Electrolysis - updated with photos

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G0OSE
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Electrolysis - updated with photos

Today I decided to finally get around to doing some Electrolysis on some rusty parts of this Lathe I have and some other bits and bobs.
Watched a few Youtube videos like you do, and then set a tank up myself this morning. Got it all switched on at around 1pm (now 4.31pm) and all seems to be going well, bubbling nicely and scum all over the top of the water which is sort of swirling – I did play around with croc leads until I got the best tank wide action/bubbling. There is some stuff already starting to grow on the anodes.
I’ll upload some photo’s later on in the week to show those who are interested how it all went/timeframe.

For those who don’t already know what Electrolysis (rust wise) is then it’s basically taking the rust from your item (steel or Iron?), and transferring it to a scrap (sacrificial) piece/s of metal (steel) in a bath of water and soda crystals and has 12v DC 3/5 Amps running through it. That is what most seem to recommend anyway.
The + goes to the scrap bit/s and the – goes to your bits to be cleaned (hung on wires linked together so the current can flow), switch it on and the magic immediately starts to happen. Yet to see how long it will take because everyone’s set up is different, but it’s looking good so far in 4 hrs, I’m thinking 8 or overnight would be best.
Anyone else done this? How did you get on?

Edited by: G0OSE on 03/03/2019 - 10:11
G0OSE
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Ok, here are some photos as promised. In the end I left it on for around 12 hours. It seemed to work very well to me , but of course experimentation may reveal a better mix/time etc. The weakest link was my battery charger – you need an old one so it doesn’t have safety features, but mine had no ampage switch and the dial was broken.

Tank setup – 4 anodes from old steel bar linked together with wire, this is where the ‘+’ will connected. The rack on top will be used to hang the objects on with steel hooks , this is where the ‘-’ will be connected.

Now with water/soda crystals in 3.5 Litres to 1 Tablespoon of soda crystals.

After about 1 hour – notice I’ve added crocodile fly leads from the first anode – I found by clipping the other end to anode 3 it kinda woke anode 3and 4 up a bit – they were less active before.
I also added the knife at this point, and connected a fly lead to that as well for good luck lol!

After about 6 hours things were really starting to happen!

Sadly I forgot to take most of the parts pre the experiment…. but I did get some of the gears, which were the least rusty bits…..

And some of the finished bits, just lightly scrubbed in hot soapy water with a scourer and dried in the oven – you really need to do this or it starts to rust very quickly. I have oiled it all up now.

The rust basically comes off and leaves a black stain, which just washes off. This next part was completely encrusted with rust before the process, like you couldn’t see any of it. You can see the ‘shell’ of rust that came off in the gloop on photo 4 above.

This big chuck came up rather nicely too.

These final two are of the old knife, only half of it went in – it will go in for another dip to get the rest off – you can see it took it back to steel virtually after decades of rusting.

When I get some time I’ll clean all these bits up completely with some scotchbrite and wet/dry.

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There’s a lot of hair on your avatar picture. It’s probably going to take a while, good luck!

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Sounds interesting what your doing G0OSE. You’ll have to post the before and after results up.

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

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Looking forward to seeing some pictures. Smile

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I restore vintage Kawasaki motorcycles as a hobby.  I've used electrolysis for rust removal for a few years.  It works well, is environmentally benign, and inexpensive.  It removes rust from inside gas tanks without harming paint.

For small parts I use a 5 gal. bucket lined on the inner side and bottom surfaces with chicken wire for complete "line of sight" surround current flow.  I modified my original direct-wired setup with a 12v turn signal bulb as a current limiting resistor.

 

slmjim

Great... Carnac the Magnificent tells me I just signed up for yet another expensive hobby.

G0OSE
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MRsDNF wrote:
Sounds interesting what your doing G0OSE. You’ll have to post the before and after results up.

