Tag Archives: Fast Etch

  • Buyers Guide: When to Use Rust Encapsulator VS. Rust Converter

    Our tech team answers a lot of technical calls and emails each day and there are a lot of common questions asked and advice given. Many of them are about when and where to use our different coatings and paints. Rust products might be the most confusing as far as when to use them and which one is correct for your rust situation. I decided to put together this quick article to help you decide when you should use Rust Encapsulator vs. Rust Converter.


    Rust Encapsulator

    Rust Encapsulator is one of our oldest and most well known products we sell. We've been an innovator in rust treatments and this product has stood the test of time. Encapsulator is probably the safest and most universal of our rust products as it doesn't much care what it is applied over. Below are some examples of situations where Rust Encapsulator is ideal and where another product may be better.

    Ideal Encapsulator Uses

    1. Surface Rust- Encapsulator will easily go over areas of surface rust and stop the rust from spreading. One medium coat usually covers light surface rust.

    Photo Sep 18, 2 38 50 PM

    2. Medium Rust- This is rust that is more than just surface or flash rust, it may have started to lightly pit the metal, but hasn't started to affect the rigidity of the metal. Start by wire wheeling or mechanically removing any loose rust and apply 2-3 medium coats to get complete penetration into the rust.

    3. Bare Metal- Rust Encapsulator can be used over bare metal, but I wouldn't suggest it over an epoxy or etch primer if you ONLY have bare metal to deal with. It can be used to quickly seal bare metal in a pinch to avoid flash rusting as well.

    Photo Sep 18, 2 40 29 PM

    4. Mixed Surfaces- Rust Encapsulator is the best rust product to apply over surfaces that might vary in grades of rust, have bare metal or old paint present. If you have an area that you cleaned to bare metal or repaired and there's still rust around that area, I'd suggest Rust Encapsulator.

    Poor Uses

    While Rust Encapsulator can be applied to almost any surface, it isn't always the best option. Below are instances where we'd suggest a different product for the best results.

    1. Over rubberized undercoating or heavy duty anti-rust- Undercoating and Anti-Rust are great products for undercarriage, or hidden areas on a vehicle but using Rust Encapsulator over them is unnecessary and isn't using the product to it's full potential. I absolutely prefer to use it as a base under rubberized undercoating for piece of mind.

    2. In hidden, boxed, or hard to reach areas- Rust Encapsulator needs some basic prep before application (wire brush loose rust and degrease with PRE). It also needs complete coverage to properly stop the rust and it can be tough to get it to cover properly on an area that hasn't been prepared completely. For hidden, boxed, and hard to reach areas we suggest our Internal Frame Coating.

    Rust Converter

    Rust Converter is a coating that will convert heavy rusted areas into a protective polymeric coating with little prep. This product works well when used as directed, but doesn't have room for error when it comes to using it on the incorrect surfaces. Rust Converter NEEDS 100% rust present in order for it to work correctly and to fully cure. The surface does need to be top coated after cured. For the best protection we suggest to apply Rust Encapsulator over the Converter and then top coat.

    Ideal Uses

    -Medium Rust- Areas that are completely covered in substantial rust are ok to use Rust Converter on as long as it isn't mixed with bare metal or other coatings around it.


    Photo Sep 18, 2 39 33 PM

    -Heavy, Flaky Rust- Rust Converter works best on rust that is HEAVY. This would be scaly rust that has begun pitting the surface and has covered all of the metal. We still suggest to knock off (wire brush/wheel) the loose, flaking rust before applying the product. The goal is for the entire surface that is rust to turn a purplish-black once the converter has finished curing. It may take 2-4 coats to fully convert a surface.

    Poor Uses

    Photo Sep 18, 2 40 29 PM

    -Bare Metal- DO NOT EVER apply Rust Converter over bare metal. This product needs 100% rust present for it to work. In fact virgin, clean metal could actually flash rust if Rust Converter is applied and left on it.

    Photo Sep 18, 2 39 56 PM

    -Mixed Surfaces- Rust Converter needs 100% rust present in order for it to fully cure. This means it won't work completely on areas that are a mix of rust and bare metal, or a mix of original paint and rust. If you're trying to treat small rust spots that have paint surrounding them (that we assume you don't want to damage) you can use Fast Etch to saturate the area and get into those small rust spots. Then touch up with paint as needed.

