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Stripping paint from an aluminum frame using a heat gun

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Stripping paint from an aluminum frame using a heat gun

Old 04-27-21, 05:14 AM
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Jeco
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Stripping paint from an aluminum frame using a heat gun

Hi! I have an aluminum frame which I want to strip the paint off of. I won't be repainting the bike, so I want to preserve the bare aluminum finish and not use any abrasives.

I was wondering if it's a good idea to use a heat gun to strip the paint off. If I use the heat gun on its hottest setting, would it damage the frame? The frame is aluminum. Should I grab a can of paint stripper instead?

I've already tried using the heat gun on its lowest setting to strip some of the paint off. It softens the paint just enough so that you scrape it off with a plastic razor blade, but this doesn't always work on all sections of the frame. I may have to crank the heat up

Last edited by Jeco; 04-27-21 at 05:26 AM.
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Old 04-27-21, 05:26 AM
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Use paint stripper. Also - use abrasives to polish, finish it off with automotive wheel polish.
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Old 04-27-21, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Viich View Post
Use paint stripper. Also - use abrasives to polish, finish it off with automotive wheel polish.
Thanks, Viich! Love how your bike looks.

Also, did you use power tools like a buffing machine to polish your bike or did you just do it by hand?
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Old 04-27-21, 05:48 AM
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If it's a welded frame, I wouldn't worry about the heat. An adhesive-bonded frame could be a concern.
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Old 04-27-21, 07:26 AM
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Sounds like a bad idea to me. Manufacturers heat the frames to reduce the stress of uneven heating in assembly, and the temps they use aren't as high as your gun, so the gun is going to undo what they did, building in stresses that don't belong there that you can't remove:
https://www.pinkbike.com/news/To-the...um-Frames.html
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Old 04-27-21, 07:41 AM
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It's far safer for the frame for you to use a chemical stripper. It will not affect metal, just the paint. You can clean it off with a soft cloth. Some types can be rinsed off with water but others might require a final cleaning with paint thinner. Best to do it out-of-doors and wearing protective gloves. Read and follow the instructions on the can and you will be fine.
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Old 04-27-21, 07:44 AM
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Aircraft grade paint stripper, it's made to strip aluminium....
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Old 04-27-21, 08:45 AM
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Look at "old shovel" on YouTube; he uses something that really facilitates the operation.
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Old 04-28-21, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeco View Post
Thanks, Viich! Love how your bike looks.

Also, did you use power tools like a buffing machine to polish your bike or did you just do it by hand?
No power tools. Varying grades of steel wool, down to wheel polish and a rag.
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Old 04-28-21, 09:47 AM
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I would say after the paint is off an aluminum frame, don't do abrasives - if you don't want it polished, just bare, then follow the advice on this Black Mountain Cycles page here as recommended by Charlie Cunningham:
https://blackmtncycles.com/care-for-...luminum-frame/

It works, as even if you don't have any corrosion to worry about, it will prevent it. The Fluid Film smells like a sheep, but it's worth it!


Yeah, I know, mismatched wheels...
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Old 04-30-21, 03:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Charliekeet View Post
I would say after the paint is off an aluminum frame, don't do abrasives - if you don't want it polished, just bare, then follow the advice on this Black Mountain Cycles page here as recommended by Charlie Cunningham:

It works, as even if you don't have any corrosion to worry about, it will prevent it. The Fluid Film smells like a sheep, but it's worth it!


Yeah, I know, mismatched wheels...
Many thanks for the advice, Charliekeet! I was going to use just car wax to protect the aluminum but Fluid film seems to be a much better idea.
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Old 04-30-21, 03:42 AM
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Many thanks for the advice, everyone!

I already stripped the paint off using some generic paint stripper. Compared to using the heat gun, it was a messier job but it worked well and faster too.

I actually bought the heat gun for the sole purpose of stripping the paint. Now, I have to find a use of this hahaha. Remind me not to impulse buy tools
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Old 05-02-21, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeco View Post
Many thanks for the advice, everyone!

I already stripped the paint off using some generic paint stripper. Compared to using the heat gun, it was a messier job but it worked well and faster too.

I actually bought the heat gun for the sole purpose of stripping the paint. Now, I have to find a use of this hahaha. Remind me not to impulse buy tools
If you'd had any decals it would have been very useful for removing them.....

Do we get to see pictures?
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Old 05-02-21, 12:49 PM
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Heat guns are not designed to be used to strip paint, you're using a wrong tool for the job...Use a chemical stripper or have some shop sand blast it for you.
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Old 05-02-21, 04:45 PM
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5 years ago I was trying to clean up my mum's old frying pans. I put a bunch of laundry detergent in the sink and really hot water.
The paint disappeared on the alu pans. LOL. Didn't do a thing for the baked grease.
Later I painted some DIY CF stuff, then changed my mind. Did the same method with soap. Took longer, but it worked out.

Long before that, I had some old cedar fence posts to de-paint. I used a heat gun just fine. There are made for that, actually. Won't work with metal probably.
I have used them to heat up the garage some in the winter too. LOL. And heated up the windshield a few times on super cold mornings.

Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 05-02-21 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 05-03-21, 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Heat guns are not designed to be used to strip paint, you're using a wrong tool for the job...Use a chemical stripper or have some shop sand blast it for you.
Who knew, not Makita, since they supplied my head gun in a box with a variety of paint scraping tools....
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