Like a total idiot, I forgot to take big before pics of most of it (have a group shot) – took loads of the setup etc lol!
I did put an old knife half in though….. about 35 years ago like boys are, I was drawn to my Grandads gardening knife (who knows what it actually was) but he always used to make out it was his ‘Army knife’ which got my attention lol, I used to love playing war in the fields, building dens etc. Anyway it’s been sat around in the garden, and shed for all that time so it’s pretty rusty. I remember mending the handle when I was a kid by sawing the top 5 inches off my nan’s yard brush (she wasn’t happy) and splitting it, it’s still on there now, just about – crude nails through it and remnants of Sellotape!
If it turns out anything like usable I’ll restore it totally, will make a nice sentimental project. Of course, I’d have to still do it with yard brush handles for authenticity!
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Sounds like we have something in common. Silly
I’ll let you guess what that is. Smile

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

G0OSE
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This was quite fun and safe to do so long as you are sensible, I’d say have a go yourself. I got pleasing results, going to have another go next week.

MRsDNF
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The parts have come up a treat. Thanks for the pics and write up. Thumbs Up

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

BlueSwordM
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So, do any of you guys do electroplating? I sure like me some copper acetate, and a copper plated nickel plated BeCu spring.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

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slmjim wrote:

I restore vintage Kawasaki motorcycles as a hobby.  I’ve used electrolysis for rust removal for a few years.  It works well, is environmentally benign, and inexpensive.  It removes rust from inside gas tanks without harming paint.


For small parts I use a 5 gal. bucket lined on the inner side and bottom surfaces with chicken wire for complete “line of sight” surround current flow.


very cool, great info about the chicken wire, and that electrolysis does not harm paint
If I want a copper plated flashlight, can I just drop it in a bucket with some of this special Juice:

BlueSwordM wrote:
copper acetate

I was hoping this thread would lead me to a how to tutorial,
to produce a Copper plated Flashlight Smile
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Do you mean a brass copper plated light or an aluminium copper plated flashlight?

Both are doable quite easily, but an aluminium flashlight would have to be de-anodized first, and would have to use copper sulfate instead of copper acetate.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

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BlueSwordM wrote:
Do you mean… an aluminium copper plated flashlight?

Both are doable quite easily, but an aluminium flashlight would have to be de-anodized first, and would have to use copper sulfate instead of copper acetate.

yes and thank you
aluminium host, plated with copper

those two novatacs are aluminium

I fantasize about a copper plated RRT-01, and Sofirn C01

some people would also want Titanium plating.. Smile
but, I dont mean to hijack this thread..

if there is a better place to lean about this, I welcome a link

G0OSE
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jon_slider wrote:
BlueSwordM wrote:
Do you mean… an aluminium copper plated flashlight?

Both are doable quite easily, but an aluminium flashlight would have to be de-anodized first, and would have to use copper sulfate instead of copper acetate.

yes and thank you
aluminium host, plated with copper

those two novatacs are aluminium

I fantasize about a copper plated RRT-01, and Sofirn C01

some people would also want Titanium plating.. Smile
but, I dont mean to hijack this thread..

if there is a better place to lean about this, I welcome a link


Don’t worry about hijacking lol, it’s all very interesting to me too!
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After some work…

EASY AND SAFE COPPER ACETATE PLATING
Material needed :
- Adjustable DC-DC Power Supply to create copper acetate the copper solution - 5V DC Power Supply if the above is not available
- 1,0V-3,3V DC Power Supply for electroplating. Closer to 1,0V for all parts, and closer to 3,3V for very large parts.
- Alligator clips (1 red and 1 black for positive and negative)
- Any source of copper. Scrap copper wire, or a copper sheet will work well.
- 5-8% acetic acid. Vinegar is a good substitute.
- 30% Hydrochloric acid(muriactic acid)
- High grit sand paper (500+)
- Liquid soap.
- Glass jar or beaker that fits your part
- Small glass or plastic tray.
- Heater or hotplate

PROTOCOL 1 (PREPARING THE ELECTRODES)
1. Prepare the copper electrodes by cleaning them mechanically with 500+ grit sandpaper.
2. Wash the copper electrodes under water with soap.
3. Fill the small tray with hydrochloric acid, and the electrodes in it for 60 seconds to clean them completely. Rinse with water to get rid of the hydrochloric acid. Keep it for later.
4. Repeat the first 3 steps for cleaning the positive electrode for electroplating.

