Introduction: Electrolysis Bucket
This is a method of rust removal that is effortless and effective.
Warning: Do not do this inside. Hydrogen gas is produced and can ignite in enclosed spaces. Remove flames, cigarettes, etc. from the area. Use gloves and avoid touching the electrodes.
Step 1: Measure
Find a 5 gallon bucket and measure the circumference. Mark 6 equal intervals around the top portion.
Step 2: Drill
Drill holes through the marked spots.
Step 3: Cut Rebar
Cut steel rebar to 1ft lengths and quickly brush the surface with an angle grinder. Do not use stainless steel. It contains chromium and will produce poisonous chromate, which is carcinogenic and illegal to dump.
Step 4: Drill Rebar
Drill holes in the top portion of the rebar to accommodate a bolt.
Step 5: Bolt Rebar
Fasten a bolt to the rebar.
Step 6: Fasten to Bucket
Push the screws through the holes in the bucket and fasten them with another nut.
Step 7: Build the Circuit
Strip some copper wire and wind it around every screw on the outside of the bucket making a full circle.
Step 8: Add Water
Add water to the bucket up to just below the screws.
Step 9: Add Washing Soda
Add about 1/3-1/2 cups of washing soda (sodium carbonate) per 5 gallons of water. This is often sold in the laundry sections of stores. Washing soda can also be made by heating baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in the oven.
Step 10: Add Rusted Item
Find an item that needs rust removal and connect the negative(black) lead to it. It can then be submerged into the water. Another way to design the rig is to make a steal wire hanger or clip that hangs into the water and holds the item. The negative lead can be attached to this wire.
Step 11: Connect Charger
Connect the positive(red) lead to the copper wire circuit. Plug in the charger. Not all car battery chargers will work for this. I used a Schumacher SE-82-6 Dual-Rate 2/6 Amp Manual Battery Charger. You should see many small bubbles begin to rise to the surface almost immediately. If you need to troubleshoot try the following:
1.Increase the distance between the part and the rebar (anode) 2.Dilute the solution by adding water. 3.If you have a 6/12 volt charger, set it to 6 volts.
The process is self halting and will stop when there is no more rust to remove. It can be left overnight if the item contains a lot of rust. A wire brush can also be used periodically to remove loose scale.
Step 12: Remove Item
Remove the item and work with a wire brush to remove any remaining scale. Dry immediately to prevent flash rusting. Heating the item will help remove water.
Step 13: Waste
The waste solution is OK for the lawn unless you have plants that don't like iron rich soil.
Now you can give life back to the dead with the magic of electrolysis.