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Old 09-05-2011, 11:50 PM   post #1 of 16
Yamaguy
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Default Rust stripping electrolysis tank

I have been looking for a easy way to remove the rust from odd shaped parts and was looking at sandblasting, but it is too messy and kind of expensive to get setup and continually buying media. With the electrolysis only using washing soda, (which is harmless and can be dumped on the ground when finished) is a good alternative.

I decided to build a tank for electrolysis out of a 55 gallon drum I picked up on craigslist. I went the 55 gallon route because I am going to be restoring my snow thrower and tiller soon and want the large capacity. I used the setup found at http://1bad6t.com/rust_removal.html as a basis to my tank design. Since it will be stored outside between the garage and shed, I wanted to still be able to use the lid so it would be water tight. I have only been able to get the rebar mounted that will act as the electrodes. will update as I get further along.


Untitled by yamaguy, on Flickr

I decided go with 6 electrodes to get good line of sight coverage.


Untitled by yamaguy, on Flickr

I tacked a 1/4-20 bolt to the rebar to mount it to the tank, and also to connect the wiring.


Untitled by yamaguy, on Flickr

I ran the wires on the inside for a cleaner look.


Electrolysis tank by yamaguy, on Flickr

Here it is so far all sealed up. I put a 1/4-20 coupling on the outside of one of the bolts that the battery charger lead can hook to (not pictured)

It has the ability to strip 31" high at a time. I can't wait to use it!!
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IMG_0879 by yamaguy, on Flickr



IMG_0894 by yamaguy, on Flickr
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:51 PM   post #2 of 16
Yamaguy
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Default Re: Rust stripping electrolysis tank

I took an extra piece of rebar and welded a C-clamp to it to hang parts from.

Untitled by yamaguy, on Flickr

I drilled holes in the barrel to pass another piece of rebar to support the part hanger.

Untitled by yamaguy, on Flickr

I placed it outside between the garage and shed. Don't mind the placement of the charger, I plan to put it in the garage on the work bench so it will be out of the weather.

Untitled by yamaguy, on Flickr

I started to "treat" the depth guide wheel for my Brinly Cat-0 plow, but took it out after a few hours so that I could cook the battery tray for the 882 that I started working on.

Untitled by yamaguy, on Flickr

Even though it was only in there for 3 hours you could tell a big difference in person, but it will take an overnight soak to really clean it up.I had the battery tray cooking overnight and there was a huge improvement in the rust. Pics to follow

Overall so far I would say if you have odd shaped parts that are rust covered and don't have a sandblaster the electrolysis tank is the way to go. I would say if you follow the link I posted earlier only use a 1/3 cup of the washing soda per 5gallons of water (I used more). It also seems that once the water has a bit of rust in it it seems to allow the battery charger to be turned to a higher setting. When I put the first piece in I had to turn it down to the 6v setting or the amp gauge on the charger was almost maxed out. With my second piece I can have the charger at max output. I am not sure if things go faster at the higher setting, so if anyone has any insite that would be great.
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Cub 147-Restored_______________Cub 882 Diesel
Hydro lift (not installed)___________44" Deck
48" Deck_______________________QA-42a/b Snowthrower
Rear lift ________________________XMW cat-0 rear lift
Model 2 tiller____________________12" cat-0 Brinly plow


IMG_0879 by yamaguy, on Flickr



IMG_0894 by yamaguy, on Flickr
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:57 AM   post #3 of 16
LilysDad
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Default Re: Rust stripping electrolysis tank

Great photos! Good explanation! I have a friend who was asking me how to do electro. I'll show him this.
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:13 AM   post #4 of 16
Miaugi
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Default Re: Rust stripping electrolysis tank

That is great....looking forward to the before & after pics.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:06 PM   post #5 of 16
marlboro180
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Default Re: Rust stripping electrolysis tank

Nice setup, I really like the capacity of your tank, and the C- Clamps for hanging parts is a great idea too.

One little word of warning- the process produces hydrogen and oxygen gas , so I hope you leave the lid off while making some tractor stew.

This is probably one of the best links I have for for an e - tank:

http://www.myfordtractors.com/electrolysis.shtml
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:18 PM   post #6 of 16
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Default Re: Rust stripping electrolysis tank

Nice set up!

I saw a similair set up on a much smaller scale and it was made out of a plastic coffee container, rubber grommets and a few bolts. It was powered by an old cell phone charger (all electrolosis is DC of course) and was used for gently cleaning coins and jewelry.

A smaller version of this may be good for salvaging nuts and bolts. Put them in for a few minutes on high amp while your working on something. By the time your ready to reassemble, the fasteners are cleaned.
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Old 09-10-2011, 12:37 PM   post #7 of 16
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Default Re: Rust stripping electrolysis tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by marlboro180 View Post
One little word of warning- the process produces hydrogen and oxygen gas , so I hope you leave the lid off while making some tractor stew.

The warning above!

Electrolysis is a great way of cleaning rusty parts.

One thing I noticed is that the way you mounted the anodes in the drum. As the rust is plated off it will deposit on the rebar, necessitated the removal of the anode for cleaning. Your first indication will be a drop on the ammeter on your power source. When the current drops off you will need to pull the anodes out and wire brush them clean, then replace them in the tank.

