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The Home Shop... Chemist?! (Warning: Metalworking Content)

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  • The Home Shop... Chemist?! (Warning: Metalworking Content)

    Ok long story short... I need to rust some ductile iron and I need it VERY RUSTY and I need it VERY RUSTY by Monday.

    I'm talking pitted flaky OMG RUST. Not pitiful red dusty surface rust.

    Normally I use a detergent, hot steam, and time to rust them to perfection... I have detergent and plenty of hot steam but I'm all out of time.

    Now, I have the following chemicals:

    Epsom Salt
    Rock Salt
    Table Salt
    Powdered Citric Acid
    Baking Soda
    Muratic Acid
    Battery Acid
    Ammonia
    Bleach
    Pool Chlorine
    Simple Green
    Pine Sol
    Ivory Soap
    Laundry Detergent
    Oxy Clean


    These I have in large quantities or I can get large quantities over the weekend.

    Is there a way to accelerate the rusting process in a controlled manner using one or more of these chemicals? Assume I have large tanks, safety gear, proper ventilation, and a environmentally safe disposal process.
    This product has been determined by the state of California to cause permanent irreversible death. This statement may or may not be recognized as valid by all states.
    Heirs of an old war/that's what we've become Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb
    Plastic Operators Dot Com

  • #2
    The electrolytic process will rust faster than anything. It is the same process as for rust removal but you reverse the anode and cathode so that you create rust instead of removing it.

    Most of us use washing soda solution for the electrolyte. Not sure which of your chemicals might work best otherwise.
    "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"

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    • #3
      Dangerous chemicals AND high voltage, man my wife is going to cuss up a storm over this one.

      I'll keep this on the back burner so to speak.
      This product has been determined by the state of California to cause permanent irreversible death. This statement may or may not be recognized as valid by all states.
      Heirs of an old war/that's what we've become Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb
      Plastic Operators Dot Com

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      • #4
        I like the reverse electrolytic process. I just rusted up a couple of pieces of CRS to test out a rust bluing process, I let the pieces etch in muriatic acid for 10 min. then hung them in a plastic garbage can with water in the bottom and the lid on. In 48hrs they were pretty rusty. And here in AZ the humidity is only 10% or so.
        Washing soda is what is most recommended I couldn't find any so I use lye, but I've read you can use baking soda.
        Last edited by dewat; 10-01-2010, 03:47 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Liger Zero
          Dangerous chemicals AND high voltage, man my wife is going to cuss up a storm over this one.

          I'll keep this on the back burner so to speak.
          Actually washing soda is pretty harmless (It is intended to put the stuff in with your washing after all) and the voltage will be plenty at 12v DC (I use a battery charger).

          You will be really rusty in only a few hours.
          "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jep24601
            You will be really rusty in only a few hours.
            Ah so you heard about my attempt to play the piano last night...

            Seriously though...

            "only" 12 volts from a battery charger? I think that's do-able. I'll see what I can set up tomorrow.
            This product has been determined by the state of California to cause permanent irreversible death. This statement may or may not be recognized as valid by all states.
            Heirs of an old war/that's what we've become Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb
            Plastic Operators Dot Com

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            • #7
              LZ, if it's not a classified information, what exactly are you involved in with this OMG RUST? The only things that come to my criminal mind are those connected to insurance or collector's fraud. Art, of course, will be a lame excuse, so don't even try.
              Mike
              WI/IL border, USA

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Liger Zero
                Dangerous chemicals AND high voltage
                Neither.

                Use a 12 volt manual battery charger and washing soda (sodium carbonate.) If you can't find washing soda, go to a big box store and look at the swimming pool chemicals. Don't remember which, but one of them that is used to adjust the ph is 98% sodium carbonate. Don't waste your time measuring out so much per gallon, just pour it in and stir it up until the water feels soapy or kinda of slick-like.

                Use a big cathode...the bigger it is the more amps will flow and the faster the reaction will be. If it's too big and the breaker on your battery charger trips just pull some of it out of the water.

                It shouldn't take more than a few hours until the anode (positive terminal) starts to become a pitted, rusty mess.

                The rig need not be fancy...here is one that I use:

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                • #9
                  I'd just use a combination of battery acid and ferric chloride, it's called artificial sweat, and it'll corrode just about anything ...

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                  • #10
                    Muriatic acid will leave a thin but completely red film of rust as the surface dries. Nasty stuff.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MichaelP
                      LZ, if it's not a classified information, what exactly are you involved in with this OMG RUST? The only things that come to my criminal mind are those connected to insurance or collector's fraud. Art, of course, will be a lame excuse, so don't even try.



                      The insulator product we manufacture has two metal hardware fittings on the end. The outside of the hardware has a special "value added" protective coating, the inside is not coated.

                      The insulator rod fits into this piece of hardware, and through a top-secret process involving deep dark magics, mystical forces and science the rod becomes one with the metal fitting in such a way that a tactical nuclear strike is required to remove it.

                      The rust and the pitting are an essential part of this process. Pitting by itself doesn't work... and rust by itself doesn't work.


                      Yes I am being silly but we are treading on "trade secret" here, I can't explain the bonding process because that gives us a leg up over our rivals down the road.
                      This product has been determined by the state of California to cause permanent irreversible death. This statement may or may not be recognized as valid by all states.
                      Heirs of an old war/that's what we've become Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb
                      Plastic Operators Dot Com

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                      • #12
                        Muriatic acid will do what you want.

                        Muriatic acid will clean rust off of steel if you dip it for a couple minutes then wash it with water. But if you put steel in Muriatic acid and leave it for about a week it will rust really bad.

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                        • #13
                          I don't have a week, I need 2,000 pieces by Monday.

                          Normally I would dip them in a detergent solution, then put them in a steam-washer for several hours, then put them on racks to air.

                          Normally it takes about a week to process a batch to perfection.

                          Right now, machinery is being located from Over There to Over Here, and wouldn't you know it I got a HUGE blanket order from "#1 Major Customer" today.
                          This product has been determined by the state of California to cause permanent irreversible death. This statement may or may not be recognized as valid by all states.
                          Heirs of an old war/that's what we've become Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb
                          Plastic Operators Dot Com

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                          • #14
                            The reverse electrolysis will certainly give a nice deep coating of rust, but I'm not so sure about the pitting. Or at least what I think of as pitting.

                            I think you'll just get an even rust layer on it, over a span of just a day or so, without much pitting present.
                            But I may be wrong. It's worth a try I guess.

                            I'd try several different recipes. Maybe some acid dunks or soaks, followed later by the electrolysis.

                            The 5 or 6 times I've done the electrolysis thing, I've used rebar as the sacrificial anode, or maybe that's the cathode. (I always have to refer back to the instructions.) And I've never noticed much in the way of pitting on that rebar, even after 2 or 3 days.
                            Last edited by lynnl; 10-01-2010, 06:33 PM.
                            Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

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                            • #15
                              The Electroshockenfumenburnum Process is (C) Bravo Foxtrot Lima Industries

                              I don't have many to spare for test pieces... I was told by someone else that droppering dilute acid into the part then letting it sit overnight will cause the pitting I need... and the electroshockenfumenburnum () process will rust the hell out of 'em.

                              Someone is coming over tomorrow who knows how to do electrolysis for rust removal. He said he can set me up and get me running.
                              This product has been determined by the state of California to cause permanent irreversible death. This statement may or may not be recognized as valid by all states.
                              Heirs of an old war/that's what we've become Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb
                              Plastic Operators Dot Com

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