Rust removers

New Member here! Hello all! Anyone have a cheap (reasonable) recipe for a chemical rust remover that can be used in removing medium to heavy rust? I'm always restoring or
reclying something that has rusted. I'm aware of the dangers that can be involved. We used to do plating, etc. in the shop I worked in. Jenolite or Naval Jelly is made from what? I was told they contain Phosphoric acid, but what percentage? I'm not in a hurry, so even a "greener" solution would be okay! Right now I have all the parts from a 1923 gain drill. Will take me forever to sand all those parts. Have 1/2 dozen old handsaws and other old axes etc, that are really bad. Too give you an idea of what I'm doing. I have a sand blaster but that suit gets awful hot here in south TX. I've read about the battery charger and baking soda method, anyone know how large a charger is needed and does it work or harm the parent metal? thanks -------------------------------------
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I tried electrolytic method and found it cumbersome and inconsistent.
I use diluted muriatic acid these days and it works very well for me. Easy and works in every crevice. The post-treatment handling is all-important, basically you need to dry the part as soon as possible, and either oil it or paint it depending on your use of it.
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Iggy is right diluted muratic is fast and cheap, wants to re-rust. I stop it with a squirt of purple engine cleaner (strong caustic) after a water rinse. Still need to oil or paint.
For many parts I like phosphoric acid better. I buy it already diluted as "Lime Away" cleaner at my local Fleet Farm. This works differently, it converts rust to a black iron compound that won't re-rust. If you'd rather pay more, you can get the same chemistry in Naval Jelly or rusty metal prep.
The electrolytic method others have mentioned is best for a small amount of rust on a delicate part.
Karl
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Karl Townsend wrote:

Define "small amount of rust" I have used electrolytic cleaning on car frames, trailer frames and entire body shells.
The catch is knowing what to use. Baking soda doesn't work very well. What you want to use is Washing Soda, AKA Sodium Carbonate, AKA PH Plus pool chemical.
Fill the container with water. Now attach the wires to the parts and toss them in the water. Now add the washing soda to the water until you hit the maximum current those parts require (just watch the needle on the power supply/charger) when the needle stops rising stop adding chemical.
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Steve W.

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I find that by using a warm solution, the process works better and of course faster. Rick
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I don't mean to say it won't work. Just less trouble to clean a frame with muratic acid or a body panel with phosphoric acid. These materials are faster but a bit too rough on something delicate.
Karl
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Google "electrolysis rust removal". I've used it on a number of rusted parts, does not harm the parent metal.
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Old Chipper had written this in response to http://www.polytechforum.com/metalworking/re-rust-removers-152777-.htm :
------------------------------------- 72 Mach1 wrote:

Think I'll try it. Can you reuse the mixture or do you start new each time? Also put a few parts in a 50-50 mix of molasses and water. Found this on another forum hope it will work, had to give it a try sounds to strange to work, will post the results, later. thanks
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Ted Edwards (where is Ted these days?), who apparently knows a lot about chemistry and plating/derusting, posted his formula to the dropbox some years ago:
http://www.metalworking.com/dropbox/_1999_retired_files/E-CLEAN.TXT
This is for "brush" type removal, rather than the tank method. I use it all the time and it works brilliantly. My power supply is a 4-Amp automotive battery charger. Since I had some EDM graphite on hand, I sawed off a slab for use as the electrode. But a graphite rod available from welding suppliers should be handier.
The formula is a bit more complicated than might be necessary, but Ted knows electrochemistry and I don't, so I follow his formula.
As for the tank method, yes, you can keep re-using the mixture until it's full of crud.
The black oxide that remains is similar to that left by phosphoric acid when you use phosphoric (Naval Jelly or pool acid) on thick rust, but it brushes off much more easily. I use a small stainless brush. Sometimes I've used muriatic (hydrochloric) acid to finish it off, but only if I'm going to paint afterward.
-- Ed Huntress
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Ted hasn't shown his presence here for quite some time, Ed, more than a year and possibly closer to 2 years.
He is very knowlegable in many areas, and helped me by providing his Gears program for Smithy 3in1 machines, for threading 27 tpi.
I think someone here is a close acquaintence of Ted, maybe one of the guys from the northern plains states.
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Old Chipper wrote:

Molasses works but make SURE you wash it off very well. It also takes quite a while. I have tried just about anything while doing restorations and find electrolysis to be about the easiest and least labor intensive.
You can reuse the solution until it stops conducting. What I do then is run it through a homebuilt filter setup. Just a small pump with a LARGE filter. Then recharge the solution with some more chemical. Once it gets REALLY bad I run it through the filter then run it into the evaporator I built. That gives me the water back and the solids get tossed. Then I start over.
The tank you use is limited by your imagination. I have used tarps and pallets, large plastic totes, and poly drums.
Make SURE you DON'T try this process indoors. The process breaks the water down into hydrogen and oxygen and can REALLY ruin your day if it happens to build up and ignite. I use one of the cheap easy up structures to protect the set-up from rain.
Power supply wise a battery charger works fine.
--
Steve W.
Near Cooperstown, New York
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On 23 Nov 2008 04:01:42 GMT, cousinharry_at_dslextreme_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (Old Chipper) wrote:

