Saturday, January 4, 2014

Rust Removal Using Electrolysis (part 1)

Many  people have publish how to's so I am just going to show you my setup.  I wanted to start with a small setup and clean a few small engine parts.  Sort of a small scale test setup.

I found a plastic container at hardware hank..  I had the metal strap for the anodes and steel wire on hand.  Copper wire was from a used bit of romex I found in the shop.

I could not find washing soda so I bought a cheap box of baking soda at wallmart. See this link on converting baking soda to washing soda.

The ammeter on my battery charger was busted during a move back in the 80s.  While shopping at TSC I found one with a 2 amp trickle charge feature for $17.    This was a want more then a need as I could have used a multi meter.

It was quite easy to setup.  This was at about 4:14PM just getting started.

After only 11 minutes things were moving right along.  Very short video showing first the sacrificial anode then the part being cleaned.


I could not resist so a few minutes of 5 PM I pulled the part out and gave it a quick once over with a brass brush.

Jan 5th

I worked with this a bit more today.  It helps to run stuff through the ultrasonic cleaner first, if they fit.  Today I took apart the shroud that is going to be used on little briggs #1,    I ran the steel rope/spring pulley through the ultra sonic after just a few minutes in the electrolysis tub.

After just a few hours in the electrolysis setup it is done or nearly done cleaning.  The big clue is that the water clears and the bubbles mostly stop.

The pulley was left in the electrolysis bath over night.  There maybe a bit less white foam.

I moved it to the heated ultra sonic cleaner to see if I could get some of the black residue off.  The used water shows it  is working.

After drying there was a white residue.  Another few few minutes and a toothbrush removed it
At this point I stopped. Whatever is left on the pulley will help to keep it from rusting. I am not sure why but the front

 Random ramblings  Information is sketchy about the process.  It would seem that a higher energy flow speeds up the process.  The problem is that creates heat.  I am wondering if pulsed current at a higher voltage would give faster results then a stead DC at a lower voltage but with the same power average power level.

For example instead of using 12V @2A continous one could use 24V @2A with a 50% duty cycle.  The heating would be the same but the parts see twice the voltage potential.  In reality we might be looking at frequencies in the khz range.

Jan 7

Scored some washing soda at the Dumas Walmart today.   Also picked up 4 more lbs of baking soda to try soda blasting with.  Currently cooking the muffler and the trash screen from 3LB #1.

Jan 9
The muffler and screen are still not done.  I cleaned the tank and it was a mess.  Refiled it with unfiltered tap water and 1 Tbs each of washing soda and borax. I want to test to see if I can pull the crap out of water prior to putting in the parts to be cleaned so I have just an iron wire on the cathode.
I bought this charger thinking it had a ammeter.  Instead it has a % of charge meter which might be a volt meter.  I was a bit surprised to see that it was at 1/2 deflection.  Up to now it had only been at 1/4.

Need to hook up an ammeter to see what is really going on.

After 18 minutes the water has already changed color and the anode has started growing wiskers.

11 minutes after the power was applied.

At 5 hours (12:30 AM on the 10th) the solution had noticeably cleared.

After about 11 hours (7AM)  it is looking quite clear.. but I think it will get better.  I removed the bubbles prior to taking the picture on the left.

The solution is not getting any clearer so I just put the screen back in without cleaning.

I justed watched a youtube where a guy from east Arkansas used carbon anodes.  No brown scum!   I have no idea where to get cheap or free carbon sheets or rods.  Remember this is a low budget operation.

Jan 11th

The tank is empty and the current has been off for some time in this image.  The good news here is that all the visable crud does settle out.

Jan 13th
As you can see in the above image the anode on this setup gets covered in the much.  It might be better to position them vertical.  

The 20 gallon version in part 2 uses vertical rebar and should not have that problem.

January 15th

I was not sure the muffler was going anywhere.  So I replaced it with a plumb bob.  I also added a section of the rebar I want to use for the 20 gallon to see if I can remove the paint.  It has been in about a day.  I am willing to give it 3 or more.