The stripping and cleaning process isn’t always part of the body work process, but there are several ways for a project to be stripped and prepped for body work.
A lot of projects coming into the body work process are already in bare metal, with any fabrication work already completed. Some projects don’t require any fabrication work, but still need to be stripped. There are several ways to strip old paint off.
Mechanically stripping the old paint, whether it’s with something like a 3” roll disc, a d/a sander, or any similar type of sander or light grinder. Sometimes, this method can be the most fitting. An example would be if the jambs and engine bay are not getting re surfaced, it might make the most sense to bring the outside back to bare metal with this method.
Media blasting is another method of stripping old paint and body work off. For projects that are being completely stripped, this is often the best method. The drawbacks are there is a chance of distorting the metal either with the air pressure from the blaster, or the heat created by the media against the metal.
Chemical stripping is another method used. It’s not often chemical stripping is the better method. While the metal is stripped of everything, it is not a clean surface, there is still quite a bit of prep to do. The other major drawback of chemical dipping is that absolutely everything is stripped, including inside of flanges and hemmed edges, etc. Not only are these areas bare metal, there’s a chance of the acid not being neutralized enough, and causing paint problems down the road.
A normal practice would be to media blast the entire project at the beginning, and if the metal work required is minimal, it would make sense to get everything into epoxy right away. If there is a lot of fabrication work to do, the project would go into the fabrication stage while in bare metal. Upon the fabrication being complete, the project would once agains be median blasted prior to body work. By media blasting it again, everything will be cleaned once again, especially any areas that are welded. It is very important to be sure welds are completely clean before any primer or body work goes on top of them.