This series has been quiet for a while, as I’ve been buying replacement parts off eBay and dealing with several small(ish) technical issues. The members of the ShopSmith owners’ forum have been extremely helpful. My thanks to the LJ members who pointed me to that forum.
Here is my experience with removing rust by Electrolysis and I’m sure that many LJ’s can benefit using this technique for tool restoration. If you have any questions, just ask and I’ll do my best to help. I’m sure that this isn’t the first LJ posting about this technique, but it is the most recent, and new members could find this helpful.
I took 2 scrap pieces of painted angle iron from old shelving.
Cleaned the inner faces and attached cables.
I took my quill housing and wedged a cable inside.
Then placed them in a bucket and electrolyte like this.
Next I connected the battery charger Black to quill & Red to angle irons
I applied power, and nothing happened. At least nothing happened in the bucket. The charger hummed, and that was all. I moved the quill closer to the scrap – nothing. I moved the quill to touching the scrap – nothing. I switched the charger from 3A to 15A – nothing.
So I dismantled the setup and pondered overnight.
Was it the Electrolyte solution? Maybe the issue was the 1 tablespoon per gallon I’ve seen on some instructions.
Was it the charger? It is a bit old, and has been incorrectly connected a few times.
A few possible answers surfaced in my brain over the next few hours, until I had a route mapped forward.
Step 1: Test the charger on a battery I know will need boosting – CHECK
Step 2: Enrich the electrolyte to 1/2 cup per gallon as seen on other instructions – CHECK
I made these adjustments and connected the system again.
I applied power and (drumroll please) ... ... ... NOTHING.
Then a small little background idea pushed forward in my head – This charger has an automatic cut-off when the battery is full. Maybe it also has a protection circuit of sorts that only allows it to work if there is a battery connected.
The next step was to use a battery instead of a charger on the cleaning circuit to see if the charger was the problem.
I connected the battery to the circuit and … ... Hey presto – BUBBLES
I then connected the charger to the battery to keep it charged it while the battery was working on my quill. The battery and the work are connected in parallel.
Six minutes after starting, this is the surface of the electrolyte
This is the charger – As you can see here, the system is drawing between 9A and 12A
Goop Soup anyone?
The temperature of the liquid went up from the ambient 25 deg C to 42 deg C
After 15 minutes with sandpaper and steel wool.
This process has reduced my work time down to half or less. What used to take over 4 hours, now takes less than 2 hours including electrolysis.
-- I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.