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Electrolysis Rust Removal System


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#16 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted July 04, 2010 - 01:35 PM

How does this work as far as long term use... do you just clean out the "gunk", once in a while, and keep using the same solution?
Also, what about storage when not in use... can you just cover the barrel and not worry about it?



It last as long as you can stand to look at it. Sludge settles to the bottom. Many pour out the top portion into another container to re-use, then discard the sludge. For a 55gl barrel the soda cost is just $2.50, so not a big deal to toss the whole shabang. As it evaporates, the soda is all still there, so just replenish with water. Yep, just cover it & not worry. The nasty water is still safe, but the sludge has to have some toxins from paint, so sludge is best disposed of properly.
I just added in my D4-10's front axle beam, spindles, & steering control arms. Getting the chassis stripped & painted, then back to a rolling chassis will get this project jump-started again!
I'm not flipping the frame until tomorrow. Still some scale on the very front part of it, but will be gone by morning I'm sure.

Edited by olcowhand, July 04, 2010 - 01:44 PM.


#17 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted July 04, 2010 - 08:44 PM

Went ahead & flipped the frame, as rust was all gone on the one end. Besides, I had to try & get it finished by Tuesday night as far as rust removal because I leave Wednesday morning to Nashville for 2 day dairy meeting. Should be done in time. After washing the one end & putting the other end into the tank, I sprayed the cleaned end with WD40 to stop the flash rusting that would have occurred for sure. Likely will have to WD the whole frame before I leave & place in dry area, as there's no way I'll have time to primer before I leave. I never took consideration of my leaving when I started this. Also have to put new front brake pads on the Cherokee....just started tipping metal to metal. Rode bike to get pads today.
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#18 dstaggs OFFLINE  

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Posted July 04, 2010 - 09:27 PM

Hey this WORKS even old dummie got it right. I took a 5gal buchet and made a ring inside the top then put 3 rods and welded them on, took a 2+4 across top and drilled a hole in it for the center with eyebolt 3hrs later old plow cleaned up with just a little brushing up now will have to make a big barrel. Thanks Daniel for the great tip.

#19 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted July 04, 2010 - 09:50 PM

Hey this WORKS even old dummie got it right. I took a 5gal buchet and made a ring inside the top then put 3 rods and welded them on, took a 2+4 across top and drilled a hole in it for the center with eyebolt 3hrs later old plow cleaned up with just a little brushing up now will have to make a big barrel. Thanks Daniel for the great tip.


Glad to have inspired you Dale! It is awesome isn't it! Smaller things clean fast, but this frame IS rather large, but still fast! If I could have immersed the entire frame, it would have been almost finished in just 24hrs! Even so, 48hrs & it should be done, all the while I can be doing something else to boot! Paint takes longer, but removing plain rust is super fast.
And you are mighty welcome Dale.

#20 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted July 05, 2010 - 08:46 PM

Frame , front axle beam & steering control rods must be finished as all boiling has pretty much stopped. No time today to clean things up, so tomorrow I will get them brushed up, dried off & WD40 over them, then put away in the old milk parlor building. VERY dry in there. After I return from Nashville, I'll degrease them, then start filling the pitted areas & prep for primer & paint. Can't wait to see this tractor begin to come back together! Still tons to do & will be months at least until finished, but it's starting to take shape at least. I love this electrolysis stuff!

DSC00215.jpg

#21 Chuck_050382 OFFLINE  

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Posted July 06, 2010 - 08:19 AM

I have been wanting to try this. May have to try it on the 990 parts.

Thanks for posting it.

#22 Chuck_050382 OFFLINE  

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Posted July 06, 2010 - 09:47 AM

I have a 100 gal plastic stock tank I am going to try and use.

#23 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted July 06, 2010 - 10:13 AM

I have a 100 gal plastic stock tank I am going to try and use.


Dang Chuck, you can drop an entire GT in that thing! LOL Just gotta one-up me! Wish I had a 100gl, then I could have done my entire frame at once. You will love the results Chuck!

#24 Chuck_050382 OFFLINE  

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Posted July 06, 2010 - 10:24 AM

LOL Just gotta one-up me!


Its the only plastic tank I have,

#25 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted July 06, 2010 - 10:28 AM

Its the only plastic tank I have,


As they say "go big or go home" LOL Least you can do a big part all at once. It will do small parts just as well as large ones too.

#26 hydriv OFFLINE  

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Posted July 06, 2010 - 01:13 PM

This does look intriguing.

In order to make this work, all you need is a large tank made of a material that does not conduct electricity, correct?

Does it matter what you use for the "rods"? You are using steel rebar, which is a really low grade of steel, as I understand it. Would a non-ferrous material such as aluminum or brass work better?

Do the rods lose material over time?

I take it that all the rods are joined together mechanically and that one lead from the battery charger is hooked to them. Does polarity matter? Do more rods around the perimeter of the tank make for a faster job/better job? Can the item to be cleaned by too far away from the rods? I'm assuming that the other battery lead is connected to the item you are trying to clean. Correct?

