for thought.

Anyway, the objective of this thread is to document how to remove spray-paint without using industrial strength paint thinner, in order to preserve the underlying coat. I realize that it is chipped in a few places, but with an even hand and patience, that can be repaired or sufficiently covered in order to prevent further corrosion. This is a restoration, not a "Let's see how I can spend two hundred bucks painting a bicycle I found for free" project.


neither will ruin paint. and who is talking about spending $200???
 

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angel of the morning
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smoothness said:
This is a restoration, not a "Let's see how I can spend two hundred bucks painting a bicycle I found for free" project.
It may the first and only sympathetic restoration of a Fuji Pulsar. Call me a snob but a perfunctory glance noticed the cranks had a chainring guard ... i wouldn't have bothered. A DIY bike paintjob can be done for a lot less than $200 ... search the archives. Plenty of good ones both here and the fixie forum.

Yes, it neat you chose to conserve .... but save it for a really nice Fuji. 2 hours of foreplay with a fat wh*re south of the border ain't gonna get you a stunner (or a better price) :p
 
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