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Small irregular part surface rust removal via tumbler

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by paulie_boy13, May 19, 2012.

  1. paulie_boy13
    Joined: Mar 1, 2005
    Posts: 269

    from NC

    I have several small irregular parts that won't lend themselves to being cleaned with steel wool very well. Electrolysis/molasses method seems messy and id still have to manually remove scale after. I'm thinking a tumbler would work well in my case BUT I have a question about it.

    The parts in question are wire clips and battery cable hold down clips. Very irregular shapes and small.

    However being that these clips are essentially spring steel, I'm concerned the tumbler might work harden them. Is this a real concern with this method or should I not be too worried?

    Is there anything I can do to help prevent work hardening?

    Also I'm thinking walnut shells for the media. Is there another media I should use. (surface rust removal, NOT concerned with polishing as I will oil stain these parts later).

    Thanks guys.
  2. Devin
    Joined: Dec 28, 2004
    Posts: 2,352

    from Napa, CA

    Throw it in a vibrating tumbler for reloading with either corn cob or walnut media along with a half sheet of fabric softener and let it go for at least a couple hours or overnight. No way you could hurt the parts. I don't know if it would address heavy rust but It's worth a shot
  3. hinklejd
    Joined: Jan 20, 2010
    Posts: 146

    from Fort Worth

    I've had rifle brass in a tumbler for weeks at a time...the tumbler gets warm to the touch, but the brass is still good to go. Work hardening is not an issue. I've used the same tumbler to remove undercoating from e-brake clips and similar items. As long as the material can fit in the tumbler, it doesn't matter if it's vibratory or rotary.

    I'd recommend crushed walnut hull along with a dime sized blob of metal polish. Then just start the machine, and check it about once a day. Repeat until you're satisfied.
  4. paulie_boy13
    Joined: Mar 1, 2005
    Posts: 269

    from NC

    Thanks guys. Good tip about the metal polish.

  5. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    Buy a small container of Evaporust, which works well and is entirely harmless to everything except rust. Quick, easy. Any acid based solution in my experience will destroy the springiness in small springs like brake pedal springs, so I would not use on anything springy.

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