Removing paint from an old baseboard radiator

We have an old convection baseboard radiator with paint chips peeling away in certain sections. Some sections the paint is securely fastened to the surface. Would like to strip all the sections down so as to make a smooth surface.
This is an image of what the this radiator looks like.
http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://asp2.walkontheweb.com/gooverboard/assets/measuring/install2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://asp2.walkontheweb.com/gooverboard/measuring.htm&h 5&w 0&sz&hl=en&start=3&um=1&tbnid=9htfv8QgSscmQM:&tbnh&tbnw4&prev=/images%3Fq%3D%2Bbaseboard%2Bradiator%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-US
I was thinking of scrapping the peeling part and using some sort of stripper to remove the rest. This is also some minimal rusting and old paint beneath.. Might need to do some sanding to make it smooth after I'm finished. (I don't have a sander, but been wanting to buy one for some time. So, that isn't a big issue. Any type of sander recommendation would be appreciated.)
Any idea on how I might tackle this job. Not sure on what type of chemical stripper to use or whether using some sort of heat gun might be a better idea? (Amazon has one on sale) (Amazon.com product link shortened)'7661601&pf_rd_snter-41&pf_rd_t 1&pf_rd_i000A14RC&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_rJ1A2A9859091M5468Z
I don't have one of these either, but in the spring I could use it to remove old paint around the windows.
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http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://asp2.walkontheweb.com/gooverboard/assets/measuring/install2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://asp2.walkontheweb.com/gooverboard/measuring.htm&h 5&w 0&sz&hl=en&start=3&um=1&tbnid=9htfv8QgSscmQM:&tbnh&tbnw4&prev=/images%3Fq%3D%2Bbaseboard%2Bradiator%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-US

(Amazon.com product link shortened)'7661601&pf_rd_snter-41&pf_rd_t 1&pf_rd_i000A14RC&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_rJ1A2A9859091M5468Z

I wouldn't bother stripping it all. I just painted some wooden windows which had the same issue. I removed all the loose chips, and left the good stuff in place. I used fine sandpaper to feather the edges where the intact paint met the places without paint. First coat of real paint almost made the transition areas vanish. Second coat of real paint turned out like glass. Real paint would be the premium stuff, like Devoe or Martin-Senour, which I used. You won't find it at Home Depot or Lowe's.
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Because it is metal, I would use old automobile body work techniques to get a good surface. -First, hand wet sandpaper (using wet/dry sandpaper and water) using a rubber sanding block to feather out the chips and clean up bare or rusted surfaces. -Second, prime with a good metal primer, one designed to be sanded without gumming up sandpaper. -Third, sand the primer, any low spots that show up use body putty, a lacquer based putty that can be spread over low spots to build them up level. Sand the putty level, add more and sand again if needed to get smooth. -Fourth, prime and gently sand again to smooth surface. -Fifth, apply two coats of semi-gloss or gloss enamel to get a good hard smooth surface.
They will look great.

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://asp2.walkontheweb.com/gooverboard/assets/measuring/install2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://asp2.walkontheweb.com/gooverboard/measuring.htm&h 5&w 0&sz&hl=en&start=3&um=1&tbnid=9htfv8QgSscmQM:&tbnh&tbnw4&prev=/images%3Fq%3D%2Bbaseboard%2Bradiator%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-US

(Amazon.com product link shortened)'7661601&pf_rd_snter-41&pf_rd_t 1&pf_rd_i000A14RC&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_rJ1A2A9859091M5468Z

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They have probably had several coats of latex paint smeared on them through the years. I would take them off the wall, get them outside, and try washing them down with lacquer thinner to remove the layers of latex down to the original baked enamel. Paint remover does not work well on latex in my experience. The other choice would be to feather out any chips, etc with sand paper, remove any brush marks, etc. I would plan on using spray paint for the finish. If you get all the way to bare metal, I would shoot them with primer first.
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Before I monkeyed too much, I'd consider new covers. They aren't big money, and if you might even be able to buy the covers separate. For example: http://www.pexsupply.com/categories.asp?cIDy6&brandid
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Charlie S. wrote:

Both EXT and DanG gave you good info on the "how to" but I think marson's suggestion of replacing the covers makes the most sense. If your covers have a stamped pattern like the one you linked they would be a PITA to power sand.
In the event you decide to redo, pay particular attention to the areas of rust. Unless they are really superficial you'll need to remove all finish from an area somewhat beyond the rust area by thorough sanding, clean it well (no water) and use a rust conversion chemical to convert the remaining ferric iron oxide (rust) to ferrous iron. Once done, clean again, prime and paint. By "rust conversion chemical" I mean something like Rusticide...things that contain a mild acid, often phosphoric acid.
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Charlie S. wrote:

something else, you are probably better off replacing them. Paint remover works very well and quicker on metal than on wood. Easy to do, but difficult in my experience to totally get rid of rust. If they are aluminum, then it would be easie to sand and repaint. If repainting rusted metal, it has to be cleaned entirely of rust and then cleaned up and primed right away; don't even want salty fingerprints on it.
Haven't done it, but I suspect that replacing the covers would be cheaper and easier in the long-run.
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After reading the posts I get feeling I may go with replacing the units. Doesn't look like it will cost much more than $100 and will save me lots of aggravation.
Thanks everyone for your help!
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clipped

cleaned so much that the bare metal was beginning to show through. I sanded lightly, took off dust, wiped down with denatured alcohol to make sure it was extra clean. I use Preval sprayers for small jobs and they work like a charm - 8 oz. bottle with cartridge of air and spray tip that screw on; you put your own paint into them. I used Rustoleum primer and Rustoleum enamel and the darn thing looks like new. I was careful not to paint the plate with the label and knobs, and it looks like original paint. Preval's are great for small jobs, as the spray pattern is relatively small and there is very little overspray.
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Never heard of Preval sprayers. After thinking over buying new radiators I realized that I may just sand it down a bit and paint over it. May try your Preyal sprayer idea or just paint with a brush.
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