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How to Remove Rust Effectively from Parts at Home

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Old Mar 10th, 2010, 19:40   #1
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Last Online: Jun 17th, 2024 13:58
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Warwickshire
Default How to Remove Rust Effectively from Parts at Home

Here is a simple method to remove rust that is very effective, extremely gentle and low in cost. Iíve been talking to Mitch1971 about this process for a few weeks now. Anyway, here goes.

Most of you will already have what is required at home. The results are very impressive. Have a look at the pictures for an idea of what is possible.

Right, gather together the following:-

A bag of Household soda crystals - to make the electrolyte
Low voltage power source (a battery charger generally works)
Plastic Container - size relative to the job you intend to tackle
A piece of sheet steel or similar (the sacrificial element)
Your rusty component

Use a good table spoon of soda crystals per 2.5 litres of water. Mix the required amount of electrolyte to cover your component. Connect your component to the negative side of the power supply. Connect the sacrificial element to the positive side of the power supply. Switch on. Look into the tank and notice the bubbles coming off the component.

Leave it for some time. You will notice brown sludge forming at the top of the tank after a couple of hours. This is normal. The amount of time in the tank will depend upon the size of the job, the extent of the rust and the amount of current you are using.

Inspect the job every couple of hours. The rust will just flake away as the process progresses. Turn it once in a while as this process is more or less line of sight.

You will end up with a black film on the job. This will scrub away with a nylon brush. Iíve taken to using the wire wheel on my angle grinder for large jobs.

Itís not possible to damage the job by leaving it in too long as this process only takles the rust, so donít worry about this point (other than you might burn your workshop down if you leave it for days and days).

Care Points

You will have noticed the bubbles already mentioned. This is hydrogen. Better not do this in the kitchen, but somewhere with a bit of ventilation. Apparently there wonít be a big bang if it ignites, youíll just end up with brown sludge over your workshop (or kitchen).

Make sure that the sacrificial element is connected to the positive side. Donít get it wrong as you will damage the component that you are trying to restore.

Donít use a stainless steel sacrificial element. This will result in some rather unpleasant chemicals in the electrolyte (hexavalent chromium). Not a pleasant chemical to ingest along with your Shreddies and tricky to dispose of correctly.

Donít over do the current. Apparently hydrogen embrittlement becomes a problem. I think that you will need to give it a fair bit of welly for this to be a real problem though.


I keep the current between 0.5 and 2 amps.

The electrolyte is easily disposed of. It isnít harmful.

I change the electrolyte when it becomes dirty.

In hard water areas the electrolyte will be cloudy. This is normal.

The job in the photos is an Amazon upright. It was left in the tank for about 12 hours. I rotated it after some hours for the reasons already mentioned. I finally cleaned the component with a wire wheel to remove the black film. This took a minute or two. Simple as that.

There is a fair bit of info on the net about this process.

Right, thatís it, go and de-rust stuff. Any questions, let me know.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg The Stuff.JPG (32.3 KB, 180 views)
File Type: jpg Set-up 1.JPG (123.5 KB, 219 views)
File Type: jpg Set-up 2.JPG (76.3 KB, 223 views)
File Type: jpg Pre Process.JPG (89.2 KB, 265 views)
File Type: jpg Post Process.JPG (80.3 KB, 280 views)
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