I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

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Sockmonkey
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I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by Sockmonkey » Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:24 pm

I bought an AL40 recently. It was cheap, used, and yellow. I had no real reason to strip off the paint other than peer pressure and being a cool kid. Here are some things I learned about taking the paint of a luxfer aluminum tank:

  1. Do not bother with earth friendly paint stripper. I purchased some biodegradable, low odor, comes in a green bottle, non toxic paint stripper. After many applications it didn't even make a dent. I caved and bought a small can of ace hardware brand methylene chloride based stripper. I couldn't find the recommended low odor aircraft Kleen-Strip (also methylene chloride stuff)
  2. Thicker is better. The viscus type gel strippers stay on more easily.
  3. Thicker is better. Laying on a very thick layer of paint stripper seems to be more effective. Having clean fresh goop from the can that hasn't touched paint also helps.
  4. Don't use a foam brush. That's what I had laying around. I thought I could get a couple coats out of it before it melted away. I went out (again) and purchased a cheap wooden chip brush.
  5. Be patient and wait for blistering. The can told me to wait 15 minutes and scrape blistered paint. I waited 15 minutes but not all areas were blistered. If I had waited longer I would have had an easier time.
  6. Horizontal surfaces are more betterer. I started applying the goop to the tank standing up. Laying it down and reapplying seemed to foster better blistering.
  7. Buy a plastic putty knife. Using a metal putty or spackle knife will cause you to try and take stubborn paint off. The plastic one only takes paint that is ready to come away from the aluminium.
  8. Don't remove your gloves until you're done. That stuff is caustic! Deal with the sweaty pruned hands for the duration of the stripping and throw away your chemical resistant gloves when you're done.
  9. Buy a few wire brushes. A small toothbrush sized one works for the tank marking stamps. A more course stainless brush helps with the rest of the tank that won't scrape up.
  10. Go slowly with the wire brush. Make small slow circles with either wire brush as not to spatter painty scary skin burning goop everywhere.
  11. The sun helps. The side of the tank facing the sun seemed to blister faster.
  12. Don't forget the paint thinner. Turps will help with the cleanup.
  13. Wear a fume mask. An easy high otherwise.
  14. Make provisions for a new VIP sticker. Know anyone who is a certified tech? I do. But I also managed to peel the old sticker off the yellow paint and re-applied it. Yay now I have an extra sticker just in case.
  15. Budget 2X more time than you think it'll take. I thought I'd be at it for an hour. It took me two once I got the right paint stripper.

Does anyone have any different advice on rigging a stage bottle besides this page? Or rather... anything to add? I followed the instructions and it seems fine, but I was wondering if their process could be improved upon.

Thanks,

-Eric
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BDub
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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by BDub » Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:56 pm

Having stripped 8 bottom stages and 4 deco bottles since January, I feel your pain. Zip Strip is the best stripper I've found so far. The yellow epoxy paint is the worst. The metallic blue, black, red, etc is 10x easier. The yellow typically takes 3 passes for me.

The easiest thing I've found is to rough up the paint with Scotch Brite, then spray on the Zip Strip, let it blister, scrape, rinse (the water neutralizes it, so rinsing is very important). Repeat the Zip Strip until almost all of the paint is gone. Then go over it with a medium grit emery cloth, then a fine grit.

Last, finish with 400 or 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper (wet).

As fas as rigging goes, try this

More importantly, this
http://www.frogkickdiving.com/

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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by Sounder » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:32 pm

I've got a can of zip strip that I'm planning to use on a yellow deco bottle I've got. It's brand new so I'm wondering whether I should use it for a while and then strip it or whether I should just strip it new and use it bald from the start?

Also, I've found that this can take the paint off cars so I imagine it works especially well on deco bottles.
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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by sheahanmcculla » Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:12 am

I want to be a stripper too! How about on steel? I have a bad case of rust on one of my steel tanks. Strip it or just fix the spots? I plan on doing this to my Aluminum tanks, but just not sure on the steel.

