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  1. #1
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    Stripping clear coat and paint off of a Carbon Fiber frame?

    I've done some searching and cant seem to find the answer I'm looking for, so here goes.

    I have a 2006 Raleigh Competition frame that is a combination of CF tubes and aluminum lugs/seat post. Raleigh's frames have been infamous for developing cracks at the joint between the CF tubes and the aluminum lugs, and my frame has developed these same hairline cracks after 5000 miles of use. I've been told that these cracks are in the filler that they used, not in the actual joint, and based on how my bike rides I have no reason to doubt that advice.

    I have no reason to just throw it away and buy a new frame, so I'm exploring the idea of repainting it or stripping the paint and polishing the aluminum bits. I have plenty of experience painting, so I'm not going down that path with my question. However, I am curious of the best way to remove the paint in the case of this frame. The CF tubes are clear coated, but the orange paint that covers the lugs and seatpost overlap the CF tubes by at least a couple of inches. In other words, I'll need to strip paint and clearcoat off of the CF tubes. Having never done this, I'm concerned about the impact of chemical strippers on the CF tubes, but I'm also concerned that only relying on abrasive removal of the paint (ie sandpaper) may go too deep and cause just as much of an issue.

    Any thoughts out there?

    Thanks,

    Dion

  2. #2
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Methylene chloride is often the main active ingredient in paint strippers and is known to attack epoxy, which of course is a major constituent of carbon composites. I'd be reluctant to use in on CF frames. Applying it for a short time might be OK, but it's be difficult to know what it's done to structural integrity of the CF. IMO, careful sanding would be lower risk.

    If the paint is lacquer, enamel or some other non-catalyzed/polymerized or two-component paint (not likely), then solvents such as lacquer thinner may work.
    Last edited by Looigi; 10-26-12 at 07:13 AM.

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I'd think you just wet-sand the surface for prep, and add another layer of paint..

    maybe take the needed time to hand sand off the paint on the metal parts..

    But why not send it to a professional bike-frame painter..
    they may mask off the CF tubes, with a rubber tape and media blast the metal parts.
    then prep the whole thing for clear coat..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-26-12 at 10:35 AM.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    I like to work on my own stuff. Call it a sickness, but taking on the challenge of doing something like this is more fun than writing someone else a check to do it for me.

    Repainting the bike is easy. I wouldn't have even asked the question if that were the case. I've painted everything from collector cars to airplanes before, so I have lots of experience with that end of the deal. In this case, I want to transform it by stripping all of the paint and joint filler off of the frame, polishing the aluminum bits, and re-clear coating it. I've stripped everything BUT carbon fiber before, hence the question.

    I'll probably just resort to good old sandpaper and a lot of careful patience.

  5. #5
    Nobody Special Rekless1's Avatar
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    You can get Klean Strip and other strippers in a Fiberglass formulation that works fine on the CF (car parts) I've stripped and painted. I'd suspect even 'bumper' stripper and the like for rubber and plastic car parts would be even more gentle.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rekless1 View Post
    You can get Klean Strip and other strippers in a Fiberglass formulation that works fine on the CF (car parts) I've stripped and painted. I'd suspect even 'bumper' stripper and the like for rubber and plastic car parts would be even more gentle.
    Good idea.

    This is also informative:
    http://forum.slowtwitch.com/gforum.cgi?post=3906814;

  7. #7
    Nobody Special Rekless1's Avatar
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    I've heard a bit about Carbo-Lift but never got my hands on any myself. Seems like a the typical 'generic' non tox water based strippers out there. Probably work ok, probably take forever too.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    FWIW, Klean Strip for fiberglass contains methylene chloride. Says, "Stripper left on a fiberglass surface for an extended period of time can cause damage."

  9. #9
    Nobody Special Rekless1's Avatar
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    Stripper left on anyrhing for an extended period of time will cause damage.


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