PROTOCOL 2 (MAKING THE COPPER ACETATE SOLUTION)
1. Fill the jar with vinegar or 5/8% acetic acid.
2. Connect the alligator clips to the cleaned copper electrodes. Note the polarity of each.
3. Put the copper electrodes in the acetic acid jar.
4. Connect your 5V power supply to the AC receptable, or set your power supply to a voltage of 4,2-5V, 4,2V for slightly higher copper acetate concentration, 5V for faster creation.
5. Check if there are any small bubbles forming on the negative electrode. If there are small bubbles forming, but not floating up, that means the setup is working.
6. Let the setup run for 8-12 hours, preferably during the night.
7. Check the jar for any copper deposits. If there are any solid deposits on the bottom, filter out the solution via gravity filtering, or just empty the jar slowly into another container without the copper deposits transfering in the other container. Clean the jar. Put the solution back in the original container.
8. Clean the parts/materials you’ve used during the copper acetate solution creation.

PROTOCOL 3 (ELECTROPLATING THE PART)
1. Prepare the part by cleaning it mechanically with 500+ grit sandpaper.
2. Wash the part with soapy water.
3. Put in the part in the hydrochloric acid bath for 1 minute, then clean it in water.
4. Connect the positive copper electrode previously cleaned to the positive alligator clip. Put it in the jar.
5. Connect the negative alligator clip to the part you want to plate. Put it in the jar as far away from the positive electrode as practical.
6. Plug the alligator clips to the preferably 1,2V adjustable power supply, or 3,3V power supply.
7. Leave the setup running for 2 hours at 3,3V, and 4 hours at 1,0-1,2V for optimal results.
8. Unplug or deactivate the power supply.
9. Get the part out of the copper acetate solution.
10. Clean it with water, and let it dry. You should have the copper plated part.
11. Polish it with steel wool.
12. Put the copper acetate jar somewhere safe, and label it as Copper Acetate Solution.

Final note : The jar can be placed on a temperature adjustable hotplate to 50C for faster and more durable plating due to the lower resistance solution and less hydrogen formation.

The 1,0V-1,2V setup will get thinner, but more much durable plating for small parts, while 3,3V will plate faster, but is not recommended to use on small parts like springs and connectors.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

BlueSwordM
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If you have any questions, just ask BTW.

I also have a copper chloride solution that works better, and a copper sulfate solution, but both are toxic.

Copper acetate is toxic, but not as much, and can be flushed down to the toilet with a full flush, or 2 flushes if needed to dilute it.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

jon_slider
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BlueSwordM wrote:
After some work…

EASY AND SAFE COPPER ACETATE PLATING


Wow
that is an awesome write up

I think there may be people that would want your services..
would you consider doing a Novatac?

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This is a great thread. I was afraid it was about removing unwanted hair so I was a little hesitant to open it. Don’t usually want to see before and after pictures of that sort.

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@jon_slider, not yet.

You’d first need to de-anodize the light, or start with a bare light, like the BLF A6.

You’d then need to nickel plate the light, since the copper solutions we have access to, even copper sulfate, can’t make a good coat directly on aluminium. But nickel can.

We could then copper plate the light with a copper sulfate/copper chloride solution for highest plating durability and thickness. Copper acetate will work, but isn’t optimal due to the higher than optimal pH of the solution.

HOWEVER, it is doable, and I’m waiting for some pure nickel, and a BLF A6 non-anodized to test it out, since I’ve bought hydrochloric acid today to make a copper chloride solution.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

BlueSwordM
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UPDATE

I’ve got some 30% hydrochloric acid on hand for some more advanced plating Smile

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

BlueSwordM
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I’m also in the process of making sulfuric acid using epsom salts, and lead acid battery separators(bought on Alibaba).

@jon_slider, I also need some zincate to process the aluminium.

After that however, I just need to copper plate the part, and be done.