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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by LCF » Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:32 am

Brian, that's a BEAUTIFUL page you've done on stage rigging! Very clear with great photos, and I wish I'd known about it before I tried putting my first ones together.
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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by Geek » Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:35 am

This might be a really stupid question :binkybaby: but can't you just use a wire wheel on a right angle grinder to take rust off steel tanks? Use some cold galv spray and it should keep the rust off although not as well as getting it dipped again? and if you get the right wire wheel and have a steady hand I have used them to strip paint off aluminum before also, not preasure cylinders though, would that weaken the wall? I have use them to make some pretty cool patterns on sheats before welding so I was just wondering..

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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by Sockmonkey » Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:19 am

BDub wrote:Having stripped 8 bottom stages and 4 deco bottles since January, I feel your pain. Zip Strip is the best stripper I've found so far. The yellow epoxy paint is the worst. The metallic blue, black, red, etc is 10x easier. The yellow typically takes 3 passes for me.


Yeah whoever decided to put that yellow paint on a scuba tank is a real A-clown.

BDub wrote:As fas as rigging goes, try this


Perfecto! Exactly the types of refinements I was looking for. So where did you get the elastic bands? Did your fabric magician better half make them or can you buy them somewhere online? (PS I'm still using the spank-o-matic tail pouch she made for me... it rules)

-Eric
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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by BDub » Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:44 am

Sockmonkey wrote:
BDub wrote:Having stripped 8 bottom stages and 4 deco bottles since January, I feel your pain. Zip Strip is the best stripper I've found so far. The yellow epoxy paint is the worst. The metallic blue, black, red, etc is 10x easier. The yellow typically takes 3 passes for me.


Yeah whoever decided to put that yellow paint on a scuba tank is a real A-clown.

BDub wrote:As fas as rigging goes, try this


Perfecto! Exactly the types of refinements I was looking for. So where did you get the elastic bands? Did your fabric magician better half make them or can you buy them somewhere online? (PS I'm still using the spank-o-matic tail pouch she made for me... it rules)

-Eric


I think they're Dive-Rite. I bought them from NWSD. However, any more we just use motorcycle inner tube.
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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by babs13 » Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:38 am

Stupid question...but why strip the bottles? Can it not be rigged with paint on it? or is it an aesthetic thing?
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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by Tom Nic » Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:43 am

Sockmonkey wrote:I bought an AL40 recently. It was cheap, used, and yellow. I had no real reason to strip off the paint other than peer pressure and being a cool kid.
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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by BDub » Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:48 am

babs13 wrote:Stupid question...but why strip the bottles? Can it not be rigged with paint on it? or is it an aesthetic thing?


Aesthetics, basically. I had a couple of bottles that were just plastered with VIP stickers, etc. They'd been on there for years, and were really hard to get off. Since they were going to be used for deco bottles, and I typically only have my MOD on my deco bottles, stripping them seemed like the easiest thing to do.

When I was done, they looked really cool, so I did more. Then they looked really cool. So I did more. I was finally able to get it under control though (well, sorta....after I had stripped them all)
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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by Aquanautchuck » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:30 pm

I have been stripping my tanks for years, including all stickers which can be the worst culprit. I remember a mfg sticker coming loose one time and when I removed it I found the steel galvanized tank rusted and pitted. Luckily it did pass hydro and VIP. All my tanks now are Naked with a automotive clear coat on them. I can see if any problems develop before it gets bad.

Usually I use Zip Strip but have also had good luck with the Citrus Strip Orange stripper. I strip the tanks on their side. I make a foil tub that covers 70% of the tank so any stripper that runs off is not wasted. I let each coat sit overnight and then scrape.
Last edited by Aquanautchuck on Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by CaptnJack » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:31 pm

Aquanautchuck wrote: I make a foil tub s that covers 70% of the tank so any stripper that runs off is not wasted. I let each coat sit overnight and then scrape.


Excellent idea! I have had probelms with the stripper drying out too fast. Partly wrapping up the tank would give the goo more time to work before evaporating.
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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by Aquanautchuck » Mon Jul 20, 2009 3:06 pm

Just call me cheap. That stripper is expensive and with 4 tanks to do one year it would of taken about a gallon if I had not thought of it.
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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by Johnbhutch » Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:49 pm

Just be carful if you strip steel tanks. Some of the strippers that are for aircraft can cause hydrogen embritelment in steel not a good thing.

