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Thread: Electrolysis rust removal

  1. #1
    thehomeengineer's Avatar
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    Electrolysis rust removal

    Hi All,

    After viewing many ideas for rust removal, I have decided to have a go at electrolysis. I have been very impressed with the articles and results that have been posted on this subject.

    For my build I have tried to do this as cheaply as possible. The bucket and power supply were purchased from eBay, bucket priced at £1 and the power supply £12. The control box was from Maplin priced at £2 and the soda crystals £1 from supermarket. The wire crimps are a few pence each. The Anodes are cut from a piece of black bar found in a skip and all other parts were salvaged items from scraped finds.

    The power supply is 240V AC input 12V DC output.
    Electrolysis rust removal-img_1435.jpg
    Back of control box
    Electrolysis rust removal-img_1437.jpg
    Front of control box
    Electrolysis rust removal-img_1438.jpg
    Photo showing bucket with six anodes linked together
    Electrolysis rust removal-img_1440.jpg
    Six steel anodes (+) and cathode (-) across bucket.
    Electrolysis rust removal-img_1441.jpg
    Complete set up. NOTE: The lid will not be in place when the process is taken place, when not in use all items can be stored in side the bucket and the lid will keep eveything together.
    Electrolysis rust removal-img_1442.jpg

    Thank you for viewing. I will post the results of first rust removal/clean up when completed.

    The Home Engineer.

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    Battle of Rust.

    Quote Originally Posted by thehomeengineer View Post
    Hi All,

    After viewing many ideas for rust removal, I have decided to have a go at electrolysis. I have been very impressed with the articles and results that have been posted on this subject.
    Front of control box
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Photo showing bucket with six anodes linked together
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thank you for viewing. I will post the results of first rust removal/clean up when completed.
    The Home Engineer.
    I'm not a practicing electrician; though I can R&R 1 & 3ph components safely, locate 12V DC faults, and maybe pre-plan layouts. thehomeengineers electrolysis unit intrigues me no end. Text and two photos tell me everything [?] I need to know. Iron anodes, a non-corrosive cathode, battery clips, crimp terminals, series circuitry. Knowing the UK is single phase but higher primary voltage, resolves questions about the power supply input. I do pause at appropriate amperage, but constructing one is in my future.
    P.S.
    If anyone has spare time; a very complete spreadsheet of electricals for the shop is ready...Took some [A LOT!] work and study, but did it entirely on my own in Excel. Did the same to estimate amount of wire needed, almost 13,000 feet.
    Hint Hint
    Last edited by Toolmaker51; 04-01-2018 at 07:52 AM. Reason: goofed-up looking qoute
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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    I've done some Electrolysis rust removal in the past. It is a simple process just need to have a catalyst in the water for conductivity I used common baking soda but Borax washing powder works just as well. For my power supply is just used a small car battery and a 10 amp battery charger. the Anodes are sacrificial and work better if periodically the deposits are scraped off. Use only in well ventilated areas and try not to breathe the gas coming off the solution even through a respirator since the gas will be a mixture of hydrogen-sulfide and sulfur-dioxide and if there is any zinc or galvanized materials in the mix zinc-oxide gas can be deadly.
    I never went to the trouble that you did I simply placed a single piece of steel in the bottom of the tub then suspended the part to be cleaned above it. I have had moderate success with reversing the process by using pure copper as the cathodes and the part as the anode, then repeating using a hand full of nickles and a pound of nickle powder mixed in the solution I just needed a better catalyst
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
    When I have to paint I use http://kbs.justoldtrucks.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank S View Post
    Use only in well ventilated areas and try not to breathe the gas coming off the solution even through a respirator since the gas will be a mixture of hydrogen-sulfide and sulfur-dioxide and if there is any zinc or galvanized materials in the mix zinc-oxide gas can be deadly.
    That might reposition where I'll place this to operate!
    I knew there's offgassing, couldn't even speculate on the composition.\

    I have remnant plated ground rod for the cathode and all kinds of mild steel for anodes...
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toolmaker51 View Post
    That might reposition where I'll place this to operate!
    I knew there's offgassing, couldn't even speculate on the composition.\

    I have remnant plated ground rod for the cathode and all kinds of mild steel for anodes...
    the out gassing will smell like the overcharging of a car battery also very flammable. All that being said I did a lot of rust removal in a small room in my 3 rd floor apartment of an 8 story building in Kuwait the window in the room had an exhaust fan that opened to a vent shaft in the center of the building . no one ever smelled it the key to keeping any fire hazard or risk of explosion is to keep the hydrogen saturation levels very low I kept a small box fan near the unit blowing fresh air across it the door to the room had a vent near the floor one other note if doing this for a period of several days in a row cover anything near by with plastic that you do not want to have to clean
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
    When I have to paint I use http://kbs.justoldtrucks.com/

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    The anodes, if made of graphite, will not corrode and the material removed from the steel will simply settle to the bottom of the bath.

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    Frank S, were you nickel plating as a means of rust protection when you reversed the process? How did you clean your surfaces?

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    As usual, an extremely neat and well built iteration, of an electrolysis setup. Your red jumper wires - to the cathode bars - look heavy enough to start a car. (Jumper cable?) ☺

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    Quote Originally Posted by neilabourjaily View Post
    Frank S, were you nickel plating as a means of rust protection when you reversed the process? How did you clean your surfaces?
    As an engineer in the middle East I also had a coveted chemical license which meant I could buy phosphoric acid concentrate I diluted it with distilled water heated to about 120° then rinsed in boiling water before placing in the electro. bath with copper anodes and copper sulfate then a hot water rinse then in a bath with the nickles I could buy copper sulfate at the paint stores they used it as a tinting agent for antiquing picture frames and furniture but I could never find any nickle sulfate the blue salt so I had to use baking soda as my salt the result was not a pristine nickle finish more on the blackish side even after cleaning or polishing but it was more just to see what happened than anything else. on some scrap bits of metal.
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
    When I have to paint I use http://kbs.justoldtrucks.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew1966 View Post
    The anodes, if made of graphite, will not corrode and the material removed from the steel will simply settle to the bottom of the bath.
    As in carbon arc gouging rods?
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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