Here's a video of this project:
This should cost you ~ $50 to build (commercial versions cost ~$400). If you're going to strip any significant amount of wood, this should also be cheaper than buying chemical removers.
I sell kit and finished versions of this and most of my other projects on my website, dirtnail.
Additionally, this method should be safer for you and the environment than using conventional, toxic paint removers.
Thanks to the dude at Ocean Manor House for building this and sharing his plans: my version is at best a slight improvement and more likely a downgrade from his:-)
Step 1: Gather Your Materials, Tools
The big decision to make in getting your materials is if you'd rather build an enclosure or spend ~$40 to buy one. The Ocean Manor House guy bought an enclosure and modified it to make it portable, and I built my own. His looks correspondingly higher-quality:)
For my way, here are the materials you'll need:
-A 120-volt ceramic infrared heater: I used this 900 watt unit, and it cost ~$40 after shipping. The $400 commercial units use an 1100-watt unit.
-A higher-gauge ac cord: I used one from an old microwave. make sure it's capable of handling however many watts you will be pumping through it (remember watts = volts * amps). for my project, I need a cord that will handle 900 watts or a cord rated to handle 900 / 120 = 7.5 amps of 120-volt AC.
-Electrical tape + wire nuts + thin-guage wire. For a higher-quality, more durable build, replae all 3 of these w/ high-temperature, nonconductive tape.
-A paint roller brush, sans roller sponge thingy.
-Some type of metal to build the reflector out of. I suppose this is optional and really just about increasing the efficiency, but it's definitely a good idea. I tried aluminum cans cut in half from top to bottom of can, and this metal was too thin.
-Rivets and riveting tool (optional), to better secure your improvised reflector to your hacked-apart paint roller
-An extension cord, so that you can remove paint further than the length of your power cord from an AC outlet:)
-Paint scraper, to remove your loosened paint.
Tools you'll want are:
-Wire stripper. I heart my automatic wire stripper, although any reasonably sharp knife would do in a pinch.
-Metal cutter capable of cutting the metal used for the reflector (and the wire). I used tin snips.
-A grinder or other tool to cut through the rolling part of the paint roller.
-Drill or other tool to make holes in the metal used for the reflector.
Step 2: Attach Emitter and Cord to Roller
First, remove the spinning part from the paint roller so that you have a stationery piece of metal to attach your emitter onto.
Next, splice your cord onto the emitter. You may need to remove a few of the white ceramic discs to get enough cord length on the emitter end of things. One cord from emitter goes to black on the ac cord, and one to white; it shouldn't matter which to which. You can secure these together via fancy wire-twisting skills, wire nuts, or, if you want to do things right, some kind of nonconductive, heat-resistant tape.
With the cord attached to the emitter, hook this shebang up to the roller. I used wire to secure the emitter and electrical tape, which will probably disastrously melt, for the cord. The wire's not incredibly stable, so we'll use the reflector to further secure the emitter.
Step 3: Build Your Reflector
This is really an exercise in improvisation. I id this by cutting approximately-right-sized chunks from a garbage can lid, bending them to approximately the appropriate dimensions, and then connecting the pieces in what seemed like the right way. Yeah, I know the improvisation shows:)
Step 4: Put It All Together
Next, attach your reflector to the emitter-paint roller assembly with rivets and/or wire wherever you feel appropriate. Be sure to cut a space for the cords from emitter to ac cord to fit.
You can also use this step to help better secure your emitter. I did this by providing upward pressure onto the emitter via a side piece with a hole through which the paint roller fits and downward pressure via the wires running through reflector base and over top of paint roller. Basically, just play around with it until you're happy with the result!
Step 5: Unleash Your Creation on Paint Everywhere!
Congratulations: plug your creation in to your extension cord and you should be set to destroy paint worldwide.
A couple things to keep in mind:
-This does NOT produce pleasant or healthy smells. Especially with old paint, which probably means lead-based paint), don't use this without proper ventilation!
-The emitter needs to heat up for a few minutes before it's ready to roll. The red salamander will conveniently turn black when it's hot to trot.
-This doesn't work instantaneously: it'll take a coupla seconds to get the paint loose.
-The best way to know when the paint's ready to come off is to scrape it every few seconds while you're heating it. You know it's definitely set to go if bubbles start to form.
If you want ridiculous power, consider modifying my design to have 2 900-watts angled to hit the same area of paint:)
Thanks for reading, and happy building!