    -Painted or coated surfaces- This product won't work on bare metal areas to protect or prevent from rust. If applied to areas that are painted or used to coat for prevention the Rust Converter won't fully cure and the surface will stay sticky.

    If you follow these quick guidelines you can quickly determine if you need Rust Encapsulator or Rust Converter. Feel free to drop us a comment if you'd like to see a buyers guide for any other product.


      Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • How to Strip Automotive Paint- The Tools and Procedures

    One of the big, time consuming jobs on any project vehicle (unless you are building one from scratch with raw sheet metal,) is stripping off years of old paint, primer, and anything else on the body panels. There are as many different ways to strip paint as there are types of paint to apply. Many times, especially with older projects, there may be multiple layers of primer, urethane, lacquer and enamels between the bare metal and the outside world.
    Matt took an extra hood from a Chevrolet Monte Carlo that was a perfect example of this and used it to show the various mechanical, chemical and abrasive methods that Eastwood offers to take off old paints and primers. Here on the table you can see various sanding, grinding and other a mechanical methods to get the paint off the surface. Right by Matt’s elbow you can see several sizes of the Eastwood Gel Chemical Paint and Powder Remover. And on the right of the screen you can see the big blue tank of the Eastwood Abrasive Media Blaster, for spraying various grits of media at the panel that will eat the paint off.

    Paint Removal 1

    Of course you always want to wear proper safety gear no matter what you are doing. Besides the normal dangers when you are grinding and sanding, working on old cars can expose you to lead paint and body solder, as well as rust and tetanus. You should at least have a pair of safety goggles on, and a filter over your nose and mouth to keep the dust out. A pair of sturdy leather gloves gives you something else to cut or burn before you get to your actual skin. When the particles really start flying, a clear fold down full face shield is a good idea as well.

    Paint Removal 2

    Hand Sanding with a Block
    This is the cheapest and easiest method, but that is only if you don’t value your time, or you are just looking for an upper body workout. Mister Miyagi had great luck with tricking local teenagers into doing this by promising to teach them karate.

    Paint Removal 3

    The advantages of the paper and sanding block method are that there is very little to buy before you get started, it is gentle to the metal, and you can get into really tight, irregularly shaped areas. The main disadvantage is that it will take what seems like a year to sand off the old paint on the whole car. After 30 seconds of work, Matt barely was able to get through the top layer of black paint and down to the white.

    Paint Removal 4

    Dual Action Sanding Disc
    Next up is the same 80 grit sand paper, but this time spun by a dual action sander, sometimes called a DA or random orbital. This works very much the same as the hand sanding, only the air or electricity provides a lot of the work, instead of your arm, shoulder and back muscles.

    Paint Removal 5

    As you can see, in the same 30 seconds the DA Sander was able to take off all the black paint, and in the one spot Matt focused on, three other layers to expose the base metal. The downsides of the DA method are you will burn through a lot of sand paper, you need a good air source, or an electric DA to keep up and do the whole car, and it’s really only suited for larger flat panels. The advantages over doing it by hand are obvious, but it’s not the best way to remove paint from a whole car.

    Paint Removal 6

    4 1/2 in Flap Discs
    The next item often used to remove old paint is the flap disc that attaches to your common angle grinder. It’s basically a flat disc with little pieces of sand paper glued to it in an overlapping pattern. All the edges of the paper give it a much more aggressive bite than just a flat disc like the one on the DA.

    Paint Removal 7

    The problem is it’s usually too aggressive. Sure this tool will make short work of all the old paint, but if you aren’t careful it will leave a ton of gouges in the metal. Use too much pressure and it will even grind grooves in it. All this means more work after stripping with filler or high build primer to undo the damage you just caused taking off the paint. The flap disc is especially dangerous around edges and body lines as they can grind right through the metal. They do work great though for grinding and smoothing welds and surface rust.

