Let's Turn our Attention to Alternative Rust Removal Methods!

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Forum topic by poopiekat posted 05-28-2022 03:36 AM 484 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5172 posts in 5224 days

05-28-2022 03:36 AM

Topic tags/keywords: rust removal

There’s a lot of new emerging technologies for removing rust and conditioning metal surfaces. I’ve always believed that sandblasting was the be-all to end all. Then there was rust dissolving fluids, abrasive pads and good old elbow grease with a wire wheel.

And then, I saw some videos about processes that I’d never heard of before. Outrageous!!

Imagine dry ice shot from a nozzle to immediately remove all traces of rust!! Or, removing rust by laser!

Check out these two suggested videos:

And to think of all the planes, saws, chisels and wrenches that I cast aside over a lifetime due to corrosion and rust.
I’m too old to start investing in a shop re-tooled to perform rust removal technology to customers. But, probably soon, somebody will, coming to a neighborhood near you!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

5 replies so far

View SMP's profile


5380 posts in 1395 days

#1 posted 05-28-2022 03:41 AM

Thats pretty cool, thanks for sharing. If those “maker place” type of shared shops get something like this then thats another reason for me to go.

View MrUnix's profile


9041 posts in 3689 days

#2 posted 05-28-2022 04:16 AM

The dry ice stuff has been around for a while, and it’s great for cleaning but not so much for rust removal. If you notice in the video, they say as much, referring to ‘hand work’ with sanding pads, steel wool and other abrasives when it comes to surface rust. To me, it seems like only a slight step up from a pressure washer with slightly less mess (and more costly equipment + media).

The laser stuff is the real deal though – unfortunately it’s on the expensive side, particularly for home use by weekend warriors who would only rarely use it. I can see a few advantages to it, such as being able to de-rust parts in place, and less cleanup than traditional sandblasting. You also don’t have to worry about such things as Siliconosis ;) Good news is the prices have been coming down as laser technology becomes more and more available to the masses.

For me, electrolysis is the go to rust removal method for larger items. Smaller stuff will get evaporust. I pretty much gave up sandblasting a while back just because it was too much hassle, and more modern blasting media just didn’t work as well as good old sand – which can be dangerous to use without adequate protection. Most other methods, such as chemical strips, wire wheels, sanding flaps, etc… work great on open surfaces, but are useless on highly contoured pieces with lots of little recesses and hidden areas (including hollow forms).

Interesting topic though… look forward to others insight into the never ending process.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View CaptainKlutz's profile


5726 posts in 2984 days

#3 posted 05-28-2022 05:38 AM

Old news for me?
Cool technology when you first see it in person.
Beware of false marketing claims…

Dry ice media blasting is a favorite in the mold removal industry. The frozen temperatures keep mold/dirt in solid form during removal. The mold removal folks have special and spray and HEPA vacuum heads. It works on wood, without removing wood.
Pressure and feed rate control is critical, and equipment is not cheap. Don’t let the video fool you. With enough air pressure, and small nozzle can damage a metal panel just as easy as regular grit media blasting. Dry ice media blast machines for automotive work have been around for years. Folks like Airgas and Liquid Carbonic; that make dry ice have been pushing the dry ice removal technology for many decades.
It works great on greasy/oily parts, as the grease is solid when removed. There is the problem of debris collection. They claim the debris is non-toxic, but fail to mention the dirt removed is still dangerous. Plus the dirt goes everywhere. Notice the video on car doesn’t show the mess on floor, and walls surfaces after cleaning process?
Friend has his ‘52 truck dry ice blasted in his driveway, hoping to reduce sheet metal loss. The rust/blue paint debris stained his driveway permanently. Settings for minimal damage to sheet metal, barely touched heavy rusted areas on frame. Heavy frame rust settings dented the sheet metal. The dry ice losses feeding the machine here in Arizona heat and low humidity where horrendous. He had a special dry ice freezer to transport and store material. Doubt anyone could afford to have dry ice removal equipment and process in the barely used home shop?

Laser ablation has been around since 70’s. Have used it on production line to clean aluminum oxidation before welding. Designed and built green laser semiconductor marking machines as well. The up front cost is very high. A small area unit can cost $100K, and larger machine upwards of half million. Ultra precision laser control machines can cost over $1M each.
Settings are constant challenge. There is very thin line between minor surface removal and cutting into the material. Because you are using light waves, it requires precise distance and airflow to keep surface cool and avoid damage. Settings for ‘cleaning’ steel, would write lines on aluminum. Aluminum settings would melt plastic. The required number of passes by laser in video is good indicator that tuning challenges exist. You either remove too little, using many passes, over longer time; or remove more in fewer passes and accept a couple extra thousandths removal of base metal.
IMHO – Laser ablation is a niche due high costs, a poor value proposition for large areas, and is mostly used for small precision part cleaning, or product engraving and marking. On top of regular debris collection/removal issues, laser ablation of polymers/oils can generate noxious fumes that are PITA to control.

Sorry if this deflates your glee. It is still cool technology!

Enjoy your media blasting adventure.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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5172 posts in 5224 days

#4 posted 05-28-2022 12:41 PM

Hey, I just remembered another recent technology that might be applicable to the rusty tool restorer. I’ve seen cars blasted with sodium bicarbonate, like as if using sandblasting equipment. Probably environmentally friendly, it’s just baking soda after all. In all cases, there is risk of lead exposure if it’s present in the paint being stripped.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View corelz125's profile


5525 posts in 2466 days

#5 posted 05-28-2022 02:41 PM

Last night I watched a video where the guy used wood glue to remove rust off a plane iron. I might try it the next time on a plane sole to get the hard to reach areas by the frog seat.

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