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How to Remove Rust, Paint & Coating the Easy Way

Rust & coating removal doesn't have to be a pain, with the right products.

Do you have a project or process that requires some surface prep before welding or surface finishing? In this article we will take a look at some ways to mechanically remove paint, rust or other protective coatings in preparation of the surface for welding, restoration or further processing and fabrication.


Should I Use Chemicals to Strip Material?

At first most people would probably look at chemical stripping for various coatings. However there are some obvious drawbacks to chemical stripping, the biggest being safety and all the PPE that goes around using certain commercial or industrial types of chemical strippers. Furthermore chemical stripping is not a convenient nor viable option for things just as weld prep for repair or final fabrication. The following are some options to look at for various situations where a coating needs to be removed before welding or some other type of fabrication within the process.


Non-Chemical Solutions


Scotch-Brite XT discs 

Utilizing 3M's Scotch-Brite non-woven technology, which is well known in the industry for surface-conditioning and cleaning operations, is used in these Clean & Strip discs. Some of the same benefits come along to with this product. Clean & Strip XT disc are a hard yet flexible product that can conform to irregular surfaces. They feature Premium Aluminum Oxide or Silicon-Carbide (depending on exact product) for fast cut and long life. The specific design allows fast coating or rust removal without changing the surface dimension or gouging the surface.  With various forms available from discs, wheels and cross-buff styles there is usually a Scotch-Brite Clean & Strip product for your surface prep operation.  These should be your first go-to product for any coating removal and prep that doesn't involve actually modification of the weld or surface. 


Flap discs 

Another popular choice is the flap disc.  Flap discs come in different sizes and consist of layers of abrasive coated paper or cloth that are embedded into a ridged fiberglass (typical) disc backing with a center hole or hub for tool attachment. Flap discs are available in various grit grades typically in the range of 36 to 120 grit. They are a good choice when the coating is light and some surface modification or weld leveling will need to occur. The down side is more finishing, using a other products, is typically needed after the use of a flap disc. That said, a flap disc and sometimes be a perfect fit when coating/rust removal and grinding is needed to begin finishing the park 


Bonded wheels 

Bonded wheels are often not the best choice for coating removal as they tend to load up with the actual coating being removed, however rust removal they are great, but at a cost of gouging or modifying the dimensions of the part. Again if weld leveling and specifically rust removal is the goal, a bonded wheel makes the most sense. 


 Fibre discs 

Much like bonded wheels, fibre discs are focused more towards surface modification such as grinding. The benefit with a fibre disc is they can come in grades from 36-120 grit and can be paired with varying degrees of flexible face plates or backing pads. This allows for some conform-ability and a more refined operation. They still have the same downside of potential for clogging when removing coatings. 

Taking into some of the parameters related to the finished good or part, will help in determining the right product to choose for the specific situation. 


Have More Questions? 

Contact us if you are having trouble deciding which product is right for you!  

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