    Paint Removal 8

    Hook & Loop Cleaning Disc
    Next up is the Eastwood Cleaning Disc, which is like a super heavy duty version of the green scrubby you use to clean pots and pans when washing the dishes. It’s available in a similar form to the flap disc, glued to a fiberglass backing for use with an angle grinder, but for big jobs it’s much easier to use the Eastwood hook and loop version. The hook and loop kit has a dedicated disc that screws onto your angle grinder, and cleaning discs that stick to it with a heavy duty version of Velcro. The discs are available in 80 grit and a 320 grit and are easy to change.

    Paint Removal 9

    The woven material of these discs is great because it doesn’t come apart when you are using it and fling pieces everywhere. The flexible nature of the disc and backing pad make them much less dangerous to edges and body line too, and they don’t gouge if you push too hard. As you can see they make short work of blasting through all this old paint too. But if you use the disc in one place for too long it is possible to get the panel too hot and warp it, so keep moving.

    Paint Removal 10

    Hook & Loop Stripping Disc
    Next up is the less aggressive 320 grit hook and loop disc. This one does the same job it just takes more time. It’s less aggressive and more suited to taking off the clear coat and prepping a recent car with just 1 coat of paint on it.

    Paint Removal 11

    As you can see it leaves a smoother finish, but it takes longer to cut though the paint. Eastwood sells a kit with both discs and the hook and loop attachment for your angle grinder. It’s great to start out with the more aggressive 80 disc, cut through the old layers of paint, then smooth it all out with the 320 disc.

    Paint Removal 12

    Here’s a before and after on the same patch of hood we used the cleaning disc on originally, showing how you can use the stripping disc to finish the job and get down to smooth bare metal. Here is before.

    Paint Removal 13

    And this is after.

    Paint Removal 15

    3M Plastic Bristle Disc
    Next is the plastic bristle disc from 3M. These bristles are very tough and come attached to a disc that screws onto a common 4 1/2 inch angle grinder. It works exactly the same as a wire wheel would, only the discs don’t fall apart as easily as wire wheels do and they are gentler on the metal.

    Paint Removal 15

    As you can see, it’s a little more aggressive than the red stripping pad, but not as much as the hook and loop cleaning pad. And look at how smooth it leaves the metal after the paint is all gone! These bristle discs are very durable too and last a long time, so they are great for big jobs like a whole car. Be careful around edges though, because the bristles can catch an edge and get broken off, and they will hurt if they hit bare skin, so wear long sleeves and a face shield.

    Paint Removal 16

    Roloc Quick Change Surface Conditioning Discs
    These little discs are very similar to the hook and look stripping discs, only they mount differently and they are more flexible for sanding irregular surfaces. On the back on these discs is a little threaded stud that screws into a flexible rubber mandrel you can attach to any drill.

    Paint Removal 17

    The softer, flexible nature of the mandrel allows you to use these for areas that aren’t flat. Also because these are so small, they are great for getting in tight areas like window frames and such. They are available in 2 and 3 inch sizes, and are commonly referred to as “cookies.”

    Paint Removal 18

    That’s it for the mechanical methods of stripping old paint, but there are other ways to take off paint that don’t involve spinning discs.

    Eastwood Paint & Powder Stripper
    Guys often wonder about stripping paint off with chemicals. How well does it work? Is it safe for the panel? It is safe, and it works great, especially in areas that have tight curves or something that would prevent you from getting a cleaning disc or bristle disc in there.

    Paint Removal 19

    You do need to wear rubber gloves though, because if you get this stuff on your bare skin it will burn.

    Paint Removal 21

    Then it’s just a matter of brushing it on, use these acid brushes that are made of a plastic that won’t melt in the chemicals.

    Paint Removal 20

    Wait 30 minutes or so and start scraping it off (Matt cheated and applied the stripper before the cameras started rolling so it would be ready now.)

    Paint Removal 22

    As you can see the first application took off almost all the layers of paint. You could use mechanical means to strip the rest down to the metal, or apply the stripper again and you should have a totally clean bare metal surface. To make it even more effective, especially if dealing with modern clearcoat, use the DA sander to scratch through the surface first, then apply the stripper.

