Welcome To Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals

Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals is the LARGEST online community & discussion forum for professional sign-makers and graphic designers.


  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Been using this for a long long time...........................

Discussion in 'Tips & Tricks' started by Gino, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    Been using a zapper for a very long time to remove vinyl,especially hard to get off vinyl. Yesterday, I removed some dark grey from a door and went as normal, got to the red/orange vinyl and it left a stain of yellow on the paint, which I can't get out for sh!t. I'm not sure if it's a stain or the paint got burned, but I've never seen this, as long as I've been using this tool, which like I said..... is a lon-n-n-ng time.

    Any ideas. It's a brand new wheel. I might try changing out and putting another one on, but I doubt that's gonna do it.

    Everything is metal. If I use a tweezers and heat gun, it doesn't leave any yellow, but it's hard to get off zapper-grey.jpg zapper-grey.jpg , so I don't think any residue has migrated through the vinyl.

    The arrow indicates where a registered trademark was. As you can see in these photos, it's almost allows the whole thing to be read, but in yellow, instead of red.

    zapper red hood.jpg zapper register mark and S.jpg
  2. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

    Oct 21, 2016
    Frisco, TX
    I'd really like to know too. I had this EXACT same issue happen a few months ago on some oil-field trucks. I tried THREE different brands of wheels and same result.

    This happened on one job site and then again on a totally different customer / location / vinyl. I even tried using a different / slower drill.

    I never worried about this in the 13+ years of using the wheels until a few months ago. Since then I stopped using the wheels
  3. henryz

    henryz Member

    Nov 6, 2012
    Long Beach, CA
    What you try cleaning it with? alcohol, citrus cleaner, acetone. I don't believe these will harm the paint job just try it on a little spot. I prefer citrus strip from HD.
  4. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    The zapper only has two speeds..... on & off.

    I think you're talking about a wheel you put on a variable speed drill. Those are basically for removing stripes and small things, but the zapper is for just about anything, with adhesive in back of it. zapper.jpg
  5. jwilde

    jwilde Member

    Sep 12, 2016
    Muskegon, MI
    Worst case scenario here... Finish taking off the vinyl and wet sand the area with a 1500 grit. Then buff it. I used this method to restore some old porcelain Gas station signs to original after being painted over with an enamel. They were giant signs that took lot of tedious sanding by hand, but the pay was great because the collectors price on those are insane.

    Obviously try a small area first.
  6. Sindex Printing

    Sindex Printing Member

    Nov 17, 2018
    Try graffiti remover. I have used it on similar things and it has worked good.
  7. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

    Oct 10, 2006
    Vaughan, Ontario
    I had it happen to white ford pickups...thankfully the new logos covered it. I thought it was caused possibly from the rubber nubs being worn down to much, but yours look pretty good and fairly new. I wonder if it is the clear coat burning
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    It's a 2015 Ford white pickup. You might be on to something. :thumb:
  9. letterman7

    letterman7 Very Active Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Compound and wax... nothing else will get it out. I have that happen quite a bit.. the paint is actually cooking a little, just more noticeable on a white vehicle.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  10. jfiscus

    jfiscus Map Wraster

    Apr 2, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    I'd bet it is a different type of "vinyl" than usual, possibly a real cheap or specialty material that kind of melts as you use the zapper and then transfers a bit onto your wheel which then smears it on the surface.
  11. Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay?

    Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay? Very Active Member

    I used the 3M eraser wheel on an old Mack semi with some vinyl that appeared to be metallic silver and I would guess it was nearly as old as the truck judging by it's nearly disintegrated appearance. It left a slight discoloration on the royal blue paint also that couldn't be removed. The customer was okay with it due to the age and condition of the truck, so I left it as was and applied new decals right over the top of it.
  12. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    No, it's not smeared, not really at all. Where the red lettering WAS, it now looks like a yellow transparent letter. It takes on the shape of whatever was there before.
  13. tim99

    tim99 Member

    Jun 9, 2013
    letting rapid remover sit on it for a few min. then we hit with alcohol for final cleaning. takes a bit of elbow geese but that combination usually removes the yellowing caused by an eraser wheel for us.
  14. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

    Dec 27, 2005
    Guam USA
    I'm almost 60 now and I've noticed unwanted yellow stains showing up more frequently than before.
    Not sure what the solution is but it is most certainly irritating.

    wayne k
    guam usa

    Compounding - clay or even the heavy duty Magic Eraser might do the trick.
    • Hilarious! Hilarious! x 2
  15. SignosaurusRex

    SignosaurusRex Major Contributor

    Mar 7, 2007
    Washington State
    This topic has been covered a number of times here in the past.

