Paint Removal?

A strange question, I'm sure...


I'd like to remove the gold paint (or other silk screened ink) from the face of a preamp for aesthetic reasons. It appears to be on a black anodized aluminium plate and I am concerned that paint remover might damage the aluminium.

Anyone do this or have ideas?

how about a razor blade?
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Maybe you can take a q-tip and put a little paint remover on a part of the preamp you can't see and see what happens. I'm sure other people will have better idea's
I did exactly what you are proposing. I used Acetone and it did not harm my black anodized aluminum.

If you want to test, go to an obscure area and dab the metal with a Q-Tip saturated with Acetone. If you see no harm, go for the paint.

Other chemicals that may help are Methyl Ethyl Ketone, Lacquer thinner and a cleaning product called Goof-Off.
Lighter Fluid would be a milder version of Goof-Off.
It will haze the finish, & you should be able to restore it's finish with a dab of oil?

It must not sound all that well if you spend considerable time looking at it, instead of enjoying it's sound? Why not just sell it, & find another more visually pleasing unit? Prior to reducing it's physical condition / resale value?
Or see if another finish option Face Plate is available from the manufacturer, & then sell this units Face Plate in a non-marred state? Good Luck!
Thanks guys for the responses. Much appreciated.


The unit sounds great (AE-3 DJH) and it's all of a day old! Vast improvement over my previous pre-amp (a Linn Majik) and looking forward to the DJH hitting its stride. Will go into more detail when I update my system page.

Albert gave you excellent solvents to use. Any of them should only be used in a well ventilated area away from ignition sources as they are all very volatile and highly flammable.
If its a real anodized alum. finish, shouldn't be damaged--anodizing is a physical change to the actual metal to oxidize it in a controlled manner. So, the finish isn't "applied"--its actually the metal itself, only harder. The problem might be that there is some overcoat on top of the anodization, like a clearcoat or something, that might be dulled. Highly second the "test in an unobtrusive area" suggestions...
I suggest that you call Cary (AES) and ask them about their gold silkscreening / painting process. You will certainly lose value should you ever decide to sell the preamp whether you get the gold lettering off cleanly or make a mess of it.

Maybe this pic doesn't do it justice, but it doesn't seem all that bad to me. You might want to wait a bit and see if you get used to it before your "surgery". Or maybe listen in the dark. :-) Bob
Playing any Holly Cole or Patricia Barber CD should remove any paint. The problem is that the sound is not localized and may remove the paint from your entire listening room.
There are paint remover spray which are absolutely non toxic. I used one by Saratoga to rip paint off a rega arm.


Don't forget that acetone, MEK, laqueer thinner are all HIGHLY volative/flammable and adsorbed thru the skin. Use w/good ventilation, gloves, and no open flames.
Just out of curiousity, did you try the Holly Cole or Patricia Barber? And, if so, did it work?
Like a previous poster said, there are non-toxic paint removers that work very well. I have used them on the aluminum trim tabs on my boat, paint comes right off. Google jamestown marine supply and look in their catalog.