Buzz is 100% correct about 'blasting' aluminum panels. The key here is 'body panels.'
The same goes for aircraft alum. sheet metal. Blasting hardens the metal, causing it to
lose it's flex and any stresses will eventually crack. However, thick pieces such as
wheels should not present any problems as long you use a finer grit of silca when you
get down to the surface and don't dwell on any one spot. Removing paint is a major
problem with commmercial aircraft and there are a number of new ways to do it, including
blasting the surface with 'dry-ice' pellets. The metal contracts and 'pops' the paint
off with zero toxic chemicals.
A person could contact the local chapter of the EAA, Experimental Aircraft Assc., and
talk to some of the members. They, especially the warbird restoration folks, have a real
good handle on paint removal.
> I always use chemical strippers on aluminum and then after the
> surface is clean I apply Alumiprep, or Aluminum Jelly to etch the surface.
> As soon as I remove the etchant and dry the surface I paint it with zinc
> chromate primer. I don't think you can get zinc chromate primer any longer
> but I think that Rustolem has a clean metal primer that will work OK. Check
> with a paint shop to be sure.
Again, aircraft owners can point you in the right direction as far a priming and
painting aluminum. There is a whole system called 'Stit's Poly Fiber Coatings' which is
now marketed by Alexander Aircraft Company which can supply about anything you need.
One of the harshest places for paint is the pontoons of float equipped aircraft. This
process covers this and may be a good comparison for treating any MV aluminum.
Dave in Flagstaff, AZ.,USA
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