    In regards to "Speed".... slower speed of the wheel is helpful in some cases. The "Zapper" being a single-speed (high-speed) unit, works okay in most cases but can be a problem in others. There are a few pneumatic (air powered) versions of the "Zapper" style unit (using the same eraser wheel) available on the market. Personally, I prefer the Snap-On® tools ("CrudThug") version. Other brands/models may be found through automotive tool suppliers. These units are a bit smaller, lighter, have a variable speed trigger, and no excess heat up. Yes, it can be an issue if you don't have a source of air.

    Those rinky-dink wheels that attach to a drill or die-grinder are far too hard and are made for very small vinyl pinstripes or lettering. Those will burn paint and/or clear-coat very quickly if used improperly. Any of the erasers need to be used at a proper speed relative to type and color of vinyl, base finish (factory vs. repaint) that vinyl is being removed from as well as surface temperature. Most importantly... don't linger the wheel in any one area! Keep it moving.

    Certain colors like Reds and Blues seem to be the worst for some reason. I don't know why.
    As for vehicle brand (Ford, Chev, Dodge) ...doesn't seem to matter.
    On "re-paints"... vinyl is usually applied too soon after the paint has (theoretically) dried. In some cases, the paint will suck some colors and/or adhesives into the paint. Again... brand, type, color and grade of vinyl can play a roll.
    Some factory finishes have been known to be a problem. In all of those cases, the paint had not cured long enough before vinyl was applied. Those situations are very rare and have been linked generally to certain brands and models using certain paints.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  16. Jester1167

    Jester1167 Premium Subscriber

    Could it have been a printed graphic and because they didn't let it cure the solvent inks migrated into the paint?

    I have seen roofs where the inks bleed through leaving the image behind.
  17. signmania

    signmania Owner

    May 1, 2010
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    I have seen this before on an older vehicle. Body shop guy told me certain wavelengths of light can reach the paint through the vinyl--different color vinyls might have a different effect. Seems reasonable but I can't be sure he wasn't blowing smoke. He said he was pretty aggressive with a very fine polishing (not rubbing) compound and was able to take out the discoloration. Then he polished it. We've also used Mr Clean Magic Eraser with some success to blend in the pristine color under vinyl with the oxidized paint around it. Had to hit it with a bunch of polish after.
  18. SellersSign&Design

    SellersSign&Design Active Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    Harrisburg, NC
    You know, after thinking about it I have had this happen on white trucks also. Not as bad as what you have there, but a faint yellow... usually behind red vinyl. It also almost always happens behind the vinyl encapsulated 23 kt. gold leaf graphics I take off if they are on white paint, whether I use the eraser wheel or heat and pull. I always figured that was the gold size migrating through the vinyl. It may not have anything to do with it, but I don’t recall it happening recently since I switched to the Dynabrade RedTred eraser wheel on a 7” variable speed polisher/grinder. And a side note... these DynaBrade grinder style wheels work much better in my opinion.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    It's done, but there are yellow remains and it honestly looks like the clear/paint is stained. I'm leaning towards the truck being all aluminum. The procedure from painting aluminum bodies is different from steel bodies. Perhaps the aluminum heats up more creating some kinda transfer of pigment in reds. On the same truck, the greys didn't do it whatsoever. We've done lotsa these trucks, but this was the first one to do this.

    Thanks for your input and thoughts !!!
  20. decalman

    decalman Active Member

    Sep 2, 2012
    I do this kind of removal all the time I don't use the zapper because the high-speed Burns the surface.

    To remove the vinyl is quite simple.
    I use a razor blade on a pole, but I take the blade and dull it down on a sharpening stone I use a dull razor blade, then I finesse it at the proper angle and slide right under the vinyl leaving no scratches.

    I use my scraper tool in combination with a heat gun & mineral spirits to lubricate the blade on metal. If this doesn't work then I have to crank it up a few notches.

    I get a paint brush with some " vinyl off" and brush it on the vinyl. Viny off shouldn't harm a good factory paint job. I test it on the surface first.
    Vinyl off, will leave marks on a cheap cargo trailer paint job, but not a good factory paint job on a vehicle.

    Wait about 10 minutes and then the vinyl should easily scrape off .
    You probably won't even need a heat gun.

Share This Page