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Thread: Best way to remove spray paint from rails?

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    Question Best way to remove spray paint from rails?

    Hi there, I will soon be painting my rails and roadbed with a can of spray paint. My layout is a mix of Atlas flex and Kato Unitrack and I want to have a nice look going for it.

    My plan is to spray paint the whole thing: rail and roadbed in one shot, paint some individual ties to add variety and remove paint from the top of the rails.

    Before I go ahead and do that, I have a few questions:

    What's the best way to remove paint from the top of the rails? Should I remove paint on the inner-side of the rails too? I did a test on a piece of flextrack and used a Cratex block to remove paint from the top. It worked but it took about 5mins to do a 2inch piece. It would take quite a long time to do the whole layout like that so is there a better way?

    Also, what should I do for turnouts? Cover them and hand paint them while avoiding all the moving parts or just cover the moving parts and spray the rest?

    Thanks for your help!

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    I take a square of thick styrene sheet and run it over the tops of the rails (perpendicular to them) while the paint is still wet to get most of the paint off. After the paint dries I use a Bright Boy to get rid of any leftover. I've never found it necessary to clean anything other than the tops of the rails.

    Spraying paint on turnouts never works out well for me, so any painting I do there is by hand (and usually kept to a minimum).

    Good luck!
    -Mark

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    Not sure its the best way but here is what I do before I ballast and after all the ties are in. I use spray cans with colors like Euro Grey 1...
    Mask off the area nearby by taping newspaper to the baseboard.
    If you rely on turnout points to make contact, use small bits of masking tape on the rails and points where they need to touch. Don't let them stick up or they'll creat a paint shadow on the far rail.
    Paint the sides of the rails, holding the can low to hit both near and far rail. If the rails are visible on both sides I spray from the other side too. Wipe the tops of the rails before the paint dries with tight weave cloth, rubbing hard if needed. You want to see metal all the way on the tops.
    Without waiting for that coat to dry paint the ties from directly above the rails so as not to hit their sides and rub that off too.
    Until the paint is 100% dry you can scrape any errant parts off with your fingernail. This usually happens near the end of the section where the paint transitions from full coat to no paint.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spookshow View Post
    I take a square of thick styrene sheet and run it over the tops of the rails (perpendicular to them) while the paint is still wet to get most of the paint off. After the paint dries I use a Bright Boy to get rid of any leftover. I've never found it necessary to clean anything other than the tops of the rails.

    Spraying paint on turnouts never works out well for me, so any painting I do there is by hand (and usually kept to a minimum).

    Good luck!
    -Mark
    This is exactly how I did my first layout and it worked great. On my second one, I wasn't as careful about the turnouts, and had to spend a fair amount of time scraping paint out of the frogs and guard rails. Next time, I'll avoid the turnouts altogether and do them later by hand.

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    All right, thank you guys

    I didn't think about removing the paint off the rails while it was still wet. Pretty good idea.

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    Here's is the way I do it, works for me.
    I changed one thing just recently though, Before inserting the piece of paper between the points, I also added a small drop of oil where the point rails touch the stock rail. THEN I inserted the piece of paper.
    Bottom line, paint won't stick where the oil is.

    Then as Mark said, wipe the worst of the paint off the top of the rails before the paint fully dries. Go back and lightly scrub with a bright boy or an eraser to get any residue off.


    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.co...continued.html
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post
    Here's is the way I do it, works for me.
    I changed one thing just recently though, Before inserting the piece of paper between the points, I also added a small drop of oil where the point rails touch the stock rail. THEN I inserted the piece of paper.
    Bottom line, paint won't stick where the oil is.

    Then as Mark said, wipe the worst of the paint off the top of the rails before the paint fully dries. Go back and lightly scrub with a bright boy or an eraser to get any residue off.


    http://thelittlerockline.blogspot.co...continued.html
    I guess you can do the same with CRC 2-26 as well -- it lubricates but also aids in conductivity so you would not need to worry about cleaning every little gap as much as if it was non-conductive oil.

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    Bright boy will take it off the top relatively easily, even if you don't get the worst when wet. Being careful around the switches is the real key.
    --
    Leo Bicknell

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    I do pretty much the same thing as others - run some masking tape down the ties between the rails, spray a section at a time and use a soft cloth with alcohol to wipe of the top of the rails while the paint is still wet. I try to keep the painting down to around 3' at a time, in between wipes. Using the alcohol helps to clean the rails at the same time as you remove the wet paint and means less work later when the paint has dried.

    I have also been a "coward" when it comes to painting turnouts. They may look a little out of place BUT they still all work
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"

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