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Machine Shop and Tool Talk

electrolytic rust removal and preservation

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Old 07-13-2003, 09:10:36 AM
George Andreasen
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Default electrolytic rust removal and preservation

So you just pulled your precious part out of the electrolytic bath and it's what? Here's my two cents worth: I check my parts at regular intervals and remove them when I'm satisfied with the results. For some reason the treatment seems to remove almost all old paint, which is a great bonus. Now if I simply toss the part on the bench and go to another project, I can be assured of a fresh coating of rust within hours..sometimes minutes. Remove the part and rub briskly with an old terry cloth towel or some other rough cloth. This takes off any remaining paint, gunk etc. Use compressed air to blow out any holes or crevices. Immediately flood the part with good 'ol WD40. Since WD40 is a "polarized" oil, it will get under the water and lift it from the surface (which is why it "dries" wet ignition points). This will prevent surface rusting for a long time. You mean I should paint over the oil?? No. Get a large bottle of the CHEAPEST rubbing alcohol that you can find. Soak a CLEAN cloth rag with it and thoroughly wipe any surface you intend to paint. The iron or steel will be super clean,take your primer and hold like it should. This is the most effective method I have found and is based on many years of being cheap...after all, those metal preparation chemicals cost money! Best to all, George
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Old 07-13-2003, 09:28:56 AM
Orrin Iseminger
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Default Re: electrolytic rust removal and preservation

I always treat my electo-cleaned parts with one of the metal prep products. They are a mix of phosphoric acid and metal salts. This treatment chemically converts the remnants of rust into iron phosphate and produces a rust-resistant surface.

The brand I use is Ospho. Jasco makes a product called "Metal Prep" and it like it better, but we cannot get it around here. Just go to your paint shop or hardware store and see what they have to offer.

DO NOT use phosphoric acid as a substitute. It actually causes severe rusting.

The directions on the Ospho bottle says that the product can be used as a primer; paint right over it.

It takes a bit of experience to use Ospho. Its action on cast iron is very vigorous. Sometimes, I'll paint the stuff on and immediately wipe off the excess with a lint-free paper shop towel.

On steel parts, I'll let the Ospho work for a few minutes, then blow off the excess with shop air. Be sure to wear goggles and a face shield. The blast of air can spray the stuff off into unexpected directions.

I have a large inventory of electro-cleaned parts around my place, waiting for a paint job. The metal treatment keeps them from re-rusting.

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Old 07-13-2003, 09:50:50 AM
George Andreasen
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Default Re: electrolytic rust removal and preservation

Orrin, Your right about Metal Prep..I used it years ago and it's effective. Like you I just can't find it around here. There is a trick with it that I learned from a body shop man years ago. If you have a large smooth surface that's rusted(like a fender) soak a towel or large cloth in the Metal Prep and just lay it over the surface. Keep it wet and lift occasionally. You will find the rust is removed and transferred to the cloth, leaving a clean surface.

I still have and use my pressure sand blaster. It's a very good tool for badly rusted items, but the "bath method" sure beats all that set up time! George
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