    Paint Removal 23

    Media Blasting
    Finally, the last best method, and the most expensive to get set up to do, is media blasting. Media blasting sprays various small particles like ground glass, aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, and walnut shells, at the panel with high pressure air. For softer surfaces like fiberglass and urethane, soda blasting does the same thing with a softer media similar to baking soda. You do have to be careful though because media blasting can still warp a panel if you stay in one spot for too long and it gets hot. You also need to tailor the media to what you are stripping. Use too coarse of a media on a soft metal like aluminum or pot metal and you will be left with a rough surface that will take a ton of work to correct.
    Eastwood offers big, pressurized media blast tanks that are great for doing entire cars, or blasting a frame and chassis if you are doing a frame off restoration.

    Paint Removal 24

    If you don’t want to spend the money and make the commitment to a big set up like this, Eastwood also offers a Small Blast Kit that is very affordable, and great for doing just the problem areas of the body panels.

    Paint Removal 25

    The best places to use the Small Blast Kit, or any media blasting really, are problem areas like these intricately shaped edges of the hood. There is no way you are getting a cleaning disc or wheel in there, which means you could be there for hours with a piece of sandpaper stripping the paint by hand. The media blaster will make short work of this.

    Paint Removal 26

    Eastwood Fast Etch
    Once you are down to bare metal, you need to make sure you protect it so it doesn’t rust immediately. Eastwood Fast Etch not only helps eat away minor surface rust and prep the bare metal for paint, it also leaves a protective phosphoric coating. The coating will protect it for a good long time, and can easily be wiped off with PRE painting prep with just a rag before painting.

    Paint Removal 27

    If you do have surface rust on bare metal, you can spray the fast etch, let it work for a few minutes, then just wipe it off. Here is before.

    Paint Removal 28

    And this is after. Obviously it could have used a few more minutes.

    Paint Removal 29

    To use Fast Etch as a protective coating, just spray it on and leave it on. It will eat into the metal, then react to create that phosphoric protective coating.

    So those are basically the most popular methods of removing paint and getting down to bare metal. Of course if you don’t want to do it all yourself you can always send the whole body out to be media blasted by a professional. There are also places with tanks of stripper so large a whole car can be submerged to eat away the paint and rust, but there is no way you are going to do something like that at home.

      Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • How To Remove, Treat, and Prevent Rust

    Rust is something we all must deal with at some point in our lives. Whether it’s maintaining your daily driver, restoring a classic, or just around the house, rust is a type of corrosion that never sleeps and is always attacking metal. Below are the common ways to prevent, remove and stop rust in its tracks.   Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • Somewhere to Lay the Cab

    Now that we are back from SEMA, I've gotten a big kick in the butt to get some real progress done on Project Pile House. I saw a ton of cool rods out in Vegas, and it helped me gather some ideas and inspiration for this project.

    So this week we have dug into the truck pretty good. The big problem we've been having is trying to get both front wheel wells center over the front wheels. It seemed each time we changed one little thing, the other side was off and we were chasing our tails. So we decided to take the mounting of the body one step simpler. Instead of trying to get the cab and front end lined up at once, we decided to start at the front, center the front end over the wheels and chassis, and tack weld them into place. We used some scrap metal and tied these into the inner fenders and right onto the chassis. Now we can wiggle the cab around to fit against the fenders with out changing the spacing of everything. Perfect example of where we should have started with the K.I.S.S theory!

    After lining the cab up with the front end, we could then eyeball where exactly the cab mounts were going to sit, and how to strengthen the floor of the cab to hold the weight of the cab on the new mounts. You may remember in some of the last posts we welded some plate into the A-pillar post and the kick panel. We need to do the same in the rear as although the rear portion of the floor is fairly solid, we'd rather add some extra integrity while we are there.

    The first thing we did was trace out some patterns out of manilla office folders (don't tell the bosses thats why we needed a pack of 50 folders from Office Depot!), and cut the patterns out of 1/8th mild steel with our Versa Cut Plasma Cutter. Once cut and test fitted I needed to clean the area of the surface rust, then etch the surface clean with our Fast Etch, and lastly add some of our Self Etch Weld Thru Primer to keep the original floor sealed from rusting further.

    Once the original floor was prepped, we laid the 1/8" plates in and got them welded into the cab with our MIG 175. We tied into some of the heavier gauge metal in the floor as well as the B-pillar post where it meets the floor. This should keep the mount area sold while the cab is sitting atop of the chassis. You'll notice the bolts tack welded to the plates, more on this little trick later.

