This weekend I sanded... and sanded... and sanded... Ok, maybe that's a bit of exaggeration, but it sure feels like it this morning. About three hours with 80 grit on the belt sander, with a bit of time from the orbital to get some of the smaller sections and the interior parts.
I did everything I could with the belt and orbital. The particle board above and behind the monitor had some surface bumps that needed to be take off, and off came the rest of the black. I looked like the paint had been too wet and caused blistering of the particle board. It will never be completely smooth, but it's way better now.
Part of the reason it took so long is I would have to stop every five minutes or so and vacuum the cabinet to get the paint dust off, even with the shop vac hooked up to the dust pickup on the sander. The other purpose was to let the sanding belt cool. If it didn't the dust+hot belt=melted paint, which would gum up the belt in a heart beat.
I made one big mistake. U was working on the back of the cabinet, at the top, where the serial number is (was) stamped into the back edge of the top. The numbers, even though they look it, do not go very deep at all, and 80 grit on a belt sander removes them before you know it. What is more annoying is that I had intentionally left the t-moulding in place to help protect the edges for the heavy duty part of the sanding. It helps keep from causing splintering or from rounding of the edges accidentally. But I didn't think to protect the serial number. At least I have documentation of the original stamping. While I'm not trying to do an absolute, museum accurate, restoration, I might just have to see about re-stamping the serial when I'm done.
The next phase will be a quick run back over everything with 120 grit, then working on all the corners and hard to reach spots with oscillating multi-tool with sanding shoe. After that, a pass over everything with 240, using just the orbital and multi-tool.
Then the bondo comes out. The main sides and front are in quite good shape, with a few dents here and there. The edges that aren't protected by t-moulding, on the other hand, are well splintered along most of their length. Bondo gets sanded down, up to 240 grit.
We'll see how that turns out and either prime it and run another pass over everything with 320 grit.