Rust is something that’s hard to get away from, even in the driest climates, so type of rust still can occur. Removing rust can be VERY difficult and we decided break down our top five methods for removing it from metal. Some of these methods are cheap and quick, while others require some investment, but will reusable.
1. Mechanically Remove the Rust- Removing rust in easily-accessible areas quickly can often times be done mechanically. You can use anything from a grinder with a flap wheel, DA Sander with sandpaper, Wire Wheel on a grinder or drill, or even by hand with sandpaper. Choose your method wisely as this method can cause more damage than good if you go too aggressive with the grit of paper you use or use too much force on the sander/grinder itself. Always start with a less aggressive abrasive than you think you need and work your way down to something that is easily removing the rust but isn’t damaging the metal too much.
2. Chemical Removal– Technology is great and so are chemists! Chemical removal of rust can take some of the hard work out of stripping rust from metal. The type of chemical you use and the method varies on the type of rust and where it is on the object. If you have a part that’s can be submerged or kept covered, Rust Dissolver safely cleans metal without damaging the base metal or its finish. If you have a part with light surface rust or rust in pits that needs to treated AND leave a protective coating, our Fast Etch is very effective. Keep in mind that these ARE chemicals and do need to be treated with respect; this means protective gear and covering items you don’t want in contact with the chemicals for safety.
3. Media Blasting- This method is by far the quickest, but does require some investment to do. By mixing compressed air and fine media particles you can quickly strip rust (and paint) off of metal. If you plan to blast often or do it more than just once or twice, we advise investing in a pressure blaster for large outdoor blasting and a blast cabinet to do smaller parts inside your shop. If you have a small air compressor or only plan to do a few small projects you can get up and running quickly and affordably with a Blast out of a Bucket syphon blaster. Don’t forget you need to order media to match your rust removal needed.
4. Contour SCT– The Eastwood Contour SCT is the ultimate tool for stripping rust as well as paint, filler, etc. With the wide abrasive drums you can really strip a large area QUICK. We like to use the black woven drum or the expanding wheel with 80 grit to knock down heavy rust first and come back with the red conditioning wheel to do a final clean up on the surface and give a good texture for primer to adhere to.
5. Abrasive Tumbling– Ever wonder how rocks get so smooth in the ocean or a river bed? They’re constantly being tumbled and rolled around in water with fine sand that cleans and polishes them until they are silky smooth. An media tumbler allows you to “set it and forget it”. Just put your desired media and parts in the tumbler and let it run until the parts are clean and rust free. We like to knock down heavy rust on parts first with the green pyramid media and follow it up with finer media and metal wash to get things to a high luster.