Potato Based Paint Remover

Spud's Public Relations Service
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83403
October 6, 1993
(208) 524-SPUD

For Immediate Release



A Burley, Idaho, inventor has responded to the public's concern on the need for ideas on safe applications of the potato gun. Some people have objected to the use of these devices by untrained individuals and outside the field of industrial settings.

Pop (Mr. Potato Head) Hutchins of Burley, Idaho, is the designer of the potato pellet paint pulverizer. A major innovation in the field of pollution prevention and waste minimization, this device has resulted in substantial changes in the biodegradable qualities of paint removed from brick buildings.

The device works as follows. Two cylinders of compressed gas - one of carbon dioxide and the other of liquid nitrogen - are attached under pressure via feed lines to a squirt gun. The squirt gun has an assembly on the rear for feeding, processing, and chopping potatos into pellets. It is a retrofitted with a gun barrel from a .44 Magnum.

The top of the gun assembly has a covered bowl which contains the potatos. These are fed one at a time into a chopper which creates the potato pellets. The pellets enter the gun barrel chamber and are instantly frozen by the liquid nitrogen which is at a temperature of about 300 degrees below 0 F.

Then a combined electric themocouple and timing mechanism sensing the completion of the freezing operation, injects the carbon dioxide into the barrel. This hurls the now rock solid frozen potato pellet at a speed of over 600 mph at whatever the gun is aimed at. Advanced models of the gun can eject the pellets from the gun barrel faster than the speed of sound creating the well known "potato pop" as an analog to the sonic boom of jet fighters.

The device has been used to remove paint from bricks on old buildings. The potato pellets mash themselves into oblivion against the stone removing the paint in the process. The paint embedded pellet then drops to the floor of the work area.

Upon defrosting, the mash biodegrades in normal sunlight at any ambient air temperature above 40 F. It is believed that the spuds contain an as yet unknown chemical substance which is activated by the freeze / thaw cycle of the pellet creation and use flow. This substance changes the lead and chemical pigments in the paint into garden variety dirt. The inert byproduct can be shipped to any sanitary landfill or compressed into bricks for the construction trades. However, it cannot be eaten nor reconstituted.

The inspiration for this device is said to be the use of similar machinery in the food processing industry to make Tater Tots®. Mr. Hutchins won a technology transfer award last year from the federal government for his invention.

Incidentally, the frozen potato pellets have been tested for impact against humans. They are not a hazard at a distance of more than six inches. The reason is that the pellets are aero-dynamically instable and thus quickly lose their velocity through the air. However, they can leave a whooping bruise if encountered earlier in flight.

These instruction are for professional use only -- don't try this at home.

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