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Machine Shop and Tool Talk

Cleaning up Brass castings


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  #1  
Old 08-24-2004, 03:01:19 PM
Doug Brookens
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Default Cleaning up Brass castings

I have a 2 inch Atlas brass piston pump which I'd like to use on my Oil Field engine for coolant circulation.

It's been in use a long time and is covered with layers of of oil and oxidation.

How can I clean this piece down to the bright brass?

Thanks, Doug is WA
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  #2  
Old 08-24-2004, 03:37:20 PM
murrayc
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Default Re: Cleaning up Brass castings

elbow grease
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  #3  
Old 08-24-2004, 04:13:20 PM
Chuck Martin
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Default Re: Cleaning up Brass castings

Degrease it with brake cleaner and then soak it in a strong solution of citric acid.
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Old 08-24-2004, 05:41:46 PM
Franz
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Default Re: Cleaning up Brass castings

The same electrolosys process used to remove rust from iron will get you down to brass. Shiney will require manual labor.
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  #5  
Old 08-24-2004, 10:15:17 PM
John Davidson
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Default Re: Cleaning up Brass castings

Oven cleaner works good. Buy it the grocery store. Spray it on, wait a little while and hose it off. If thick grease, might take a second time.
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Old 08-25-2004, 07:42:41 AM
Len Zook
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Default Re: Cleaning up Brass castings

Simple Green left to soak does a good job and isnt as caustic as oven cleaner. Smells good too. My buddy and I use it to clean just about everything including our hands. It did wonders removing grease from my cushman. The maytag is getting a dose of it real soon.

Giant has a brass polish in the cleaning isle but I cannot remember the name. It removes tarnish like crazy but will not polish out heavy scratches. It is in a brown bottle and has ammonia in it.

Len
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Old 08-25-2004, 09:42:00 PM
Fred Van Hook
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Default Re: Cleaning up Brass castings

At the grocery store or drug store you can find Zud. Cheap and works great. If money is no object find on the internet "FLITZ". It's another great product but a bit pricey. LOL Fred
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Old 08-26-2004, 10:35:22 AM
Bob Johnson
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Default Re: Cleaning up Brass castings

I use plain old ketchup to start with to remove the crud on brass. Flitz is a great polish for brass

Bob out west on the high desert
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Old 08-26-2004, 04:10:07 PM
Kid Dynamo
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Default Re: Cleaning up Brass castings

Making sure not to damage any seals that might be intolerent, I use paint thinner to clean brass items. When the grease is all removed, I use hot water and liquid dishwashing soap and stiff plastic bristle brushes. I stay clear of wire brushes, scotchbrite, or anything that will scratch the surface. I have Flitz, Brasso, and other brass polishes, but seldom use them.

The idea is to keep the original patina that formed on the parts at manufacture. Scratching, scuffing, and polishing/buffing permanently removes this original finish.

I recently bought a beautiful pair of large, swingtop oilers that the seller was proudly touting his buffing job. He must have spent hours at a buffing wheel but as far as I'm concerned, he lowered the value. People see them and ooh and aah, but no good antique appraiser or museum curator will be so taken.

Buffed out parts are the preference of many people, for sure, but watch the "Antiques Roadshow" on PBS and you'll get the drift about original finishes and value. No doubt, all those wonderful antiques that had their original finish lost through "restoration" enjoyed a brief time where the "new" finish was admired by most onlookers. Ultimately, however, true value of original finish and patina will be recognized, I will bet.

Now, fire away !!
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  #10  
Old 05-10-2005, 12:23:02 PM
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Ray Cardoza Ray Cardoza is offline
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Default Re: Cleaning up Brass castings

Braso and lots of elbow grease of course do this after grease removal
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  #11  
Old 05-10-2005, 04:17:46 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning up Brass castings

Quickest way I have seen to remove heavy oxidization is soda blasting. Walnut shell or plastic bead would probably work as well, but you'd have to watch the pressure or the surface may end up stippled as it does when using glass beads. Soda leaves it clean and ready for buffing/polishing. Takes off dirt and paint well too!
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Old 05-10-2005, 04:22:17 PM
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Default Re: Cleaning up Brass castings

Forgot to mention: if you have rough or damaged castings you want to smooth down before polishing, the Walter "Qwik-step"(sp?) abrasive pads on a 5" angle grinder are great. Come in three grits and they work FAST! Velcro backed so changes are quick too.
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