Removing Factory Printed Letters or Numbers (Microsol)

How you can use Microsol to remove printed on letters or numbers.

Renumbering a locomotive or freight can seem daunting.  I previously described a method that involved wet sanding, read it here: Removing printed on lettering or numbers.  That method works great, but is not the only way to do remove lettering or numbers.

At the time of that article, I had experimented with a method that uses Microsol to soften the lettering but never got any results.  12 years later I can officially say I think I have perfected this method, and I'd like to share my results with you.

I purchased the BNSF Dash 9 written about here: Quick Look: Dash 9.  I decided to update my locomotive to match a modern unit with PTC antennas added, but I could not find a photo of 4313 with PTC, so I chose 4300, the "class" unit.

Removing printed on lettering or numbers

How I removed two numbers from an Athearn SD50

This article shows how to use 91% Isopropyl Alcohol and q-tips to remove lettering or numbers.

Recently I read a post on a forum, where someone was trying to remove printed on lettering. There were
various suggestions but it seemed nothing worked for the poster. So today I decided since I needed to
remove the "03" from UP #5003, and Athearn RTR SD50, to make it into NREX #5062, I'd make an article
out of it.

What’s needed?

91% Isopropyl Alcohol


Item you want to remove lettering from

Getting started

This process for me, took 6 steps, 6 Q-tips (referred to later as "Q-tip"), to get a good clean numberless
area. It may take you more, if you're working on rough spots, such as rivets, or hood doors.

Begin by dipping one side of Q-tip #1 in the alcohol. Dab this side onto the area to be cleaned, in my case
the "03". Once moist rub it around, slowly rolling the q-tip to avoid spreading the color to be removed
(black & red in my case). I got 3 good "buffing areas" out of the tip. Now that you've buffed those 3 times,
flip the Q-tip around, and buff with the clean dry side. Again, I got 3 good buffs out of this side. Repeat
until clean.