Haven't posted lately on the preservation of my 16 Coupelet so here are a few photos on how I'm preserving some of it.
I have a bead blaster setup but nowhere to use it so instead I've decided to use electrolysis for rust removal. Works excellent to preserve the patina but without rust.
With that the dilemma was how do I remove the rust from the running boards? Scraping or sanding doesn't work so I built a large electrolysis tank from a 45 gal trash can purchased from home depot.
Next add water, a couple of cups of calcium carbonate and electricity. Let the part soak over night. Scrub the part to remove the film and you get the original metal back.
Here are photos of the setup along with the results.
That looks great. I've never tried electrolysis but that looks like the way to go, especially with a preservation car.
How many volts? Are those conductors running down the sides of the barrels? or just battery clamps on a wire dipped in the solution. Details! I have a lot of rust that needs your help. :-)
I've done it with a battery charger set on 12 volts. For metal down the sides (electrodes), rebar is OK. Old mower blades are good, too.
Wow! I'm impressed! What a great result.
May be a silly question Steve, but was your charger set on 2 amps or 10 amps?
The power supply in the picture was not used. For some reason it doesn't like this setup. Funny because I've been using it on a smaller setup for several months without issue, no biggy.
The setup as shown consists of a 45 gallon Rubbermaid garbage can with no holes on the bottom (very important), two pieces of scrap mild steel (anodes) and a solution of calcium carbonate (purchased from home depot). It's used to bring the ph level up in pools. You can also use washing soda, not baking soda.
The anodes must protrude into the tank as shown and may not contact the piece you want to clean. Add water and the calcium carbonate.
The leads from the a 12 or 24vdc power supply are as such; positive on anode or anodes, negative on the piece you want cleaned. Do not use stainless steel anode's a poisonous gas is created. Mild steel works fine.
I am currently using a forty year old Craftsman battery charger (which was my grandfathers) that will show six amps on the ammeter. A new style of electronic battery charger will not work. More voltage and current the faster the part will come clean.
After the process I scrub the black oxidation layer that is present and rinse with water. I've used this method on all but the metal hood former due to it's shape. After rinse I dry parts and spray with wd40 or your choice of protector, parts will flash rust pretty quick but here in California it's not a big issue.
I've used rebar as Jeff states and it works okay but the flat steel works better because of surface area.
How can you tell if your charger is electronic or not?
Here is a link to hi-resolution pictures of the setup.
Most old school chargers have a step down transformer and one or two diodes and possibly a thermal cutout that's it. Either half or full wave rectifier.
Electronic type will not have a transformer inside, it might also have some push buttons or a small LCD screen to check voltage/amps.
Also keep in mind that chargers with polarity protection must have an over ride
switch or setting to get the charger to start when there is no battery in the circuit.
Yes, electrolysis is a cheap & great method - often used by museums when they try to preserve iron parts from archeological excavations.
I've used it a lot on small parts - might try a larger vat when I fix that rusty hood..
How are you going to protect the metal from new rust? Linseed oil?
Ok, you're from California, so just avoiding moisture might work
When I had the sign business I learned that good work can be ruined by rust forming under paint. It was disappointing and costly when a fingerprint-shaped rust blister formed on an enamel sign because somebody had handled the bare metal with sweaty hands. The cure was surgical gloves and metal prep. The prep we used (and I still use) is DuPont 5717-S. It's a phosphoric acid solution that etches the metal surface to help paint adhesion, and prevents rust formation. I get it at O'Reilly, but I assume any auto parts outfit can get it.
While what Steve says about metal treatment is true for MOST paints, the DuPont DP epoxy primer actually bonds better to bare metal than to phosphated metal. I found this out in a series of metal finishing tests I did as a special project while in College--and later read the DuPont literature on their paint which also stated that bare metal was better for their DP primers. I had originally thought my tests had an anomaly.
Question: I've read on other sites that electrolysis can make hardened metal brittle. Can spring leaves, axles, etc. (parts that are hardened steel) be treated this way with no danger of embrittlement? Just curious what others on the forum say...
I made a vat kinda quick yesterday by takeing the Husky chainsaw to a big plastic drum and takeing the top off.
I have my grandparents old late 40's push lawnmower body half it in with the battery charger and all hooked up.It aint doing to well speed wise but it is looseing up the rust and old paint which will make it easyer to wire brush off with the 4.5 inch grinder.
Any reason to think this wouldn't be an effective way to remove rust from seat springs before priming/painting them and them upholstering? Seems like it would be preferred to sand blasting for something that will spend the next 20-30 years concealed with upholstery.
As Phillip mentioned on Monday, while electrolysis removes rust it does leave a black residue you want to scrub off before you paint. That's easy on some parts, but might be difficult on items like seat springs.
I haven't tried this myself, but I've heard of people digging a large hole in the ground and lining it with plastic sheeting to make a tank for big things like frames and fenders.
I can clean small nuts and bolts in 3 to 4 hours but larger parts take at least 24hrs.
Jeff is correct you will have a black layer on the parts, easily removed with the cleaner of your choice. I use Purple Power (available at auto stores) and a stiff plastic brush.
Richard, if your charger says solid state it probably wont work. I find old chargers cheap at the flea mkt. KB
Good electrical contact is needed throughout for effective rust removal. I have cleaned a couple steering columns with mixed results. Things like the base and quadrant which are riveted on may or may not be cleaned. Spark and throttle levers, springs and keepers even less likely to be cleaned.
Using a higher voltage may work better on complicated units or it may not. Higher voltage does present some technical issues and hazards. It would require better current regulation.
I don't know how others have found, but I find I tend to get better results by using my dual voltage charger on six volts rather than twelve.
I doubt that seat springs would clean very thoroughly due to poor and inconsistent electrical contact between the dozens of wires, clips, and springs. Worth a try though. You will probably have to move your power clip around several times to get most of it.
As for cleaning the black residue off. I use soft abrasive scrubbing pads and a garden hose running a very slow stream of water. I follow the cleaning with a light spray of phosphoric metal prep solution to prevent flash rusting.
Drive carefully, and enjoy the holidays! W2
Any thoughts on this? Yesterday I set it up described above. The battery charger did not register anything on the meter at that time. This morning there was a lot of rust/orange scum on the top of the water, and the part was significantly clearer of rust, but still needed more time in the bucket. Upon returning the part to the solution, now the meter pegs itself off the end and the charger circuit breaker pops? Nothing changed? Still positive on the anode, and negative on the part
Doug,your part is touching the metal and shorting out.Seperate the part from the anode.
The old push mower of my grandparents was very rusty.Last tuesday evening I put it in a barrel and turned it over and around and such and when I checked it saterday morning it didnt look much different.
Well,I took it out,wiped it down,and then decided I wanted to get it done.So I got the little grinder with wire wheel on it and poof,soon as I touched the metal the rust and paint were GONE.5 minutes that entire thing was spotless.
It is now red and ready to reassemble.
It worked on the handles overnight.
The black coating rubs or brushs or sands right off.
duh - anode cannot touch the part
Are you using the right chemical in your tank? Has to be calcium carbonate (available at most hardware stores) or washing soda. Not baking soda.
Part cannot touch anodes or you will have short circuit. On the setup shown above I was pulling 5 amps with a old Craftsman 12v charger. You should see bubbles coming from the part. Any amperage will work but the lower amps will take longer.
I've also found that both connections (plus, minus) must be good. Rusty parts do not provide a good clamping surface, you might have to clean a spot off.
duh - anode cannot touch the part