    Now that we have these parts welded in place, we can begin measuring and drilling the holes in the plates in the floor to sit the cab down on, as well as begin making some of the front floor/kick panels to replace the old rotted stuff we took out. Once the floor is solidified a little more, we can make the body mounts for the front end so it's all a bolt-on-affair from here on. More to come soon, watch this space!


      Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • The cure for rusty-tank syndrome

    It's one thing to have to fight rust that is easily accessible, like on floor pans or quarter panels, where it isn't too hard to get to the problem area.  Nothing is worse than restoring a vehicle, only to find that the fuel tank you have in it is full of loose rust and coated in varnish. I recently fell victim to this exact problem with my VW pickup truck project. I had gone through quite an extensive job in getting this truck to the stage where it was almost drivable, only to be stopped dead in my tracks. If you are unfortunate (or masochistic) enough to have to go through this process, I decided to do a fairly universal "how-to" pictorial of how to go through this process.

    Now, faithful Eastwood readers, I feel that we are good enough friends that I can tell you "how it is" without sugar coating it. This job is going to be messy, dirty, and downright unpleasant. You have to figure, if the gas tank on the inside is rusty enough to cause an issue, the exterior of the tank and it's mounting points have to be that much worse. I found that that was exactly the case on my truck. It seemed like everywhere I looked, under the bed of the truck had surface rust, the outside of the tank being the worst of it for sure. As I dug into it, I found I really had to work to coax the nuts holding the gas tank straps to come off. Luckily I had grabbed a can of CRC Freeze-Off before starting on this. We just started carrying this product, and I will admit, I was a bit skeptical to say the least. I mean, come on, it "freezes" the rust off? But J.R. from our R&D fame assured me that it was the cat's meow as far as rust fighting penetrates go. So I doused the threads on the stud, and the nut itself, a few times with the freeze-off, and let it sit. After working the nut back and forth, a little tapping with a small hammer, and some baby-talk to it, I was able to get both nuts to thread off with out breaking a stud or having to cut the nut off. I would say that the freeze-off gets my approval!

    After assuring that I didn't have to cut off any nuts or mounting studs, I removed the fuel pump lines, the fuel filler hose to the tank, and any associated breather hoses. I then dropped the fuel tank down out of the truck. I've found that your average floor jack is perfect for this job. Once the tank was out, I set it on a fender stand to work on it (not before cleaning the acorns off the top of the tank!). I started by draining the fuel out completely. You can see from the picture of the pre-pump filter, and also of what was left in the drain pan, just how bad the rust and dirt inside the tank was. This was the 4th fuel filter in a matter of a week. Each time I would attempt to drive the truck and hit a bump, the filter would get clogged with more rust. Also note the pictures of the inside of the tank that I shot, if you look closely you can see the piles of rust still in the tank, along with all of that varnish! I tried to knock all the major rust off of the walls of the inside of the tank by dropping some old chain into the tank and shaking it around for a few minutes (I told you this wasn't going to be fun!). Follow all of this up by spraying the pressure washer inside of the tank, trying to flush all of that rust you knocked loose out of the tank.

    After getting the tank out and drained, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to just use our tank sealer kit and restore the inside of the tank, I was going to have to do something about how the outside looked. I decided to choose our Tank Tone Kit. This kit is made to help treat and convert surface rust on the outside of the tank and then you apply a silver coating that is fuel resistant and leaves the tank looking like the day the vehicle left the showroom. I needed to first, assess the corrosion and make sure that I wasn't attempting to restore a tank that possibly would rot out and leak after a year or two. I hit the tank with a wire brush and a metal scraper to get all of the heavy stuff off first. After checking the tank for any thin spots, I started applying the rust converter that is included in the kit. Luckily I have a small 10 gallon tank in that truck, so only one tank tone kit was necessary. I would suggest at least two kits for an average full size car or truck. Because of how extensive the rust was on the outside of the tank, I let the rust converter sit on the tank for a full 24 hours.

    I took pictures below showing how the converter progressed over this time. The last pictures you can really see how the surface has changed color of the rust all over!

    Here is the rust converter working after only a few hours on the rusty tank.

    Now here is after 24 hours with the Rust Converter working on the tank. Notice how much more of the rust has now been turned to a blackish purple color. The outside of the tank is now ready to be primed and top coated!

