Person using a paint spray system to finish an aircraft panel.
Painting smarter from start to finish
De-Painting/Stripping and Cleaning

The initial steps to prepping an aircraft for paint are critical to the final finish, but they can be grueling and hazardous since nasty particulates can come off aerospace paint, chomate based primers and undercoats. Robust PPE, including our line of supplied air respirators or full facepiece respirators with chemical cartridges will help keep your crew safe. And, before you paint, delicate parts must be shielded, gaps sealed and areas masked.

3M Aluminum Foil Tape will help you protect surfaces during depaint and remove cleanly afterward. This rugged tape protects against exposure to flame, weathering, moisture and UV and can withstand harsh environments from -65° to 300°F (-54° to 149°C).

3M™ Impact Stripping Tape 500 is a clear time-saver. It’s a green, rubber backed tape with a paper liner that was specially formulated to withstand impact against common blasting media such as aluminum oxide, steel shot, glass bead, and plastic. This tape is the thinnest of our portfolio yet provides outstanding conformability.

Scientifically formulated products that make depainting, stripping and cleaning safer, faster, easier and more effective are at your fingertips. Learn more using the links below.

Clean and Wash


Solvent Cleaning and Vapor Degreasing

Repairing and removing corrosion

With metal stripped down and clean, your inspection begins. Are there dents, scrapes or gashes that need to be repaired before paint can be applied? Corrosion also needs to be removed from parts and panels both inside and outside the aircraft.

We’re out to make the process easier and faster with products like the 3M™ SR Cutter, a plastic rotary cutting tool that attaches to your drill and efficiently peels off sealants or other thick coatings with minimal or no abrasion to the base material. Forget about tedious hand scraping and messy chemical solvents. The 3M™ SR Cutter helps you save time and increase productivity.

This and other 3M engineered solutions help make quick work of sealant removal, corrosion removal and more—so you can rapidly move forward in the painting process.

Corrosion Protection & Removal

Protecting and preparing for paint

Gaps and spaces are potential corrosion hotspots. Wherever you think water might leak in and cause corrosion on your aircraft, applying a film or sealant before painting can help prevent that from happening. There are also parts of the aircraft like windshields and more that need to be masked and protected before paint is applied.

Solutions like our 3M Paint Masking Tape 231 can make all the difference. This tape was created specifically for aerospace applications and the demands of most aircraft painting applications. It is designed to save time, with clean removal even following multiple bake cycles.

3M High Performance Green Masking Tape 401 features a solvent-free adhesive and high-strength crepe paper backing for excellent conformability and bleed-through resistance in most industrial paint systems. This tape is excellent for masking around corners and contours.

To keep work areas cleaner while painting and easier to clean up when you’re done, 3M™ Dirt Trap Protection Material is specially engineered to protect surfaces. Its adhesive backing keeps it in place wherever you put it while its nonwoven construction traps airborne contaminants to help control dust and overspray.

Explore all the ways 3M science can help you protect and prepare for paint faster, easier and better while saving time and money.

Surface Preparation

Surface Protection

Painting like the pros

With the surface to be painted protected and prepped, you’ve helped ensure the most flawless paint finish possible. Whether you’re painting the entire aircraft, a small panel or part, or painting stripes or other designs, 3M offers the equipment and tools that help make the job faster, easier and safer with excellent results.

Top of the list is the 3M™ PPS™ Series 2.0 Spray Cup System which has been reinvented from top to bottom to make your paint spraying operations more efficient with less cleanup. And, the 3M™ Performance Spray Gun is the smarter way to spray. It showed a 78% transfer efficiency rating when tested by an independent evaluator. That’s higher than the competition and means less paint material wasted and a cleaner painting area.

As the inventors of masking tape, 3M offers tapes designed specifically for the challenges of airplane masking and painting, including masking metal and composites and preventing powerful stripping chemicals from degrading valuable parts and surfaces.

We offer practical products like the trusted 3M™ Disposable Protective Coverall 4540+M to protect against light liquid splashes and hazardous dusts. And you’ll find virtually every kind of respirator in our line-up, including the 3M™ Versaflo™ Powered Air Purifying Respirator that lets you choose from particulate filters or gas and vapor combination cartridges for protection in a variety of environments.

Explore the many ways we can help you paint like a pro, with confidence in the final finish.


Finishing the job with pride

Your aircraft painting assignment is complete, but not yet finished. Now comes the meticulous job of looking for any paint defects like nicks or bubbles, correcting them and buffing them out to a smoother, deeper finish.

3M Blue Abrasives use a scientifically balanced blend of ceramic and aluminum oxide minerals to cut cleanly and help evacuate dust from the abrasive surface, increasing efficiency and extending abrasive life. With 3M™ Cubitron™ II Hookit™ Clean Sanding Film Discs and 3M™ Cubitron™ II Stikit™ Paper Discs both help you get the job done faster with built Precision-Shaped Grain technology that provides fast cut and long life. In fact, they cut up to 2x as fast as conventional abrasives.

Once the paint finish is perfected to your liking, you may want to apply 3M films and sealants as protection before the final step—looking on with pride at a job well done.


Enhancing your paint & coating productivity and efficiency

Live Streamed or On Demand Webinar

Enhancing your paint & coating productivity and efficiency

Live Streamed or On Demand Webinar

Enhancing your paint & coating productivity and efficiency

Live Streamed or On Demand Webinar

  • Learn how you can improve your paint and coatings process with the new 3M™ Performance Spray Gun. Plus find out about limited time exclusive offers available to you.

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