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How to remove paper from 20 year old plastic?

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  • How to remove paper from 20 year old plastic?

    Before I begin: a few years back I tried to remove some cottonwoods from my house, and some Russian Elm. bottom line: they got the Christine gene. as hard to kill as a '58 Plymouth

    a friend pointed out that there are so many ways to eliminate them that they obviously cant be eliminated. if there was one way that worked, everyone would tell you that one way. the fact that a hundred techniques exist indicates that none are effective

    I have some sheets of plexiglass ( HYZOD, whatever that means ) that were stored in a hangar for 20 years. so, a zillion heat / cold /dry / humid cycles. I am building an Arduino project on a sheet of this, and I want the paper gone.

    surprise, surprise, sur-prise! there are a hundred techniques on the internet.

    I have no realistic expectation of success, but out of curiosity: what would you try first?

  • #2
    Soak it in water for a week. That should degrade the paper without affecting the plastic.
    Brian Rupnow

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    • #3
      It might be worth trying citrus oil solvent on it, I've had good luck with removing label type adhesives. It's a surprisingly powerful solvent, so I would advise trying it on a small sample, as there is a chance it will attack the plexiglass. I would follow Brian's advice before anything else though.

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      • #4
        Comfy chair is probably your best bet.

        Heat gun might work, but I've never tried it. I'm assuming its the brown paper with a thin plastic backing? I havn't dealt with any stubborn acrylic stuff in years.

        I feel your pain though, I deal with this on tooling plate all the time at work. Nothing more dejecting to peel back an edge hoping to strip the whole sheet, and instantly realize this job is going to take MUCH longer than anticipated.

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        • #5
          WD40

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          • #6
            Originally posted by BigMike782 View Post
            WD40
            Yup. soak it well for a while and scrape it off with a plastic knife. Wash with soap and water.

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            • #7
              I would use wd40 I've used it to clean all kinds of stuff and remove just about any adhesive I've run into

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              • #8
                Before you try any of the above... put a hair dryer on it. I've never failed to remove old paper from acrylic etc that way.

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                • #9
                  If the piece is not too big, put it in the oven at the lowest setting. A heat soak will soften the glue to the point where it may peel off with the paper. A heat gun can work, but you need to get the plastic up to temp, not just the paper.
                  I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                  • #10
                    Actually.. you just need to heat the paper... start at one corner, heat, peal then play the heat back and forth along the paper/adhered edge from the paper side. Dead simple, really quick. Plastic will be perfectly clean and not even warm.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lakeside53 View Post
                      Actually.. you just need to heat the paper... start at one corner, heat, peal then play the heat back and forth along the paper/adhered edge from the paper side. Dead simple, really quick. Plastic will be perfectly clean and not even warm.

                      If that sortof works, you can use a broom handle to roll the paper onto. Keep the roll tight to the poly and use the radius of the handle to keep correct even tension and pulling angle for the best results without tearing.

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                      • #12
                        In my experience, many times it's best to scrap the plastic with old paper stuck to it. Unless it's Sunday night and you need to use some of the old-paper acrylic to finish a job.

                        Along these same lines.....Online Metals. I got to know the owner when they were just starting. I told him to use labels that were easy to peel off. He didn't take my advise. Their damn labels can take more time (time is money for a business) to remove than the material costs. For that reason I avoid Online when I can. Most of what I bought from them was held in collets and the label residue had to all be removed. Lacquer thinner, WD, etc all have varying degrees of effectiveness, none that we tried were 100% effective.

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                        • #13
                          We always used lacquer thinner at work, it took the paper & glue right off and didn't affect the acrylic.
                          HTH,
                          David

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                          • #14
                            That paper was intended to protect the surface of the plastic from being scratched and originally peeled off easily. I occasionally have to remove the covering from old sheets of acrylic or polycarbonate at the museum and have found that gentle heating and patience is the best method.

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                            • #15
                              what most assuredly does not work:

                              Dawn detergent
                              Scrubbing Bubbles
                              freezing
                              olive oil
                              baby oil
                              WD-40 made the paper leave the adhesive, but the adhesive remains adhered to the plastic


                              what had some effect:

                              boiling in an electric skillet


                              trying goo gone now. I have more of this plastic, it's worth the effort

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