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Removing melted plastic from metal

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  • Removing melted plastic from metal

    A little OT, but it does mention metal

    So, melted plastic, on nickel plated steel, is there an easy way to remove it besides mechanical abrasion?

    I'm hoping something easy like MEK or paint stripper.


    Mike Hunter

  • #2
    It largely depends on the plastic. Do you know what it is? Some are soluble in common solvents, others not. Try acetone first.
    Jim H.


    • #3
      Originally posted by JCHannum View Post
      It largely depends on the plastic. Do you know what it is? Some are soluble in common solvents, others not. Try acetone first.
      acetone first it's safe. then methelene chloride but it is rather nasty so bear that in mind.


      • #4
        I have a hard time believing any plastic will stick very tenaciously to nickel plating. Stick it in the freezer overnight and then see if you can pry it off with a wooden stick.


        • #5

          When you say plastic, that is like saying metal. Many forms of plastic. Destroyed a cheap wristwatch by getting a little bit of brake fluid on it. Usually heat or cold will loosen. Put in deep freeze 24 hours or use a heat gun. Most chemicals that dissolve plastics make into something akin to epoxy. Might be more of a mess than you now have. My first try would be freezing then use of a small soft hammer to break the plastic. next would be soak in acetone auto transmission mix.


          • #6
            Die wax for chrome steel dies and heat coupled with a scotchbrite, that's what extrusion dies get, anything like acetone will get it, sometimes slowly as there are resistant plastics, solvent cement can eat them too


            • #7
              I don't know what glacial acetic acid would do the the nickel, but it melted a screwdriver handle very quickly... Works on acetate plastic.

              Amazing what old darkroom chemicals can do...

              Last edited by ironmonger; 05-31-2015, 11:37 AM.
              ARS W9PCS

              Esto Vigilans

              Remember, just because you can doesn't mean you should...
              but you may have to


              • #8
                First, thanks for the replies so far, I will try freezing first, then acetone.

                A little more info; wife and I were outside enjoying the hot tub, I had a kerosene pressure lamp going, gentle breeze and one of the outdoor curtains landed on the hood of the lamp, immediately melting.

                There are no tags on the curtains, I’m assuming it nylon or rayon or whatever they make sheer curtains out of these days. The material feels almost like a stiff cotton.

                The lamp is nickel plated, most of the lamp in brass, but I’m assuming that the chimney is nickel plated steel for the heat.

                There are some on the web that recommend boiling in a water baking soda solution, not sure the science behind that.


                Mike Hunter



                • #9
                  Buffing wheel?


                  • #10
                    If it's nylon, then most acids will attack it even in dilute form. When I worked in electroplating in the 60's someone thought that our terelene overalls looked tatty so we were issued nice blue nylon coats. Mine lasted half a day, it just fell to bits.


                    • #11
                      If it's something that won't fit in the freezer, or even if it will, you might try freeze spray, which is many 10's of degrees F below 0. I bet it'll pop right off.
                      "A machinist's (WHAP!) best friend (WHAP! WHAP!) is his hammer. (WHAP!)" - Fred Tanner, foreman, Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering machine shop, circa 1979


                      • #12
                        I've had plastic boot soles get melted on motorcycle exhaust pipes. I remove the melted plastic with a propane torch and a clean rag. Heat the plastic until it starts to melt and then take the torch away and quickly wipe the plastic off. It usually takes a few times to get most of it. Once it is down to a film, you can use acetone with more rubbing or Easy Off Oven cleaner or a similar product. I've been doing it this way for years and properly done, the metal looks like new.

                        Of course, do not heat the metal too far so that the plating is affected or until it begins to blue. This is an old trick used by many motorcyclists so I can't take the credit.


                        • #13
                          Where this might get a bit more tricky is if the plastic is burned on - if there is a layer of burned carbon something or other at the base.


                          • #14
                            Just a quick update on progress; for future utility:

                            Cold soak in freezer: No impact.

                            Cold soak in freezer then immersed in boiling water: No impact.

                            Boil in water with baking soda (internet recipe): No impact.

                            4 Hour soak in Lacquer Thinner: Fairly good results, about 50% flaked/peeled off with a little encouragement.

                            Overnight soak in Acetone: No impact.

                            I think that the remainder may be burnt on, and not just melted.

                            Next I may try the old stinky chem-dip in the 1 gal can.

                            After that, an ultrasonic cleaner.

                            Then I’m done, and will live with what is left.
                            Mike Hunter



                            • #15
                              without knowing what the curtain was made of you are shooting in the dark but I would pick up some zylene from a good paint store and let it soak for a day or two then massage it with a wooden scraper, if this does not work, an airtight ( pressure tight ) container of zylene left in the hot sun will cause a more aggressive action- the goal is to get the zylene up to 100+ degrees without it all evaporating away.