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Unread 02-18-2014, 04:56 PM   #1
danielbuck
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How do YOU strip zinc from hardware before welding?

In the passed with MIG welding, I usually just zap the bolts and forget about it. I'm starting to TIG, and I'm wanting to use nuts and bolts and washers to make things with. I don't think TIG works so well if the zinc and galvanized coatings are present, and since it's a slower process it's probably more likely that I'll inhale stuff that might not be to go for me.


I don't want to use something like Muriatic Acid. To harsh, don't want to keep that stuff around.


I've got some parts in a jar of vinegar right now. And I'll try citric acid next.


How do yall do it?

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Unread 02-18-2014, 07:15 PM   #2
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Sand blasting the hardware works, but with any plateing its hard to get down into the grains or pores of the steel.

I use a hand sand blaster with a welding glove and it removes about 95% of the zinc, should be good enough for your tig welding needs.

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Unread 02-18-2014, 08:28 PM   #3
thantos858
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I would just buy them without the plating. I would still have good ventilation as some of the stuff that gets put on metal for rust prevention can be toxic as well
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Unread 02-18-2014, 08:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thantos858 View Post
I would just buy them without the plating. I would still have good ventilation as some of the stuff that gets put on metal for rust prevention can be toxic as well
I'm not sure if my local hardware store carries most hardware without the coatings? I've seen a few things that appear to not have coatings, but they are a few nuts and bolts and washers mixed in with all the coated hardware (like they were old stock from years ago) Almost everything seems to have the zinc or galvanized coating. I never go to home depot for hardware, but I assume they would be the same?

And aside from that, I already have bins full of random hardware, alot of which has some sort of coating on it. I usually try not to by new hardware unless it's something I don't already have.
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Unread 02-19-2014, 11:48 PM   #5
thantos858
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Homedepot doesn't have a big selection. I go to ACE for my hardware now plus the money stays local as its a mom and pop place.

Vinegar works for removing it and its not a bad thing for other cleaning projects. I would also get a respirator rated for zinc when welding and grinding it.
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Unread 02-22-2014, 07:59 AM   #6
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There's plenty of hardware available without zinc coating, if it isn't gray then it's not galvanized. If you have no other choice blasting will remove the greatest part of it.. anything left should be negligible in the rest of the welding fumes.
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Unread 03-03-2014, 09:57 PM   #7
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zink will contaminate your welds even if you get 98% of it off if your tig welding just use SS hardware you can blend the SS and mild steal easily it will also be more forgiving.
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Unread 03-06-2014, 11:56 PM   #8
danielbuck
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Ok, so it took a while, but vinegar worked just fine! I was out of town for a week or two, so it sat for a good while. I did check it after 1 day (before I left town) and it didn't seem to have come along very well, but after 2 weeks it was done! Here's a photo, and one of the original nuts with the coating still on for comparison. As I was drying off the hardware, surface rust was visible, so I guess that means I got all (or most) of the coating off.





Today I went to the local restaurant supply store and picked up some Citric Acid (powder) and that stuff works alot faster, after an hour it looked like most of the coating was gone. So, I think I'll use the Citric Acid from now on, it's alot faster. And just like vinegar, it's safe to dump down the drain, and you don't need gloves like some of the more harsh chemicals (muriatic acid and what not). The Citric acid didn't seem to cloud up and get all brown like the vinegar did, makes it easier to tell when the parts are done
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Unread 03-24-2014, 01:46 PM   #9
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Oh and I forgot to update. Not even a hint of odd smell while welding. So I'd say either solution works just fine
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Unread 03-24-2014, 05:42 PM   #10
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If you plan on doing that frequently, you can just order "plain" hardware. I get most of mine at McMaster Carr.. although one of my local vendors also sells some uncoated stuff too.
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Unread 03-24-2014, 06:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BESRK View Post
If you plan on doing that frequently, you can just order "plain" hardware. I get most of mine at McMaster Carr.. although one of my local vendors also sells some uncoated stuff too.
I don't plan on doing it frequently, but I'm gonna keep that in mind next time I do something that requires welding alot of hardware. For my furniture, I always make the feet of the furniture a large nut, so that levelers/pads can be threaded in.

Most of my hardware is already coated, so for now I'll just strip what I need as I need it. If I start doing more and more with hardware, I'll probably find out what size I use the most, and order up some uncoated hardware. I like McMaster, they are so close to me I get it the next day! But they aren't cheap :-( (well, maybe they are for nuts and bolts, I've never ordered that stuff through them)
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Unread 03-24-2014, 06:13 PM   #12
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If the citric acid is a powder, I'd assume you just dissolve it in water. How long did it take?

Thanks for the idea! I've got some citric acid leftover from winemaking stuff that should do the trick.
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Unread 03-24-2014, 07:01 PM   #13
danielbuck
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Originally Posted by YoureverydayXJ View Post
If the citric acid is a powder, I'd assume you just dissolve it in water. How long did it take?

Thanks for the idea! I've got some citric acid leftover from winemaking stuff that should do the trick.
Yea, that's the stuff, the powder/granular stuff for cooking/brewing. I didn't measure, I just put in a bit. If I had to guess I'd say maybe..... 20:1 ratio of water:citric_acid ?? No clue what is the optimal mixture that is still strong enough to relatively quickly strip the hardware, without needlessly wasting citric acid with a mix that's to strong.

I'd say after an hour or two in the citric acid the hardware was pretty good. I let it go overnight though, just to be sure. Straight vinegar however, probably takes days or even weeks. But the result seemed to be the same.
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Unread 03-24-2014, 07:31 PM   #14
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Perfect. Thanks for the information! I might experiment a bit with it.
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Unread 03-24-2014, 10:27 PM   #15
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I tacked a nut today, and used a file to grind the zinc off. It was a bit annoying chucking the nut into the vice 8 or so times, but it didn't take more than 5-6 swipes each time.
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