----------- Be remined that Naval Jelly does not remove rust but converts it from the red to black oxide. Best solution appears to be electrolitic cleaning. Use a plastic storage container from walmart for the tank and your battery charger. Several threads on this in this NG.
Usual solution is washing soda [baking soda also works] at the rate of a tablespoon to the gallon, which is pretty tame.
google on <"electrolytic derusting"> for > 700 hits. start with http://www.stovebolt.com/techtips/rust/electrolysis.pdf http://www.woodmangler.com/Derusting/electrolytic%20derusting.html http://www.vhfsouth.org/tutorials/derusting.htm
Unka' George [George McDuffee] ------------------------------------------- He that will not apply new remedies, must expect new evils: for Time is the greatest innovator: and if Time, of course, alter things to the worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the end?
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English philosopher, essayist, statesman. Essays, "Of Innovations" (1597-1625).
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Immerse it in vinegar, check it in a month.
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F. George McDuffee wrote:

DONT EVER USE A STAINLESS STEEL ANODE or you'll risk making some seriously toxic waste. Only do it in a well ventilated area as Hydrogen gas is produced in significant quantities.
The archeologists use electrolytic derusting at very low current levels to conserve iron cannon and the like. They are interested in preserving every last detail of the surface they can. For the rest of us, a quick result that doesn't do significant damage is preferable. For most things its good if you are passing enough current to keep the derusting bath warm, but you dont want it to boil.
I'd strongly reccomend putting some sort of ballast resistor in series with the power supply to limit the current in the event of a short circuit. Avoids all sorts of unwanted excitement. I usually use a car headlamp bulb which at 60 watts rating will pass 5 amps when shorted. If things are going well, it will be glowing dull red for most parts thast will fit in a tank of about 2 litre capacity.
It helps to keep the worst of the corrosion knocked off the anode by wire brushing it at intervals if you are either doing several parts or have something big derusting over several days.
It works well with just about any alkali. A drop of detergent in the solution can help with wetting. Used solution can be stood till it settles and kept for next time.
P.S. Iggy, your favorite hydrochloric acid rust removal method works pretty well for bulk rust removal but will etch away some good metal and leaves the surface chloride contaminated which will make further rust damage more likely. If you used the acid to get 90% of the rust off, washed the object well then finished it by electrolytic derusting, you'd get a much superior result.
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I thought bluing was black oxide and I'm fairly sure that Naval Jelly takes bluing off. What up with that?
Wes
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On Nov 22, 6:01pm, cousinharry_at_dslextreme_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (Old Chipper) wrote:

I use Zep Metal Prep Dip Rust Remover from Home Depot. I can walk away and leave parts in there till I get around to using them. Karl
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Karl, i wonder if that stuff is the same as Evaporust?
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Iggy's reply is also what I use, but in addition to thoroughly washing in clean water, I also have a bath of baking soda and water. To completely neutralize the acid, after which I wash again, Steve

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On 23 Nov 2008 04:01:42 GMT, cousinharry_at_dslextreme_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (Old Chipper) wrote:
I also use baking soda (sodium carbonate) for electrolytic cleaning. I use a variable power supply so that I can control the current when de-rusting small stuff, but a light bulb in series will work for a battery charger. assume about four volts for the electrodes and drop the rest with a bulb. Due to the constant current characteristic of bulb filaments, you won't be far off if you assume a 5W bulb will give you .5A, 55W==4.5A etc. I use lead anodes because they keep the solution cleaner than steel anodes. There is some lead carbonate formed, but it's not a major issue as it's insoluble. Just don't eat it! Major issue with stainless anodes other than worries about formation of hexavalent chromium compounds is that they get inhibited by the current and eventually stop working until the current is reversed or they are abraded.
For large objects that won't fit in a tank (lathe cabinets), I've used phosphoric acid thickened with cellulose wallpaper paste with about 20% acid by volume. This appears to be close to what Jenolite is. The advantage of phosphoric acid over others is that it won't encourage further rust in crevices. It is a fairly weak acid compared with hydrochloric and sulphuric and the waste products are fairly benign. Don't pour it into the river, but don't worry about diluting and watering the garden with it. It'll green up your grass! Disadvantage is that the parts need scrubbing or pressure washing to remove the crud that gets left on them.
Mark Rand RTFM
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