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Hello all, I've been lurking for a while now but can't find the answer to one query I have! I have some scrap steel plates that are painted and was wondering how you guys go about removing paint before forging? I'm pretty sure they aren't lead based paints ( most likely epoxy based) so not too worried about heavy metals, although I have a respirator if you recommend flap disk for removal, thanks

Robbie

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Have you tried paint stripper? Follow the directions and it'll take the worst of it off. A needle scaler works well for small sections too, if you have access to an air compressor. Wire wheels will work as well though I would STRONGLY recommend a full face shield in addition to your safety glasses for doing that job. That's at the very least.

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It all depends on the shape of the scrap,and how thick the paint is. 

If it is just a thin coat, I would just burn it off.

If it is flat , maybe sand it off if is kind if thick or a really big piece. 

Several thick layers of paint will pop right off with a needle scaler. And a scaler works great on uneven surfaces. I used to use those on the winery equipment I rebuilt in my shop.

In general though I haven't worried about it. The little painted scrap I have just gets tossed in a fire, and I walk away for a few minutes to do something else. 

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depends on the size of the piece and amount of paint. if your not in a hurry a soak in brake fluid could work. paint stripper works but i dont like using it unless really needed. with paint stripper on a larger piece i've found that scuffing the surface with a course grit helps it eat into the surface of the paint. if it's small pieces i've tossed em in the fire and let it burn off, but be careful it's not zinc or chrome plated under the paint. none of the fumes are good tho. Also if you have an air compressor there are affordable "bucket" sand blasting guns out there. just stick the tube in a bucket of media and blast the paint off. There are many methods. i guess it depends on what your working with.

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I'd have to agree with Gunz on this one but it would depend on the thickness of the steel.id lay them OUTSIDE and run a torch over them (thats why i brought up thickness)use a propane torch if they are thinner,let them cool then use a scrapper,wire wheel,flap disk what ever.Or you could toss them in a big bonfire...

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I've taken some stuff to the car wash and used the pressure washer, sometimes it strips paint like pealing a banana. A soft flame from a torch and scraper works on many paint types. Watch for it to start to wrinkle or bubble but stop before it starts smoking, it softens and scrapes right off.

Paint strippers work but they can be specific to types of paint.

If you lived out in the country you could toss it on a brush pile, burn it, move back a ways and have lunch. You have to stay close enough the fire doesn't get away from you but you don't usually have to stand right next to it in the smoke.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Electric hot air guns (like a heavy duty hair dryer) are a good option, they heat the paint rather than burn it, if you are careful, so the risk of fume inhalation is reduced. You should then be able to scrape the hot paint off with a scrapper or wire brush. It may not completely remove it all especially in confined areas, but it does give a good start before using chemical strippers or other methods to finish up.

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Yeah, a heat gun is a good way to remove paint. Around 300f is usually where most paints start to fail. My brain was aimed at the wrong tools. <sigh>

Frosty The Lucky.

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Cheers guys some good options there, I'm reluctant to use paint stripper due to disposal issues of the used chemicals but will see if some heat will help remove it, the plates are 20mm (3/4 inch) thick and don't appear to have any zinc coating under the paint so may resort to just giving them a little longer in the fire!

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epoxy paints will be a tad toxic no matter how you remove them; please don't breath the dust, fumes or smoke!  I'm on the bonfire side myself.

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After reading this thread I now realize i'm probably going to die young and blind. Know what I do with paint? Scuff it with a file for the arc to grab and weld right over the top of it. Sometimes I flap disc or wire wheel it off. If it's a piece i'm gonna forge I just throw it in there when i start the fire. Won't get up to temp for 30 minutes anyway...

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I've used some old heavily leaded heavily painted steel---like old bridge steel/wrought iron.  Of course I'm past the reproductive toxin worry zone; but I still take reasonable precautions chelation is not cheap or fun. 

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On 3/12/2016 at 0:37 AM, Blister Fingers said:

After reading this thread I now realize i'm probably going to die young and blind. Know what I do with paint? Scuff it with a file for the arc to grab and weld right over the top of it. Sometimes I flap disc or wire wheel it off. If it's a piece i'm gonna forge I just throw it in there when i start the fire. Won't get up to temp for 30 minutes anyway...

Buy a supplied air welding helmet, yes helmet and put the pump well upwind. Wear the GOOD respirator masks and use the expensive cartridges. Remember wear goggles, airborne toxins absorb through your eyes. Lungs #1, mouth #2, eyes #3 for substance absorption.

PPE  or don't cry about it.

Frosty The Lucky.

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On 3/12/2016 at 5:37 AM, Blister Fingers said:

After reading this thread I now realize i'm probably going to die young and blind. Know what I do with paint? Scuff it with a file for the arc to grab and weld right over the top of it. Sometimes I flap disc or wire wheel it off. If it's a piece i'm gonna forge I just throw it in there when i start the fire. Won't get up to temp for 30 minutes anyway...

It's not dying young that should scare you so much. Go talk to an older welder who had that attitude and is now laid up in early "retirement" because they can't stop coughing up things that look like they landed here from outer space. It's not pretty and it's not fun. Dying doesn't scare me. Living like a shell of myself does and it's one of the things that can keep me up at night.

Also, thirty minutes to get up to temp? It takes me five to ten minutes, tops, and I use that nasty, hard home heating coal thats tricky to get lit. 

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Yes it's easy to laugh about it when you are young and invincible; having cancer or a stroke at 45 tends to ruin the joke; especially if you have a family to support.  I know smiths who were forging into their 80's and 90's *those* are the people I want to be like! (for example: Isaac Doss Berryville AR  and Emmert Studebaker Tipp City OH)

I introduced a 19 year old to smithing one summer at the SCA's Pennsic War. As part of my standard intro I went over NOT putting galvanized steel in the forge and why tieing it to the welding issues.  Next summer I saw him again and he told me he had welded on some galvanized sheetmetal *outside* and *upwind* of it and spent a week in the hospital from Metal Fume Fever, no health insurance here in the "Land of the Fee" (no not John).... I know a lot of welders who have gotten away with it some many times; but I'd rather gamble for a better payoff myself...

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Depending on how much scrap you have, how much money you have to spend, and what services are available in your area, you might want to see if you can find a shop that does professional stripping in a dip tank or sandblasting to clean them for you. If it's just a few bits, maybe you can get them sneaked into the corner of someone else's larger job in exchange for a pint or a bottle opener.

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