For hard-to-remove paint that just won't come off metal surfaces, use a wire brush cup, which attaches to an angle grinder and spins from 3,300 to 10,000 revolutions per minute. The wire bristles on the cup are designed to remove the paint without scratching the metal. Auto-body repair shops use wire bristle cups to remove rust, corrosion and paint from car bodies before painting. Don't use wire brush cups on drywall, wood or plastic surfaces. The bristles will rip through the paint and into the porous surface.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Adjustable pliers
- Angle grinder and chuck
- Painter's plastic
Attach the wire brush cup to the angle grinder. If the cup has threads on top, thread the cup onto the grinder. Use an adjustable wrench to tighten it to the grinder. If the grinder has a bit, slip the bit into the clamping jaws of the grinder and tighten down the jaws on the bit until tight. Use a chuck to tighten the bit-type wire brush cups.
Lay painter's plastic down over anything you want to keep clean. Plug the grinder into a power source and turn it on.
Hold the body of the grinder in your right hand and the handle with your left hand. Place the cup down on the paint and grind in circular, side-to-side and up-and-down motions. The grinder will do most of the work, but you need to move it around and apply pressure. Grind an area until the paint has been removed, then move to another area.
Tips and warnings
- If you're grinding paint on older vehicles, get the paint tested for lead before grinding.
- Wear a full face shield when using power tools.
- Wear a dust mask or paint respirator to protect your lungs from paint dust.