It’s going to be expensive starting it out if I only make 1 light.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

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Used to do a lot of electroplating at a previous shop, now we work with cadmium and Nitrided surfaces, some times beryllium copper coatings and even machining BeCu parts which means a tyvex suit and respirator. I see you advertise BeCu spring BlueSwordM so Im sure you are familier with the side effects from that nasty material. Been trying to get a de-anodized A6 to be Cadmium coated but no luck so far haha. Might be able to sneak it through on the Nitriding rack though one day.

Lurking flashaholic, Ive bought all my flashlights through lurking here, BLF A6, Sofirn C8F, Soforn Q8, Emisar D4, and a few not so budget lights but I mod them all the same! Been waiting for the FW3A to come out for years now.......

BlueSwordM
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Yeah. I will never sand a BeCu spring in my entire life unless I want to end up with lung cancer.

Have you tried a zincate solution? That’s the only thing blocking me from plating aluminium, since nitric acid is even more expensive, so I’m not going to touch it.

I’ve done copper acetate, and copper chloride. That last one is super easy to get a thick durable coating quickly at low power levels, but hard to get a thick coating(50um) over time since the cathode/part tends to get coated in a copper crystal rough formation.

Copper sulfate is the one I’m looking for, but since copper sulfate is super expensive here(30$ for 2lbs!), I’ve decided to get myself some sulfuric acid…

Until I found it was even harder to acquire +clean + sulfuric acid. Or stupid expensive shipping, especially for a small quantity.

I’m currently working on the process of making a galvanic cell with a fiberglass separator to make large quantities of concentrated 98% sulfuric acid. It’s going to be amazing, and cheap to make.

I might sell leftover fiberglass separators to see if there is any interest.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

lumenzilla
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Subscribed.
This would be a nice weekend project to do.

Thanks @BlueSwordM for your detailed instruction.

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BlueSwordM wrote:
It’s going to be expensive starting it out if I only make 1 light.

Yeah, but
As soon as you start producing batches of copper plate RRT-01, with Nichia upgrades and trits.
And plated Sofirn C01s w trits
people will be throwing money at you Wink

and beautiful women will want your body

BlueSwordM
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Wait, wait.

Did you say Sofirn C01?

I would loooove a copper plated C01 myself.

Maybe I should try mine, but I would need a lot more supplies, as I have said before.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

G0OSE
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Interesting reading guys, keep us updated! Sadly we can’t get acid and things like that over her without a license – I was going to try some anodising myself!

BlueSwordM
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Can you get Epsom salts?

You can produce sulfuric acid that way.

Once I get my fiberglass separator plates, I’ll make a post about it.

It is going to be long though Smile

Heck, if someone pays for shipping, and if the experiment works, I could ship one of the 10 fiberglass separators that I’ll be getting Thursday.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

G0OSE
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BlueSwordM wrote:
Can you get Epsom salts?

You can produce sulfuric acid that way.

Once I get my fiberglass separator plates, I’ll make a post about it.

It is going to be long though Smile

Heck, if someone pays for shipping, and if the experiment works, I could ship one of the 10 fiberglass separators that I’ll be getting Thursday.

It would still be illegal – having it is the illegal bit, no matter how it’s made etc. This is down to the rise in acid attacks (I say rise, there were a handful, say 100 people out of 50 million) – the question is where does it end? bleach, nail polish remover…..
In my opinion if you really that twisted that you wanted to really harm someone, you’d find a way – acid or not. Worse still, you can just make it as you are about to explain making the whole thing a nonsense anyway – but that’s Governments for you, powered by the media front pages.

BlueSwordM
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Oh wow.

What kind of policy is that? If Canada has no problem regarding this, how come the UK has problems with this?

I mean, you could just make 15% sulfuric acid without a “license”, or even just buy copper sulfate and make H2SO4 that way. And just boil it to make it more concentrated.

Also, what kind of store would sell PURE 93% sulfuric acid? Every drain cleaner that I’ve had my hands on contain inhibitors to prevent metal corrosion.

Did they actually ask any chemists how to make products safer?

This law wasn’t reviewed by chemists, was it?

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

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