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Projects Once and for all... how to clean pot metal???

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by willie1952, May 16, 2018.

  1. willie1952
    Joined: May 16, 2018
    Posts: 1


    I'm involved in a project with pot metal parts. They're dark gray. Is there something to soak them in that will restore the brighter color? I don't expect it to be shiny, but it sure would be nice to have the parts bright! Maybe a dull silver.
    Blasting is a possibility, but I no longer have my blast cabinet; the gravity feed Harbor Freight isn't effective (can it be modified?)
  2. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 4,740

    from Minnesota

    Try buffing with rubbing compound. Then wax or they will dull again.
  3. If you're trying to restore the 'as-cast' finish, you'll need some sort of 'dip'. I'd look for a dip for metal (used on jewelery and/or silver tableware), or maybe even some Oxiclean. Rinse very well after use....
  4. redo32
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,307


    Can you tell us a little more about the parts. Potmetal is mostly zinc and any acid or caustic will etch and darken it. Best bet is glass bead blasting or scotchbrite wheel or pads by hand.
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  5. rusty rocket
    Joined: Oct 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,005

    rusty rocket

    Try a citric acid bath. This is a before and after a one day soak. IMG_2372.JPG IMG_2386.JPG
  6. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 4,740

    from Minnesota

    I don't think that's pot metal. Not the same at all.
    Duellym and squirrel like this.
  7. nickk
    Joined: Feb 2, 2011
    Posts: 734


    I've done it with some aluminum cleaner I had laying around, the cleaner was older than me. But it cleaned it then I buffed it. It ended up looking like chrome. Btw it a old cast model A pulley. it's been too long to remember if it was pot metal but from I remember it was similar. Good luck!
  8. rusty rocket
    Joined: Oct 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,005

    rusty rocket

    No it isnt the same as pot metal but citric acid will clean it up.
  9. Tim O'Kelley
    Joined: Nov 20, 2011
    Posts: 56

    Tim O'Kelley
    from texas

    Might try over night soak in Coca Cola
  10. RMR&C
    Joined: Dec 26, 2009
    Posts: 2,842

    from NW Montana

    Acid works great on steel. Pot metal........not so much
  11. 28dreyer
    Joined: Jan 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,041

    from Minnesota

    Experiment with soda blast and see what it does.
  12. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 2,448


    Give the wife a hundred bucks to go shopping that way she is gone for the day and you have total use of the dishwasher. Works great and she will think you are a great guy. Just remember to run a cycle after the parts are clean to remove any stuff left in the machine.
    When she gets home she will probably make it worth your while for the shopping trip.
    Or if you live alone just use the dishwasher and save the hundred bucks for car parts.
    Tickety Boo likes this.
  13. fullhouse296
    Joined: Jan 30, 2009
    Posts: 335

    from Australia

    35yrs in plating business says 1.diecast varies in make up but is usually some version of zinc,tin and sometimes a bit of lead and antimony .any dip that is caustic or acidic WILL eat it up . Blasting is problematic cause its very soft. so that leaves only walnut shells or some such ,for blasting or polish by hand using purple polish .Dont be tempted to use a buffing machine unless youve had lots of experience.soft as a bar of soap when it gets hot !
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  14. My solution to pitted pot metal is send it to a professional to strip and re chrome. HRP


    gggholson likes this.
  15. Poh
    Joined: Apr 17, 2007
    Posts: 264

    from Quincy,Ca.

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