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Stripping & painting AL Tanks

Discussion in 'Tanks, Valves and Bands' started by drake, May 11, 2001.

  1. drake

    drake Guest

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    I have a fairly old aluminum tank that has been quite abused. It has been bounced around while going through the surf just a few too many times.... there is hardly any paint left on it at all. I would really like to refinish it so that it would look all pretty again :) Has anyone ever tried to repaint a scuba tank before? What kind of paint works well? Can it be done with normal spray paint or do I need an air compressor/paint gun? What is the best way to get the old paint off? Should I use some kind of chemical stripper or sand it off or what? Also if I strip off all the paint that means I strip off all of the inspection stickers also. Am I going to have a hard time getting it inspected again?

    Thanks
     
  2. Rick Murchison

    Rick Murchison Trusty Shellback Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Gulf of Mexico
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    Most any aircraft grade aluminum cold stripper is ok for aluminum tanks, but you should query Luxfer (or whoever your tank manufacturer is) for the exact strippers they approve. Painting, on the other hand, is a different matter. Because paint can hide corrosion, it's generally advised that we users don't paint tanks at all - and many facilities won't fill repainted tanks for fear that a paint job has been "baked" on, a process which detempers the metal and makes the tank weak and a potential failure on fill. At the least, many facilities will require a post painting hydrostatic test of the tank before filling it.
    You might want to just keep your beat-up paint job as a sign of your vast experience.
    Rick
     
  3. turnerjd

    turnerjd Divemaster

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Haute Kontz, France
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    IF you do really want to paint it, small cans of car type spray paint work very well.

    An old club I was in had a problem with students leaving tanks allover the place (and then other people collecting 'unwanted' tanks). A few cans of purple and fluorescent yellow paint later no-one could miss our tanks, and remarcably few went missing after that!

    IF you are going to paint it, use a thin coat, just enough to give it the colour, as rick sais, painting can often hide nastyness! (DON'T bake the paint on, and don't spend lots of time preparing the tank)

    Jon T
     
  4. devjr

    devjr Manta Ray

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    I visited a dive shop at a marina in Fort Lauderdale, sorry, don't remember which. For a nominal fee, they would have your old tank stripped to bare metal and clear coated. The redone tank on display looked silvery and brand new.
     
  5. drake

    drake Guest

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    I guess for now I will just keep it like it is until I can find a place to do it professionally. Every time I look at it, it does remind me of the couple hundred happy hours spent bouncing around trying to get through the surf in Majuro. It's too bad my BC's didn't fare as well as my tank :) My next thread will have to be "anyone know of a good way to patch about 500 holes in a BC?" It's too bad I can't take the 3 BC's I have that all leak and make a franken-BC that doesn't leak :)
     
  6. Rick Murchison

    Rick Murchison Trusty Shellback Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Gulf of Mexico
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    HHHhhaarrr!
    Franken BC indeed...
    Send pictures!
    Rick
     
  7. TexasMike

    TexasMike Loggerhead Turtle

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    I am now the proud owner of my first four AL80 tanks (used ones). And my vanity would benefit if I was able to repaint them.

    A search of the board shows that we haven't discussed this yet. Any hints, tips, techniques, types of paints, etc., I should use to accomplish this?

    Was kinda thinking of doing two of them with a really strange custom design (barber pole, woodlands camo, TSDT logo, etc)
     
  8. herman

    herman Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh,North Carolina
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    Mike,

    You may not want to paint them. Some diveshops can get very picky if they see the tank has been repainted. Reason being that if the tanks were repainted and the paint baked on in an oven, there is the possibility that the temper of the AL has been compromised. I am sure you don't intend to bake them but the shop does not know that. Besides, old beat up tanks make you look like an old pro.....That reminds me, got to go beat up on my tanks some more.. By the way, how did the sub dive go, I have not heard..

    Herman
     
  9. Dee

    Dee ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives:
    Location: near Houston, Texas
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    Every nick and ding in that original paint job was hard earned by that tank! Wouldn't you love to hear the stories it could tell?

    Personally, I like the looks of a galvanize or brushed alum. finish. It looks cleaner, you can readily see the condition of the tank and you don't have to keep repainting it to keep it looking good. Just write your name in paint pen, or magic marker around the top of the tank so you can spot it easily at the dive shop.

    And all those cool stickers you like but are advised not to stick on your tank? Put them around your tank boot.
     
  10. DoubleBubbles

    DoubleBubbles Angel Fish

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    I have seen these vinyl sleeves that cover your tank at some local dive shops. They come in a variety of colors, and may be the best route to go. I think they also have some designs available printed on them too.
     

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