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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Mt. Clemens, Michigan
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    276

    Default 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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    National City CA
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    1,086

    Default

    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. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Mt. Clemens, Michigan
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    Default

    Quote 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!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Browns Valley, California
    Posts
    1,713

    Default

    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
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Oahu, Hawaii
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    2,469

    Default

    Quote 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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    London
    Posts
    129

    Default

    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Mt. Clemens, Michigan
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    276

    Default

    Quote 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.

    Quote 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!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    North of Phila. PA
    Posts
    404

    Default

    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.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Oahu, Hawaii
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    Default

    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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Mt. Clemens, Michigan
    Posts
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    Default

    Quote 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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