Monday, October 15, 2007

How to remove paint and chrome from a model.

How to remove chrome from plated parts? How to remove paint from your models?

The chrome plating on model parts is very fragile, and most hobby paints are not much tougher. There are hobby specific paint removers available at different hobby shops, Easy-Lift-Off made by Polly S has been recommended, but many household cleaners will also remove paint and/or chrome. Take a plastic container with a lid and soak or scrub the part or complete model in/with one of the following, listed in roughly increasing order of chemical nastiness:

Castrol Super Clean (hand cleaner ? - buy at auto stores),
Fantastic, Formula 409, Pinesol (not lemon scented),
Chlorine bleach (works good on chrome, maybe not paint),
using a toothbrush to scrub with Comet cleanser (for chrome, not paint),
EZ-Off oven cleaner,
common dot3 brake fluid (more toxic - not good to wash down the drain -but good for long dry paint).

By the way, you can try another method. You can very carefully reverse plate the chrome off, using an acid pickle. You should be able to remove the chrome layer down to the nickel underneath without harming the plastic.
It's unlikely that a bit of acid on the plastic will harm it anyway....after all the acid probably came in a plastic container, right?
You can also buff it off.

The time to soak varies with harshness of the chemical, from a few minutes to a some days. Chrome plating would just disappear, you will likely have to scrub the paint off with an old toothbrush, especially from the nooks and crannies. Many cleaners are reported to etch or
embrittle plastic, so keep the exposure brief and flush with water afterwards. A downside to the harsher, faster acting chemicals is that they tend to remove putty as well.

One thing you shouldn't to use is standard methyl-ethyl ketone based paint removers - this stuff will disolve styrene very quickly. Lemon scented Pinesol has also been reported to soften plastic.

Finally, the nastier of these cleaners - especially the EZ-Off and bleach - can cause burns to the skin, eyes and nose, and who knows what else. Use common sense and lots of ventilation (common sense includes wearing safety goggles, rubber gloves, and a respirator when using this sort of stuff).

I have already wrote about paint removal in my prevoius posts, so you can read this: