Infrared Paint Remover

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Infrared Paint Remover

Postby Scott McCrea » Dec 12, 2006 9:29 pm

Anyone ever tried a IPR to remove spray paint? Looks like it might be a fairly easy and harmless-ish way to remove graffiti. Here's site that give instructions on how to build one for about $40. Just need to lug a generator to the cave and run extension cords to the work site.

http://www.oceanmanorhouse.com/paintremover.html
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Postby adleedy » Dec 12, 2006 9:51 pm

so you are simply burning the paint off?

seems like it should work at only around $40 it couldnt hurt to rig one up and give it a try.
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Postby graveleye » Dec 12, 2006 10:11 pm

hehe... thats $40 if you're McGuiver :tonguecheek: He alluded that a storebought one would be much more expensive. But really, that doesnt look that hard to make.
I wouldnt know if it would work or not because the whole concept is new to me, but it would be worth a try. I can see that burning paint off of a table or something would work probably, but could it heat the paint enough to overcome the consistant cool of the surrounding rock?

Hmmm.... the "SWAGO Cave Cleaner".....hmmm
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Postby graveleye » Dec 12, 2006 10:24 pm

he has wine glasses on his work bench :shock:
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Postby adleedy » Dec 12, 2006 10:28 pm

i imagine if all your doing is burning the paint off then enough heat could be produced from a propane torch it just seems to me like this could be a little harsh on the cave

or maybe not what are the thoughts on that?
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Postby Grandpa Caver » Dec 12, 2006 11:11 pm

adleedy wrote:i imagine if all your doing is burning the paint off then enough heat could be produced from a propane torch it just seems to me like this could be a little harsh on the cave

or maybe not what are the thoughts on that?


Been there done that. On a time long ago and far away I helped in a cleanup project where a torch was used to remove grafitti in an extremely trashed cave. The torch was a moderate success in removing the paint but caused moisture in the rock to expand resulting in small splinters of limestone exploding dangerously from the surface. I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND ANYONE TRY THIS METHOD! It was not only detrimental to the cave but hazardous to the participants.
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Postby adleedy » Dec 12, 2006 11:19 pm

yes i know recall that it is very easy to crack limestone with heat, and would hate to think about what devestation could be cause by doing this
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Postby MUD » Dec 12, 2006 11:19 pm

I'm still trying to get past the contamination of a suit "thing" :rofl: ....a propane torch to burn paint, in a cave? Wonder what THAT does to microbial life?
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Postby Dwight Livingston » Dec 13, 2006 8:39 am

Cavemud wrote:I'm still trying to get past the contamination of a suit "thing" :rofl: ....a propane torch to burn paint, in a cave? Wonder what THAT does to microbial life?


I don't see your point on this one. In general, exposure to heat or chemical products of burning paint will probably affect only those resident critters that are nearby. Introduction of an alien species, on the other hand, might affect all the residents of the entire cave or system of caves. You might compare it to our situation in the US as a whole. Superfund sites are dramatic and all, but it is species invasion that is really screwing things for our resident flora and fauna.

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Postby MUD » Dec 13, 2006 9:47 am

You know, If we didn't ever go outside our houses or into a cave, we wouldn't contribute to the spread of biologicals? I really don't see your point in all this... :grin:

I will be sure to let everyone I cave with to thoroughly wash their gear before every trip. I'll also make sure to tell them not to bring their propane torch along! :rofl:

Educate the masses....use good old fashioned elbow grease and a good wire brush, maybe some mud cover-up? Just be sure your hair is tied back and you don't have to sneeze, cough, rub bare skin against the wall or biologicals may mutate into some sort of whatever :hairpull:

What about bringing mud, dirt from a cave out onto the surface????? :shock:
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Postby Dwight Livingston » Dec 13, 2006 10:42 am

Cavemud wrote:You know, If we didn't ever go outside our houses or into a cave, we wouldn't contribute to the spread of biologicals? I really don't see your point in all this... :grin:
. . .
What about bringing mud, dirt from a cave out onto the surface????? :shock:


These are good points to bring up: what makes caves different from what is happening on the surface. Microbes on the surface get around more. They are moved by wind, water, animals, and vehicles. Since they move around more, they'll spread easily. Generally you'll have to travel farther to see a change of species. They are also generally adapted to life on or near the surface.

Cave adapted species do not get around so much, and are suited to the cave environment. They may get washed out of the cave but are not so likely to reach another cave. Surface species that get washed into a cave (or dragged in on your suit) are not likely to compete with the local microbes, as they are not adapted to the cave environment. So cave species tend to be isolated and different from those in caves elsewhere. Bring a cave adapted microbe into a new cave, though, and it has a shot at competing with the local population. That is what makes the potential for cave to cave transfer a special problem.

I can't make any specific recommendations about cave suit washing vs some set of caves, as I don't know enough about it. I think the issue is not laughable, though, and worth some consideration. It would make a difference, I would think, how far one traveled between caves. Drying your suit completely should help, even if it isn't washed, as desication is a good anti-microbial technique.
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Postby Scott McCrea » Dec 13, 2006 11:36 am

To get back on topic, I did a little more research.

Graveleye made a good point about how the rock may suck too much heat away from the paint. The manufacturer of the Silent Paint Remover says that removing paint from "marble, brick and concrete will require a much longer heating time. It will also take longer time scraping off the paint on these surfaces."

As for the rock popping, cracking, shattering, etc when heated, it sure does. It's a great way to make a tight spot a little bigger. But, I don't think the IPR works quite the same way. In the FAQ it says, "A quartz rod throws out strong infrared radiation. When you're standing in a sunny window on a cold winter day, your face can still feel the heat of the sun, even though the sun is millions of miles away and the space between you and the sun may be 10 degrees F. This is true infrared radiation being absorbed by your skin. Quartz rods throw off this type of radiation which is absorbed by the paint without using the air in between as a medium to carry the heat. This is what makes them such wonderful heaters. When applied to paint, this radiation warms the paint slowly, through and through, allowing it to soften and lift off the wood. My hypothesis is that resistive oven elements don't throw off much infrared -they heat more by convection, heating the air around them, which in turn heats the paint, therefore, you end up scorching the surface of the paint or completely melting it too quickly."

So, I take that to mean that it probably wouldn't be good to clean a large area, but it may be just the ticket for those troublesome, high profile spots.
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Postby Caverdale » Dec 13, 2006 12:40 pm

Something else to keep in mind if you are a western caver and tempted to use this method of graffiti removal in a lava tube. Lava contains trapped air bubbles. If you use lava rocks for fire circles, the rocks can explode. I don't mean they go pop. The explosion can be violent and throw 'shrapnel' at high speeds for a distance. This is based on personal observation. Using heat to remove paint in a lava tube would not be advisable.
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