Experimenting with rust bluing and dip painting - JeepForum.com
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-05-2019, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
Hatsuwr
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1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Bowie, MD
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Experimenting with rust bluing and dip painting

Hi everyone, just tried a couple things I've been wanting to experiment with on a shift linkage I plan to replace on my ZJ. Would be glad to hear your thoughts, and any ideas for how to do better.

Most everything was rusted to hell, so I used some Simple Green to degrease, then electrolytic rust removal. I've written a bit about that process somewhere already I think. It also does a great job of loosening any damaged paint.

After the rust removal, I used a wire brush as needed then rinsed in an ultrasonic cleaner with regular white vinegar to get any loose bits off and to dissolve the black coating that tends to form.

Sorry for no before pictures, but here everything is all cleaned up. I had reattached one of the weld nuts on the bracket at the center right with bronze brazing. This process seems to have made parts of the repair appear more like copper than bronze. I'd want to look more into that before doing electrolysis on critical non-steel parts. It also deposited some of whatever was removed from the brazing onto the steel, as it took on a bit of a greenish color.



Rust bluing is very often used for guns. There are specialized products for it, but I wanted something cheap and relatively non toxic. The basic process is to heat up some hydrogen peroxide and saturate it with iodine-free salt, then brush this onto the parts to cause surface rusting. Everything works better here when it is warm. I tried dipping small parts in the solution, but that just made me need to replace it sooner.

After a few minutes, the parts are rinsed and then boiled in water for several minutes. Heating the rust (Fe2O3) in the absence of oxygen apparently converts it to Fe3O4, which acts as a stable coating which resists further rusting. I used a large stock pot with a silicone strainer on the bottom. Then repeat the rust/rinse/boil process as many times as you want. I think I did around 6 cycles. I started with using tap water since mine is relatively close to pure water. I noticed the water turned very brown each time though, so for the last boil I used reverse osmosis water and also got it boiling before adding the parts to help remove any dissolved oxygen. Due to the water being purer, oxygen being removed from it, or the parts just having a more developed coating (or some combination of these) the water stayed fairly clear on the last boil, and I think that is a good sign of a better coat.

Some parts, like the lever/pin, had areas that just didn't want to rust. I'm guessing this was due to non-homogenous steel being used for the part. The best results seem to have been on the fasteners.

I also tried carding in between coats on the small lever pictured (stamped 396), where you use very fine steel wool (or something similar) to remove any loose material. I did not notice any improvement from this. If anything, it may have made things worse. I think it might just be for appearance.









The Fe3O4 coating itself is only mildly rust resistant. Further treatment is needed. Its structure is apparently very porous, so a common thing seen with fasteners is to lightly coat them in oil. For mine, while they were still warm from the last boil, I immersed them in heated mineral oil. I then froze it and reheated it, with the hope that the temperature cycling would help the oil permeate the porous structure.



Still, this probably isn't better than zinc plating for exposure to water and road pollutants. I wanted to do something a bit more durable for the large parts, so I painted them. I've never tried painting over rust blued parts, but I was wondering if the porous coating might help the paint adhere. Alternatively, the Fe3O4 might not have as strong a bond to the steel, reducing the quality of the coat. I have no idea.

I had been wondering about just dipping parts in paint to reduce waste from spray paint and to ensure more complete coverage. Downside to this is that dripping is inevitable, so I wouldn't recommend it if appearances are very important. I used Rust Oleum High Performance Protective Enamel. Gloss isn't really my style, but it should keep the parts cleaner, make them easier to clean, and the gloss will probably be pretty quickly covered in dust and dirt anyway... I tried using a mix of paint and ~20% acetone for some of the smaller parts to see if thinning it would reduce dripping. I didn't notice a significant difference in dripping or coat thickness, but I still want to look more into that. Coat thickness on both was around what was recommended by Rust Oleum.

For the threads I just ran a bolt or paper towel through while the paint was still wet. Sorry my pictures aren't great.







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post #2 of 7 Old 11-05-2019, 04:19 PM
rjbruzan
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That looks great. How long to remove the rust?
Ron

Of all the things Ive lost
The one I miss most is my mind

Its like a fart in a windstorm
It smells good but thats about it

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post #3 of 7 Old 11-05-2019, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
Hatsuwr
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1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Bowie, MD
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That will vary quite a bit depending on part size, voltage, amperage, line of sight to anodes... Plus a bunch of other factors.

Typically I use ~4 rebar rods even spaced along the circumference of a 5 gallon bucket. Something in the range of 5 amps and 30 volts. Most things, if degreased well, should be done within about an hour or so.

I've left parts in for days at a time though, even with my voltage which is probably quite a bit of overkill, and didn't notice any loss of material.
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post #4 of 7 Old 11-06-2019, 09:37 AM
rjbruzan
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Thanks for the info a very good write up.
What are you using for a power source.

Ron

Of all the things Ive lost
The one I miss most is my mind

Its like a fart in a windstorm
It smells good but thats about it

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post #5 of 7 Old 11-06-2019, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
Hatsuwr
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1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Bowie, MD
Posts: 84
Just some cheap variable power supply from Amazon, one of the many clones of this:

https://www.amazon.com/Dr-meter-Sing...dp/B00O8DJ8QC/

Has held up surprisingly well despite being operated outside most of the time and being caught in the rain a couple times... Also accidentally dropped a 10' 2x6 on it haha.
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post #6 of 7 Old 11-06-2019, 06:16 PM
rjbruzan
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Thanks for the quick reply

Ron

Of all the things Ive lost
The one I miss most is my mind

Its like a fart in a windstorm
It smells good but thats about it

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post #7 of 7 Old 11-15-2019, 09:16 AM
pat master
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Very informative thank you for posting it
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