I use scraps of concrete reinforcing mesh rolled to fit inside of the drum. The 4x4 grid gives good multi plane current flow and coverage so cleaning goes a bit faster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pocketraisins View Post
A smaller version of this may be good for salvaging nuts and bolts. Put them in for a few minutes on high amp while your working on something. By the time your ready to reassemble, the fasteners are cleaned.
My experience is that nuts and bolts in a basket in the "spooge" (rather well accepted name for the process) do not do well. To effectively clean them each fastener needs to be suspended on a wire so the current has a direct line of sight to the anode.

I use an old vibratory brass cleaner (mine was a garage sale find from a reloader's horde) loaded with resin media from Harbor Freight and plain old white vinegar instead of water and soap. SS media is also available from other sources and can be used for certain items.
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:30 PM   post #8 of 16
Yamaguy
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Default Re: Rust stripping electrolysis tank

Thanks for the reply's guys. I keep my tank outside between my shed and garage, The lid is only to cover it up when not in use so that the "spooge" does not get diluted by rain.
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Cub 147-Restored_______________Cub 882 Diesel
Hydro lift (not installed)___________44" Deck
48" Deck_______________________QA-42a/b Snowthrower
Rear lift ________________________XMW cat-0 rear lift
Model 2 tiller____________________12" cat-0 Brinly plow


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Old 09-11-2011, 09:31 AM   post #9 of 16
Burntime
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Default Re: Rust stripping electrolysis tank

I do the same with oxyclean and rebar. I also found the deep cylce 10 amp charger is the best at removal. I pull the rebar aboout every hour or so and clean off the crud. I use a 5 gallon pale and it works awesome!
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Old 09-12-2011, 01:17 AM   post #10 of 16
Yamaguy
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Default Re: Rust stripping electrolysis tank

Well today I finished the piece that totally proves to me that the electrolysis is the way to go.

Yesterday I put the depth wheel from my Brinly plow in the tank for about 20 hours.

Untitled by yamaguy, on Flickr

I know that it is just surface rust, but it was totally covering the wheel.

After I pulled it out the rust that was left just wiped off with a towel. I then rinsed it off with the hose and I could see bare metal in alot of spots. I hit it with a wire cup brush on my drill. It looked so good after just a few minuets of wire wheeling!!!!

IMG_0936 by yamaguy, on Flickr


IMG_0931 by yamaguy, on Flickr

Another advantage is that there is almost no dust kicked up when you hit it with the wire wheel!!

It is all painted up now (no pics yet). I can't wait to do the rest of the plow, it is orange because of the rust! Pics to follow!!


photo 2 by yamaguy, on Flickr
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Cub 147-Restored_______________Cub 882 Diesel
Hydro lift (not installed)___________44" Deck
48" Deck_______________________QA-42a/b Snowthrower
Rear lift ________________________XMW cat-0 rear lift
Model 2 tiller____________________12" cat-0 Brinly plow


IMG_0879 by yamaguy, on Flickr



IMG_0894 by yamaguy, on Flickr
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Old 09-12-2011, 06:55 AM   post #11 of 16
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Default Re: Rust stripping electrolysis tank

Wow,

Very impressive, Yamaguy!

When one counts the labor hours saved, and those hours available to perform other tasks, This is a money AND time saver. The results are excellent.

Again, thanks for sharing such a great, detailed 'How To' thread !!
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Old 09-12-2011, 02:37 PM   post #12 of 16
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Default Re: Rust stripping electrolysis tank

One of the nice things about "spooging" is that once the iron oxide has been converted the process stops. Basically this means you can drop something in the tank and walk away for a while (think a couple of days or more) and you don't have to worry about the part dissolving as it would in an acid bath. The worst that will happen is the electrolyte will boil away and the system will shut down due to the open circuit.

As for the electrolyte, all you need to do, once mixed is top off with water. The washing soda is still present and the electrolysis has just concentrated it. You may need to dredge the bottom of the barrel sometime if the crud builds up to deep, but other than that it is good to go.

I will add a word of caution here!!!!!!!!! For those considering this process, DO NOT use stainless steel for the anodes. There is a reaction that frees a hexavalent chrome and turns an other wise safe process into a potentially toxic generator. Re-bar is cheap and scrap metal is cheaper.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/hexchrom/
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Old 09-13-2011, 07:08 AM   post #13 of 16
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Default Re: Rust stripping electrolysis tank

http://forum.treasurenet.com/index.p...c,10898.0.html

Here is a decent link for the smaller tank. Great portable set up for doing just a few pieces especially if they are in need of delicate attention. Slower cook time and lower voltage seems to help with more delicate parts. Of course with old iron, there usually isnt much that needs "delicate" work, lol!
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Old 04-12-2013, 09:59 AM   post #14 of 16
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Default Re: Rust stripping electrolysis tank

Pretty dang cool, I'll have to remember this!
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:42 AM   post #15 of 16
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Default Re: Rust stripping electrolysis tank

Down right awesome, never thought of using a 50 gal plastic drum, but sure makes sense. Soon to retire, this will definitly be one of the projects, and a tractor cab, and a tube bender, and a backhoe....
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