need help with needle scaler selection


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Old 05-29-11, 06:56 AM
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need help with needle scaler selection

I would like to remove some thickly encrusted layers of paint from a decorative wrought-iron railing. The bar has a sort of ogee face (curvy not flat) and the overall pattern is diamonds. Something like this:



I watched some videos on YouTube of needle scalers removing paint from metal, and they seem to work well. They are available in a very wide price range, going up to $1000 or more. Would one like this one be powerful enough to do the job?
 
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Old 05-29-11, 10:41 AM
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You can get a decent needle scaler for $100 to $150. Harbor Freight has a couple for less than $100 that would probably be fine for just the one job. You do need a fairly husky (read, high CFM output) compressor to run a scaler continuously.

Understand that a needle scaler is for HARD paint and scale. It will NOT work if you have a build-up of relatively soft paint like thick coats of relatively soft enamel. You may want to check around in your area for companies that do furniture stripping or the like in large dip tanks if you have a softer paint coating.
 
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Old 06-01-11, 04:02 PM
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inexpensive needle scaler

Thanks for the tips. I bought a very inexpensive 5CFM needle scaler at Harbor Freight for only $15 (it's about 12" long and resembles a squid--an "inline" model rather than a pistol-grid model) and a 5+ CFM oil-lubricated compressor for $140, which includes a 3-year warranty.

The compressor is up to the task, delivering a constant 90psi to the tool even when I run it for 5 minutes nonstop. The tool also works reasonably well. Still slow going, but a major improvement over other methods. I'm getting down to bare metal even on nooks and crannies.

I may have to buy some other air tools to justify the purchase of the compressor.

BTW, I had questions about the amount of oil required (store clerk told me 30 oz) but the sight glass read very overfull after only 7oz. I was able to reach HF customer service and tech support almost instantly. It takes only 5.6 oz. So I drained a few ounces out and was ready to go.

Overall, I'd give the "first look" experience an "A".

Worst part of the process is the phantom vibration in your hands. Even if wearing thick leather gloves, this is not a tool you want to have in your hands for extended periods. Maybe a more expensive needle scaler would have vibration dampening? EDIT: not to be too lazy, I googled and found that they do:

The Marindus Company Inc. Surface Preparation
 
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Old 06-02-11, 09:19 AM
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Just a tip on using that thing - you can knock the pressure down to 50 psi for delicate work and a lot less vibration. It'll just be a little slower, but you'll have more control and less fatigue.
 
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Old 06-04-11, 09:04 AM
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shoulda had it sand/media blasted. some jobs are not worth saving a few bucks on.
 
 

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