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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by HydroGirl » Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:10 am

Be careful striping aluminum cylinders, some of the commercially available strippers can change the metal and weaken the cylinders.
Also, DOT (CFR 49) doesn’t allow for any removal of metal on cylinders (sanding, wire brushing etc.)
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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by sheahanmcculla » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:28 pm

Johnbhutch wrote:Just be carful if you strip steel tanks. Some of the strippers that are for aircraft can cause hydrogen embritelment in steel not a good thing.



HydroGirl wrote:Be careful striping aluminum cylinders, some of the commercially available strippers can change the metal and weaken the cylinders.
Also, DOT (CFR 49) doesn’t allow for any removal of metal on cylinders (sanding, wire brushing etc.)


Can either of you expand on this? Which stripper is ok for aluminum and steel?

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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by BDub » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:29 pm

Not sure about steel, Sheahan, but Zip-Strip is fine (and works great) for aluminum
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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by sheahanmcculla » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:50 pm

I had some Klean Strip spray on stuff. I sprayed on a small patch on a steel 72 waited and it came off great with a putty knife. Then I rubbed it down with 000 steel wool. Looked good. But I read this and am concerned about the "hydrogen embitterment"

I just got a al40 new, and yes it's bright yellow. I would like to strip it too, sounds like the Klean strip will work just fine for that. Thanks Bdub.

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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by airsix » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:59 pm

Along the lines of what Chuck was saying, another thing that is common in aviation and automotive stripping is to lay cellophane over the area where you have applied stripper to prevent it from evaporating too quickly. (Note: some strippers might react with cellophane so test first)

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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by sheahanmcculla » Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:50 pm

Ok so I stripped some tanks this weekend. What do i do to make them shine? They are steel 72's

Before:
IMG_0604.JPG
Before


Sprayed on stripper:
IMG_0608.JPG
Sprayed on the stripper


Stripped:
IMG_0610.JPG
Scraped off


Now what?
IMG_0611.JPG
Now what?

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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by Dashrynn » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:12 pm

airsix wrote:Along the lines of what Chuck was saying, another thing that is common in aviation and automotive stripping is to lay cellophane over the area where you have applied stripper to prevent it from evaporating too quickly. (Note: some strippers might react with cellophane so test first)

-Ben


never done that with our stripper, just tape it off with foil tape and then pour that stuff on....but our stuff bubbles the paint up.

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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by CaptnJack » Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:19 pm

sheahanmcculla wrote:Ok so I stripped some tanks this weekend. What do i do to make them shine? They are steel 72's

Before:
IMG_0604.JPG


Sprayed on stripper:
IMG_0608.JPG


Stripped:
IMG_0610.JPG


Now what?
IMG_0611.JPG


To really do them right get them hot dipped galvanized and then rehydroed. That will cost you roughly $80/tank tho - more than they are worth. So try some spray on cold galvanizing instead, its basically paint tho so expect it to scratch.
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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by renoun » Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:17 pm

Is there a blasting media that will take the paint off but is soft enough to leave the remaining galv. finish? Walnuts or glass beads perhaps. That would get you good metal for cold galvanizing spray to work off.
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Re: I'm a stripper (and stage rigging)

Post by CaptnJack » Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:28 pm

Zinc is about as soft as you get, softer than walnut shells I suspect. Any kind of metal removal will demand re-hydro. If I had a shop and an obviously sand (other) blasted tank came in I would refuse to fill or VIP it. Metal removal, even if its been rehydroed, technically violates the DOT spec the tank was made under. The problem with 72s is that to make them nice and "new" costs you alot more in time, sweat, and money than they are worth (financially or gas volumewise). The best choice is to pass up the "free" 72s and actually buy ones that are unlined and with decent galvanizing for ~$35-40 so that you don't have to invest $50+ in "free" ones to make them usable.
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