    This is where the process of restoring an old gas tank really begins to make you rethink why you are doing this project yourself, but I can assure you... if you stick with me, the end result is surely worth it! I used one of our Tank Sealer Kits For Cars, again two or more kits may be needed for larger tanks. I plugged the openings in the tank using tin-foil and appropriate length screwdrivers. This kept the chemicals from getting all over the place. The first step is adding a bucket of our metal wash, which has been diluted with two gallons of hot water. You then shake, and turn the tank to get the metal wash to soak into all surfaces and etch the metal. This is a process that you will be very, very good at by the end.

    After draining and rinsing the tank out, you follow up with a small amount of muriatic acid diluted in a half gallon of hot water. This acid is NASTY stuff, the bottle was smoking when I opened it... that is always a sure sign that this is not a chemical that you want to get on your skin! Again, mix the acid with the water, dump it in the tank, slosh the tank, drain, rinse. You can see how brown and contaminated the liquid coming out of the tank was still at this second step.

    At this point I tried snapping a photo showing how the inside of the tank was beginning to be etched and brought back to clean metal. Pretty neat to see, but tough to photograph!

    In the next step, you dump an entire bottle of fast etch in the tank again, to clean and etch. Once you have drained that all out, you add one small can of Acetone to clean the surface, and help evaporate any other water in the tank. Each of these chemicals are the same as the others, dump in the funnel, slosh around in the tank, drain out.

    After I got the majority of the acetone out, I let the tank sit upside down for an hour to let the chemicals evaporate inside. I then used 1.5 bottles of the tank sealer and sloshed it around in the tank. This time I took much more care, making sure all of the surfaces inside were covered and the sealer wasn't puddling or filling the center baffle. I let the tank sit upside down to avoid this and it also allowed the top of the inside of the tank to get some coverage.

    The sealer fumes are very intense, I got too close and accidentally breathed in the chemicals when trying to shoot the photo of the inside of the tank, and it made me gasp and nearly faint. The lengths I go through to get everyone a thorough DIY article took their toll that night! Crazy stuff. Subsequently I got a headache later on in the evening. Moral of this story is, DO NOT under any circumstances, breathe in, or inhale the fumes coming out of the tank after the sealer has been applied!

    The instructions then called for you to put an air nozzle in the tank and run it at at a low PSI to help dry the sealer and stop it from puddling too much. Since I don't have an air compressor at my home garage just yet, I decided to rig up the exhaust on the shop vac to circulate air inside the tank. I left it on for about an hour, and it definitely seemed to do the trick.

    Once the tank sealer had dried and there were little to no fumes remaining, I applied the Tank Tone to the outside of the tank. This really made a world of difference. I still have trouble convincing friends this is the same tank!

    As they say in the repair manuals, "installation is the reverse of removal," so I lifted the restored tank back up into the truck. Luckily it all fit back into it's home pretty easily, and I was left to admire my handy work, and reflect on the restoration process . As many can relate, sitting back and admiring your handy work can be a catch 22... while it allows you to appreciate the end result of the hard work you put into restoring something, it also allows you to see the imperfections and faults in everything around it! I now noticed all of the suspension parts, and brackets under the truck that had minor surface rust on them. Not to mention the spots on the floor beds of the cab where I had applied our Brushable Seam Sealer and I felt like those spots needed some undercoating to give that OEM finish back to the floor boards, and match the fresh look of the gas tank.

    So that begun the process of again using Rust Converter to treat and convert all of the surface rust, as well as prep the surfaces for top coats. I sealed the treated areas with Rust Encapsulator, and followed up with a top coat of our Satin Extreme Chassis Black. I felt this gave the undercarriage parts a nice understated "OEM" finish, and also gave me the piece of mind that the rust wouldn't be coming back to haunt me years down the road!

    All in all, this was a very tedious, long process. But, I am happy to report that since restoring the tank, the truck is now running well on its new engine, and is very close to being road worthy! I can't wait to hear what the exhaust shop thinks of the undercarriage of the truck when they build my custom exhaust this week!!!

    Keep up the hard work, and as usual, any and all comments, questions, and advice are welcomed here if you leave a comment!!


      Click Here To Read Full Post...