Welding painted metal? Not so fast - Part 2
Acetone is a good, and relatively safe solvent that can be used to deal with layers of oil based paint quite quickly. However, it works slower than grinding, but it evaporates quickly and leaves little residue. The problem with this is that Acetone has its own health concerns while applying it and should always be used with protective gloves and a respirator. It is a concern in the environment and clean air standards in some states and may have restrictions on its use, so be aware of your local regulations concerning its use. It isn’t the best though as it requires some “elbow grease” to remove the paint. If you have used acetone, it’s a good idea to use a pressure washer to blast away remaining bits and parts of paint, while remaining any remaining residue. The concern with various paint strippers is the type of residue that is left, and the possible poisonous fumes that can come from the treated metal while it is being welded. Sandblasting is probably the best way to remove paint, but can be difficult to do without considerable equipment. If you aren’t set up for sand or media blasting, there are many businesses that are and will sandblast for you for a small fee. Of course, whenever possible, use unpainted metal, especially in new fabrication projects. If you are caught up in a repair project, it may not be possible to start with new metal stock. So, consider just removing the paint in the immediate area just around the weld, allowing an inch on either side, minimizing the disturbance of the paint.