Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Electrolysis...

It's been a few years, but I've experimented this week with something that I haven't done in awhile.

Back when I worked at a Materials and Research Lab, we used Electrolysis for several different things during specific testing we would do on different materials. We had a lab full of nifty "apparatus" to have ALL kinds of fun with - well SOME fun, some BORING.

Well, over the last few years, I've been meaning to try removing rust on old tractor parts with the process. I've seen several places online that have had great success with using it to clean things, but I've never really had the time - or the parts - to work with it.

That changed when the 1937 Farmall F-20 arrived - there are PLENTY of rusty parts that need cleaning.

I got the whole mess hooked up and turned on - and it didn't work. My Battery charger is a nifty new digital one that has a "check" mode on it. It basically checks the condition of the battery you want charged, then decides if it is worthy of being charged - if not - no juice.

Unfortunately, I didn't discover this until the part had soaked overnight.

It was decided that I had to "fool" my charger into thinking it was still working on a battery, instead of cleaning a rusty part. I had to install a 12 volt battery between the charger and the part so it would read it, and move out of "check" mode, and into "charge" mode.

As soon as I did that, things happened fast - I had the first part in the tank for only 6 hours, and it came pretty clean.

Before -

Cap Before

After -

Air Cap After

If I would have left it in a few more hours, it would have been COMPLETELY clean, but I got impatient. I'll hit it with a light sanding, and it will be ready for prime/paint.

I've got bigger "fish" in the tank now - the air intake manifold. It will take several hours to clean, but I can't wait to see the results.

One of these days (hopefully), I'll get ALL the tractor back to red again. There is several years of rust to get rid of before that, though...

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