I have a few zinc plated steel retainer brackets that are of no
general value. 3/8 by 1" in cross section, slieghtly bent.
I wanted to use them for welding practice, but I need to remove zinc
first. Is there some easy thermal or chemical way to do it, like maybe
put in a barbeque for an hour, or acid or something like that?
Lye removes zinc. The stronger and hotter the quicker. The cool thing about it
is that while the part is in the lye solution the zinc works to derust the part
too, so your part should come out looking shiny and new but no longer
zinc-plated. The bad news is that Red Devil lye went out of business so now it's
quite a bit harder for us home shop guys to buy lye.
I think I have some lye based drain cleaner. I will check. Cool idea.
By the way, lye did not work too well for me to clean drains, and I
used sulfuric acid instead to great effect (and a lot of smell).
I will use eye protection and chemical gloves.
Muriatic acid. I can clean off the ends of electrical conduit in about 15
minutes in the regular hardware-store dilution.
About four years ago, I think, we were talking about this here and there was
some worry about rusting resulting from chloride left in the pores of the
steel from this treatment, plus neutralizing in lye solution. So I ran a
test. I treated four pieces and just washed them off with tap water, very
thoroughly, and put them on the shelf in my basement. It's about average
dampness down there. I haven't touched them since, but I look at them every
once in a while. I just looked -- still no rust at all, after four years.
They're as bright as the day I put them there.
This is the treatment I've used for making my welding and brazing practice
pieces. I still wear one of the cheap 3M masks that protect against
We always use 30% muriatic acid sold for $2 a gallon at the home stores
for cleaning concrete and mortar or at pool supply places for lowering
the ph. Do this OUTSIDE, it liberates hydrogen that will rust anything
else in sight. Usual comments about gloves and goggles. When you are
done, you can neutralize it with garden lime. You wind up with a rather
contaminated batch of zinc chloride.
Ferric Chloride (for making PCBs). It seems to remove zinc from galvanized
washers. No fumes, less worry about spills.
Interesting: Some people recommend neutralizing the FeCl after the etch. I
found if I did it with baking soda the part rusted *in front of my eyes*.
I do that.
What I have is a super saturated tank of baking soda. That is
take say 3 gallons of water and add several pounds of Baking soda.
It will be cloudy as baking soda is fine and is breaking down.
You want so much in the tank that there are layers in the bottom.
When used, the acid like water dissolves more soda and goes back to soda water.
If I recall, the item flash rusted when there were ions still on the steel
and there wasn't enough soda to change it.
There are several chemicals useful.
Lye good as is strong base
Ammonia (stinky) but best due to the liquid.
Baking Soda Easily obtained in the cooking section - big box stores.
Martin H. Eastburn
@ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net
TSRA, Endowed; NRA LOH & Patron Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot's Medal.
NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder
IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member.
Michael Koblic wrote:
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I used muriatic acid. Which I have a jar of, that I use and reuse for
everything. It is working right now and I can see plenty of fine
bubbling. I will then have 16 beautiful brackets that are no good for
anything other than welding practice, so I will actually be welding
Life is good.
Just don't leave them in too long. Muriatic (dilute hydrochloric) acid will
etch the base metal and leave a porous surface if you let it stand much too
long. I try to pull it out as soon as the zinc is clearly gone.