What if you use two battery chargers in parallel to increase the amperage to say 20 or 30 amps? What happens then? Is there any toxic or noxious fumes given off this tank while it is in operation? Is it safe to use in an enclosed building? Will the mixture freeze in cold weather? Is there a maximum amount of time you can leave an item in the tank or does it not matter because the process won't harm the steel in any way? Does the process harm any type of metal? I'm thinking about bronze/oilite bushings.

What if you increase the ratio of soda to water?

How about decals? Will it strip them off along with the paint under them?

#27 Chuck_050382 OFFLINE  

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Posted July 06, 2010 - 01:39 PM

Does it matter what you use for the "rods"? You are using steel rebar, which is a really low grade of steel, as I understand it. Would a non-ferrous material such as aluminum or brass work better?

Do the rods lose material over time?

Is there any toxic or noxious fumes given off this tank while it is in operation?

I think that the rods do lose material over time. Also I think I read that if you used Stainless for the "rods" that toxic fumes maybe given off, but I haven't studied the process thoroughly yet.

#28 Chuck_050382 OFFLINE  

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Posted July 06, 2010 - 01:43 PM

From Electrolysis - Rust Removal

The basics are pretty simple.

  • Find a container big enough to hold your part, plus some room to spare for the electrodes - they must not touch the part for this to work.
  • Fill the container with water and add 1/3 to 1/2 cup sodium carbonate (aka, laundry soda, etc.) per every 5 gallons of water. Mix thoroughly.
  • Position the sacrificial electrodes around the edge of the container and clamp them in place so that you have at least 4" of electrode above the water to connect to. The more the merrier - this is essentially a "line of sight" process between the part and the electrodes.
  • Wire all of the electrodes together so they are, electrically speaking, one big electrode. Make sure all connections are on clean metal and sufficiently tight to work.
  • Suspend your part in the solution using the wire/chains so it is not touching the bottom and is not touching any electrodes. The part must be electrically connected to the support mechanism and not connected to the electrodes for this to work.
  • Attach the battery charger NEGATIVE lead to the part and the POSITIVE lead to the electrodes. Do not get this backwards! If you do, you'll use metal from your part to de-rust your electrodes instead of the other way around -the positive electrodes are sacrificial and will erode over time. That's how the water becomes iron-rich.
  • Double check everything to be sure the right things are touching, the wrong things are not touching, and the cables are hooked up correctly.
  • Turn on the power - plug in the charger and turn it on.

Safety Precautions


You're playing with serious stuff here, so stay safe. It's not rocket science, but if you're new to this, you might not know all of this - so read up before you do any of this.

  • This process produces highly flammable and explosive hydrogen gas (remember the Hindenburg?), so do it outside, or in some other well ventilated area. Hydrogen is lighter than air (like natural gas), so it will collect near the ceiling - not sink to the floor like some other flammable vapors will (like propane and gasoline). If you have open flames near this (Hint: gas appliances like water heaters and furnaces have pilot lights!) you will most likely severely injure or kill yourself (and others near you) and become a contender for the Darwin Awards in the process.
  • Assuming you used re-bar and steel wire/chain like you were told to, the waste water resulting from this is iron-rich - it's perfectly safe to pour it out onto the grass and your lawn will love it. Beware of ornamental shrubs that don't like iron-rich soil though, unless you like making your wife mad at you.
  • Make sure the battery charger (or whatever source of power you use) stays dry. All of the usual cautions about any electrical device in a wet environment apply here.
  • The solution is electrically "live" - it is a conductor in this system. Turn off the power before making adjustments or sticking your hands into the solution. You can get a mild shock if you stick your hands into the water with the power on.
  • The solution is fairly alkaline and will irritate your skin and eyes. Use gloves and eye protection. Immediately wash off any part of your body the solution comes into contact with with plenty of fresh water.
  • Don't use stainless steel for the electrodes. The results are toxic and illegal to dump out.
  • Don't use copper for the electrodes and anything else in the water - the results are messy.


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#29 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted July 06, 2010 - 02:47 PM

Yes, you can use the 2 charger in parallel, but from my experience, one is all you need. I'm using a 12 amp & it got the frame (what was immersed)stripped in 24hrs, which is fast enough for me. I put my Hobart welder on it at 40 amps & sure did increase the boiling, but much more expensive than a battery charger to operate. The electrodes are sacrificial, so you want to use low grade steel to keep costs low. Not supposed to harm brass or other non-ferrous metals, but may stain them. As to POLARITY.....YES, VERY important. Negative goes to the item to be cleaned. Positive to the sacrificial anodes. If you hook positive to your part, YOUR PART will be eaten!!
As to increasing the soda, I don't think it helps, but too low a ratio would slow the process. I always believed on things like this that slow is better, so I'm sticking with my single 12 amp charger. It's a beat up old Scheumacker charger 4/12/75 rate. The start mode is low quality DC on most all smaller chargers, so I'd not use the start feature of a charger.
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#30 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted July 06, 2010 - 04:05 PM

Not all paint will be stripped, but what is left comes off pretty easy with a paint scraper and I don't think decals will make removal any more difficult. The black oxide that is left at the rusty areas is nasty & gets all over you when removed, but washes off easily. The best way to get the oxide off is with a wire wheel on an air drill. Using the air drill, you don't have to worry with water causing you to get electrocuted as with an electric drill. You gotta keep the oxide wet to get it off.




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