View Full Version : Spraypaint on your Lisa? Here's how to remove the cheap stuff.

August 26th, 2011, 02:31 PM
When I got my Lisa last year it was apparent that someone thought it would be cool to paint the system black. It didn't look good at all and I had no choice but to try and remove it so I researched and experimented with several methods.
I knew from a previous test that DOT 3 brake fluid worked best at softening the pain without doing anything to the plastic that I could see. The problem was that the brake fluid thinned out and I lost a lot of the stripping efficiency.
The experiment consisted as follows:
-A bottle of DOT 3 brake fluid
-Metal cookie tray (grab an old or a cheap one because you don't want to use it again after this)
-Cheap non-synthetic paintbrush
-Paper towel
-Small Plastic container (a small peanut butter or jam jar will do)
-Putty knife

Start off by placing the panel on the tray and start using the brush to cover the panel with brake fluid.

Once that's done, place a sheet of paper towel on top and soak it using the paintbrush and more brake fluid. The paper towel helps keep the panel soaked by preventing the brake fluid from easily flowing away and into the tray.

Leave the panel alone after this for a few hours.
I came back and checked on my piece after four hours and lifting up the paper towel showed that the black paint had wrinkled which meant that it had been stripped off the panel.

Now take off the paper towel and if you have more pieces, put it in the tray under the panel so it does not make a mess, otherwise put it in a bag and throw it out.
Now take the putty knife and start scraping the paint. You should not need much effort and the result will look like this:
The paint will have completely separated from the plastic leaving a skin of black sludge.

Continue scraping off the sludge and use the small jar to put the toxic scrapings into.

Once you have scraped off all you can (there will probably be a few places where you can't get the paint to come off) you can take the garden hose or something with a sprayer and blast off any residue.

You can see that for the most part it was a total success with the exceptions where I didn't properly coat or in the vent grilles. For the most part you can get the last of it off using a bit more brake fluid and a toothbrush but otherwise the plastic is fine.
It's likely that if someone however had used the specialty plastic paint though this might not work but it's always worth a try as it appears to not affect the plastic at all.

August 26th, 2011, 03:45 PM
Way to go! I imagine those spots will come off with just a little more work.


August 26th, 2011, 03:56 PM
There are water-based paste strippers that might do the job as well:

3M Safest-Strip (http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Marine/Home/Products/Catalog/?PC_7_RJH9U5230GE3E02LECIE20S4K7_nid=5KGN8BP4PQbe1 B4G7J2TCHgl). There are many others.

August 27th, 2011, 05:26 AM
DOT 3 Brake Fluid also strips off Auto Paint.. Its good stuff.. Neighborhood kids went and coated a car in it a couple years back, it took it down to bare metal. Best part is the brake fluid is cheap too.

August 27th, 2011, 05:40 AM
Nice job!If you can put a photo of the finished Lisa!

August 27th, 2011, 10:08 AM
Baby oil works great too! But not nearly as good as brake fluid works. I am definitely impressed, and will catalog this in my brain for future reference. :thumbsup: If I only knew this as a kid, building models!

Question I have now is, will the plastic still yellow with age? Meaning, could this be another way to leech out the bromine fire retardant from plastics? I know brake fluid is somewhat acidic. *ponders :tellme:

Also, how did you get rid of the smell afterward? I happen to be a shade-tree mechanic, and know that smell takes a lot of washing to remove. Did you scrub the items afterward with soap and water , or ????

Last thing... find the person that spray-painted the machine, get a belt, and give them a good whack for me. OMFG the horror (pardon my lang). Why would someone paint a Lisa? O_O

Its like getting a nice rare coin, then rubbing off the patina . If you want a shiny coin, go get a new one... WOW!!!! I'm going to have a nightmare from that machine. Glad to see you restoring her.

August 28th, 2011, 09:32 AM
After a day of soaking and stripping:


I am really not looking forward to the more fine detail cleaning. It's going to take FOREVER and brake fluid takes a while to actually soften the paint.

I don't smell any brake fluid after I wash the panels off. I guess it's just not getting soaked into the plastic.

August 28th, 2011, 09:48 AM
You might want to try some paint thinner and a toothbrush. Less stinky than brake fluid and won't harm plastic.

Thank your lucky stars that it wasn't epoxy enamel. On that, you soak the stuff in a hot lye solution...

July 15th, 2012, 05:20 PM
The Dollarama started selling 133ml bottles of DOT 3 brake fluid for $1 each. Bought 20 bottles, a metal pan, and some magic erasers.
The pan wasn't all that big. In fact, everything I owned was not big enough to let me immerse parts in their majority. Ended up dumping out a wire bucket and soaking it in there, flipping parts around and recoating them every so often.
A cheap palstic dish brush works to get into the tight grille spots and get what paint you can. Two days of soaking and scrubbing and it went from better to nearly perfect.
Oddly, while the DOT 3 is strong enough to lift the paint off the lisa and my brush (I was red handed after this) it didn't remove the marks where someone took a pen and tried to pop the front apple logo off before the black paint had been sprayed on.

July 18th, 2012, 03:10 PM
Finished product:


There's still a few spots that didn't rub out but I really don't care.

July 20th, 2012, 05:38 AM
You forgot to fit the CRT! :P

Seriously, that has come up amazingly well. I wish I had a Lisa in my collection. I don't really do Apple stuff with the exception of my II Europlus, IIe, II Platinum and Apple III, but I Lisa would go with them nicely!

I do seem to have ended up with a dozen other Apples - IIcx's and even a couple of iMacs but really they are outside what I consider to be the scope of my collection.

Nice job!

July 20th, 2012, 08:09 AM
My strict rule about collecting almost anything is to get it cheap, even if it requires some serious TLC. Unfortunately this sometimes means that the parts you are missing might cost more than what you paid for the system.