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Old 11-21-2003, 01:01 PM   #1
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Media Blasting Exterior

Anyone have experience with media (plastic beads) blasting of Airstreams? I've had aluminum cars done, but they were immediately primed and painted. Could you clearcoat the result and have it stick?
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Old 11-21-2003, 05:58 PM   #2
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1966 26' Overlander
Woodstock , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2002
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I have seen a thread or two here about this, but I only found one so far---might check their comments;

Bead vs chemical stripping
1966 overlander..sold
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Old 11-22-2003, 08:12 AM   #3
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1981 28' Airstream 280
Pierre , South Dakota
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Posts: 64
As a practicing student in the art of aluminum work, there are several cautions that must be considered. Aluminum is a soft material, and often is claded, which is a sandwiching of pure aluminim sheet over the alloy sheet, providing corrosion protection. Blasting away with sand, silica, glass, plastic beading may remove the cladding material that is used on our machines. I've removed lots of paint off of aircraft skins with a fine grade of walnut media, and a low air pressure blasting pot. The walnut media is completely bio degradable, and most times wont even pull off the alodine chemical coating that is applied prior to priming most paints. It will leave a soft matte finish if the pressure is too high, and too high starts at 60 or 70 psi. Typical blasting pressures start at 100. I haven't tried baking soda or cornstarch blasting, but the airlines are using both with decent results.

Chemical strippers: I stay away from them like the plague. The chem strip is a great product, used for many many years, but is being completely replaced by media blasting and strobe "flash" paint removal techniques... now there's a cool Buck Rogers trick. High energy strobe pulses of light beating the paint away. The chemstrip works its way into the seams, and will eventually begin corroding the metal, and obliterating the sealing tape that is used at the seams.

So much more to cover on the subject, but that's an overview. Let me know how things go~
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Old 11-23-2003, 05:47 PM   #4
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So, aircraftwise, stripping the coach with soda or plastic looks feasible. Then what? Can I roll on over to a paint shop and get the whole thing clearcoated after lunch? Do you ever clearcoat aluminum airplanes, or are they all fancy primer and paint? Isn't the reason the clearcoat falls off the Airstreams because there's no "texture" to bite onto? Will the soda blasting solve that?

But here's the big question: A bare '92 coach gets repainted how?
All silver? Blue stripe? Probably no woodgrain. The '90-era silver, grey, maroon and black looks fussy and complicated to me. The '95-'96 swoosh stripes? NASA stripes? Oscar Meyer ? I have, I think, one of very few (12 maybe) '92 30' coaches. It's in really excellent shape, everything works, and it cost $117,000 in '92 and has every widget known to man except solar (P.O. took it with) and sat. tracking (ditto.) Am I shooting myself in the foot by doing a "custom" paint scheme? Would you pay the same for a '92 with a blue stripe? Oh yeah, its got plastic rear and basement doors.

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