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  • Cleaning stainless after weld

    Lately I've been making a lot of little accessories(keychains, dogtags, beltbuckles, ect.) out of stainless steel. I'd like to be shine up the surface "post weld" without pitting the welds or the surface. Is there a certain type of "soft" wire wheel that you've had good luck with? I'm also looking into getting some nitric acid, but I'd rather find it locally as opposed to ordering it online and dealing with the hazmat shipping, ect. What kind of places would I find this at?

    Thanks in advance for any help, advice!

    -Josh
    www.facebook.com/browndogwelding

    Blog at TheFabricator.com

    www.browndogwelding.com

  • #2
    about fifteen years ago when I worked for a medical goods manufacturer We would polish out the welds on the stainless steel I.V. stands with green knife makers rouge and a wire wheel with .004 wires on it. It worked fine but you had to load the wire wheel with rouge or it would just frost the stainless.
    This technique work great at removing the discoloration on stainless welds
    Should be able to get the rouge from any good polishing supply house Brownells.com would be a good source for wheels too. Oh and if at all possible be sure the wheel is stainless also this will keep carbon steel from being embedded in the stainless and causing rust later on.
    My advice on Nitric acid is to avoid at all cost. or use it on as a very last resort. That is very nasty stuff
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    • #3
      Originally posted by kcstott View Post
      about fifteen years ago when I worked for a medical goods manufacturer We would polish out the welds on the stainless steel I.V. stands with green knife makers rouge and a wire wheel with .004 wires on it. It worked fine but you had to load the wire wheel with rouge or it would just frost the stainless.
      This technique work great at removing the discoloration on stainless welds
      Should be able to get the rouge from any good polishing supply house Brownells.com would be a good source for wheels too. Oh and if at all possible be sure the wheel is stainless also this will keep carbon steel from being embedded in the stainless and causing rust later on.
      My advice on Nitric acid is to avoid at all cost. or use it on as a very last resort. That is very nasty stuff
      Thanks, I'll look into this!
      www.facebook.com/browndogwelding

      Blog at TheFabricator.com

      www.browndogwelding.com

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      • #4
        If you want to polish it, just go to a local hardware store, buy a buffing wheel for your grinder, and a couple of tubes of jeweler's rouge in different grits.

        That'll do it.

        Hank
        ...from the Gadget Garage
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        • #5
          Originally posted by jdustu View Post
          Lately I've been making a lot of little accessories(keychains, dogtags, beltbuckles, ect.) out of stainless steel. I'd like to be shine up the surface "post weld" without pitting the welds or the surface. Is there a certain type of "soft" wire wheel that you've had good luck with? I'm also looking into getting some nitric acid, but I'd rather find it locally as opposed to ordering it online and dealing with the hazmat shipping, ect. What kind of places would I find this at?

          Thanks in advance for any help, advice!

          -Josh
          Josh, can you post up some pics of the stuff you make?
          I'm not late...
          I'm just on Hawaiian Time

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          • #6
            KB fabrications made his own electrolytic weld cleaning machine- uses phosphoric acid and electricity to 'passivate stainless'

            Citric acid can also be used to passivate stainless. I've had a quick play with lemon juice and a 12V halogen downlighter. It worked but was too slow- transformer was only 60W output, more power and/or a commercial acid (citric or phosphoric) should correct that.

            Maybe Kevin will chime in.

            A good low tech method is a SOFT bristle stainless toothbrush. The trick is to brush the weld while it's still hot- discolouration comes right off

            As the parts you're working with are small another method would be to avoid any weld colour. Argon is heavier than air- fab up a shallow tray out of stainless, fill with argon (add a fitting at the base to pipe in argon) and weld the parts in it. Probably only worth doing if you're making several pieces at a time

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            • #7
              Originally posted by hankj View Post
              If you want to polish it, just go to a local hardware store, buy a buffing wheel for your grinder, and a couple of tubes of jeweler's rouge in different grits.

              That'll do it.

              Hank
              Polishing these is a pain in the butt, because the surface has all kinds of edges for the polish to get in and stick in. I've done it a few times, but for what I'm doing a wire wheel finish is decent as long as I can do it without pitting the metal.

              Originally posted by Bert View Post
              Josh, can you post up some pics of the stuff you make?
              Hey Bert, I got your P.M. I've plasma cut some stuff, but for the most part I saw cut or shear stock. I just put some stuff in a local art gallery/shop, and I'm in the process of getting a new website going right now. Here are some pics of some of the smaller stuff:



              I have a lot of pics of stuff here:
              http://detroitwheeliedog.com/v-web/gallery/Metal-models

              Hey Peter, I'll have to check that electrolysis out. I'd like to use a soft stainless wire wheel, I'm just have trouble finding one!
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              Blog at TheFabricator.com

              www.browndogwelding.com

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              • #8
                How about a small tumbler? You can pick up one of the drum styles used to polish brass cartridge cases. Toss in your stuff and let it run. I built a much larger one to clean the inside of tanks. Motor, rollers and a sealable drum are about it. If you are interested I'll pass on some more info.

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                • #9
                  I'm sure the rouge will work fine, but for fun, if you want to try acids, how about your local pool supply place? I'm not sure about nitric acid, but I was wondering how muratic acid would do...anybody?
                  I'm not late...
                  I'm just on Hawaiian Time

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bert View Post
                    I'm sure the rouge will work fine, but for fun, if you want to try acids, how about your local pool supply place? I'm not sure about nitric acid, but I was wondering how muratic acid would do...anybody?
                    From what I've seen muriatic acid and ss don't mix well at all.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DSW View Post
                      How about a small tumbler? You can pick up one of the drum styles used to polish brass cartridge cases. Toss in your stuff and let it run. I built a much larger one to clean the inside of tanks. Motor, rollers and a sealable drum are about it. If you are interested I'll pass on some more info.

                      Yeah, that would be cool. Even if I go a different route now I may mess with that when I have time! Thanks.
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                      • #12
                        but the pool supply place might have other acids...I was just thinking of a way around someone shipping it to your door...
                        any other ideas?
                        I'm not late...
                        I'm just on Hawaiian Time

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                        • #13
                          Yeah, hydrochloric/muriatic acid doesn't play well with stainless- it promotes corrosion as it's a reducing acid. Passivation (very generally) is about encouraging the formation of a chromium oxide rich surface layer.

                          This was my first attempt using a lemon and a 12V/60W halogen downlighting transformer...

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                          Got bored after a couple of minutes as it was taking too long.

                          Did round two yesterday- tried an old computer power supply (12V DC, circa 200W), much faster but still not perfect- just a very slight colour difference. Used lemon juice again and also tried a commercial alloy wheel cleaner (containing phosphoric acid). Both worked about the same, lemon juice smelt a lot nicer

                          Gonna get some commercial citric acid (apparently feely available at pharmacies, in the UK at least) to try before i give in and buy the proper phosphoric solution from the likes of Anapol

                          Jdustu, these are the sort of brushes i was talking about- very little elbow grease is needed as long the weld is brushed while still hot

                          http://www.torringtonbrushes.com/ind...S&Category=133

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