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 Uncle Ricky Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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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

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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 Uncle Ricky Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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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

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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

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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.
     
  11. joewr

    joewr ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    something subdued and tasteful? For example, a frog wearing a dive mask and carrying a Texas State Flag? Maybe Artsprite (aka Patty the Swamp Master) can rustle something up for you? ("rustle up" is probably a poor choice of words in your part of the country...).

    Or how about a Texas Longhorn wearing a dive mask? But, maybe the most appropriate would just be a Copenhagen decal...

    Joewr...
     
  12. DoubleBubbles

    DoubleBubbles Angel Fish

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    Now that has to be a sight; watching your dive buddy dip a little Copenhagen then spittin' underwater. I hope they swallow instead.
     
  13. Bob3

    Bob3 Dive Shop

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    First things first.
    Only FINE CUT chewing tobaccos should be used while diving. Leaf types can plug the exhaust valve on your regulator, where fine cuts can be flushed through. :D

    On to the paint.
    Never heat an aluminum tank any warmer than your armpit.
    #1 Remove old paint. Run to your local auto parts store & grab some aircraft stripper. It'll be safe to use on the aluminum. flush, wash and dry after stripping, and hit with a scuff pad. You may just want to leave the tank with that finish, or haul in to someplace for glass bead blasting for a fine bare satin finish.
    If ya HAVE to paint it, immediately after scuffing apply a light coat of zinc chromate primer. Apply a second light coat. It's MUCH better to use multiple coats than to get goobers & runs hanging & have to sand 'em down. (goes for the paint, too).
    For paint, I suggest a plain old high gloss Rustoleum Appliance White; fairly tough but easy to retouch or strip again. Both the primer & paint are available in spray cans.
    If you know how to run a Binks #7, drop me an e-mail for other paint options.

    I'd still go with the bare aluminum like Dee says.
     
  14. TexasMike

    TexasMike Loggerhead Turtle

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    B^cubed:

    Thanks for the info, that is what I was looking for. And I agree with the basic plain satin finish. If I ever purchase new tanks, this is what I planned on getting anyway.

    Joe: No longhorns on my tanks fer me, buster. Remember, I are an Fightin' Texas Aggie and proud of it! I can even count to twenty if I take my dive booties off!

    The reason for the oddball designs is so that I can pick them out of the crowd of tanks and people can pick me out of the crowd of divers underwater.
     
  15. joewr

    joewr ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Geez, Mike,

    You reminded me of the time that I visited my son at Marine OTS in Quantico and I asked on of his roomies about the Longhorns...guess who else was an Aggie?

    So what about a BIG AM (I cannot seem to make the A lie over the M here...gotta talk to LD...) with a dive mask hangin' on the A?

    Joerw...wondering if Mike knows the one about the 6th generation Aggie and the family beer mug...
     
  16. TexasMike

    TexasMike Loggerhead Turtle

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    No (but want to hear it)

    I do have an Aggie Coffee mug (the one with the handle inside of the mug)

    Also, did you hear on the news about the Aggie who was hospitalized after failing to join Osam bin-Laden's terrorist organization? He suffered third degree burns around his mouth and lips when he tried to use the tail pipe to blow up a bus.
     
  17. joewr

    joewr ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    TejasMiguelito,

    The joke I am thinking of was taught to me by the shavetail Marine Lt. whom I "insulted" by asking about the Longhorns...it requires use of the hands...thus, we will have to wait until Barbara and I go on a swamp dive with your gang. Barbara will probably, though, only be a very interested spectator. She thinks 60 ft is poor vis!

    Joewr...wondering why Dee wears those rose-colored lenses...is rose-colored mud prettier...
     
  18. Dee

    Dee ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    'Cause when I started diving and needed RX lenses in my mask, I trusted the dive shop who told me that's what I needed! Now I'm used to them and can't tell the difference. Besides, it DOES provide another color other than green ;)
     
  19. joewr

    joewr ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I like my explanation better!

    Joewr...ah, the romance of rose-colored mud...my old san anton rose colored mud...
     
  20. blacknet

    blacknet Loggerhead Turtle

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    Hello,

    The *ONLY* way I would paint any scuba tank is for decoration purpose only. It's expensive to do it correctly, it's time consuming, some shops will get all anal and drill you 20 billion questions and then end up hating you when you slam the manufactures manual on the tank onto the counter and tell them you followed every guideline/rule/regulation.

    Personaly, if any shop gives me grief about filling my tanks then that's not a shop i'll revisit.

    custom painted tanks will take damage from various areas and it's impossible for you to prevent it (unless it's for decor) and they always wind up looking like trash.

    Ed
     

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