Removing old paint from Styrene

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by Lord_Gita, Mar 30, 2006.

  1. Lord_Gita

    Lord_Gita Sr Member

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    I recently purchased a styrene FX helmet for my desk at work, not sure what it's origins as I was expecting ABS, but when it got here it was not in a condition I was satisfied with. It had torn stickers, loose mic tips and a frown painted about 1/4 of an inch above and below where the frown ends. I'm a bit picky about my frowns. It was painted with what looked like Krylon gloss grey, the masking line was very jagged, and the teeth were trimmed unevenly and not fully...

    So, I had no idea how old the frown paint was and needed a way to remove that old paint without damaging very thin styrene. I did a google search for styrene and strip paint and what came up was several sites suggesting brake fluid. I had some in the garage so I dug out an old toothbrush and tried it. Initially it did nothing so I scraped it up a bit, let the brake fluid absorb for a minute and the paint came off like it had never even cured. After a few swiped of the toothbrush I brought it in, washed it with soap and, voila, perfectly bare frown. A little bit of knife carving and vinyl decal application and I am happy as a clam in non-boiling sea water.

    So, if you have old paint you need to strip but can't use harsh chemicals, try brake fluid. Make sure you wash it off with soap after as I read it can still melt, it just takes longer.

    Now, a question... This styrene helmet was assembled with hot glue. My first action was to disassemble it entirely to re-measure, trim, strip, and re-decal. I prefer not use hot glue if I can avoid it. In Florida it's just not a good choice... So, since this is my first endevour of this sort with Styrene, can I use ABS glue to reassemble without significantly distorting this styrene or is their a better bonding agent you'd recommend?

    Darryl

    Edit: Spelling and grammar.
     
  2. Zaphod

    Zaphod Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the tip.
     
  3. Scapey

    Scapey Sr Member

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    Any time I've been working with styrene, I've used "Plastic weld" - Not sure if it's the same stuff, but this has the consistency of water, and is applied with a brush. It melts the plastic slightly, and forms a very strong bond, with no thick glue showing anywhere.
     
  4. SethB6025

    SethB6025 Well-Known Member

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    Some ABS cements can melt HIPS, just make sure that styrene is listed on the package. Liquid Nails "Projects Clear" is a safe bet for most materials, and has a nice hold.
     
  5. Treadwell

    Treadwell Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Good tip.

    Ew, you're actually using those vinyl decals for the frown? Paint, baby. :)
     
  6. Lord_Gita

    Lord_Gita Sr Member

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    Nope, not an accuracy buff, I'd prefer it to look sharp than be accurate. :)

    You can all dog pile if you like.
     
  7. Treadwell

    Treadwell Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Woof woof.
     
  8. James Kenobi 1138

    James Kenobi 1138 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That plastic weld works great, I used it on my Trooper helmet and it was amazing.

    Also, you can use spray on oven cleaner to remove paint, but be sure to do it outdoors.
     

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