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Thread: Clean or shine Aluminum on the cheap

  1. #1

    Default Clean or shine Aluminum on the cheap

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ID:	9740A cheap way to clean bare aluminum is to use an S.O.S pad. Takes a little effort but is cheap and no nasty chemicals. I think the soap in the S.O.S pad is even biodegradable.

    I even did this to 4 cyl, aluminum head and and had to replace a the valve cover gasket 6 years later and it still looks looked shiny and prevented varnish from sticking.
    Millermatic 251 with 30A
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  2. #2

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    It might be cheap, but for welding purposes, absolutely the worse thing you can do as you imbed metal fragments from the steel wool into the metal...and it causes more contamination than you had when you are welding.

  3. #3

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    Maybe in theory but in reality I find aluminum welds better after I clean wih an SOS than when I was cleaning with a dedicated S.S brush then cleaning eveything after welding was complete with an S.O.S.

    The main reason for this post was to indicate that an S.O.S pad is great for cleaning aluminum irregardless if welding is involved.

    I did some a recent job with tarnished aluminum and found it easier to preclean, weld then touch up the welds after with the S.O.SClick image for larger version. 

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ID:	9811
    Millermatic 251 with 30A
    Synchrowave 180
    Hobart 100 MIG
    lathe & RF45
    Power TIG 250EX
    Spectrum 625 X-TREME
    Spray Zone.net-Side draft spray booth

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Greater Seattle, WA
    Posts
    813

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    That does look pretty good. I'll often use a scotchbrite hand pad to similar effect:
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    ...it leaves a nice "grain" pattern on both aluminum and stainless without rusting. (Just rub in the desired direction of the grain lines.) I usually do a solvent wipe-down after scotchbriting, before welding.
    '13 Everlast 255EXT
    '07 Everlast Super200P

  5. #5

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    I use the same, green and red, as Jake.

    I thought SOS pads had soap in them too? I would guess you could hit it with air and wipe with denatured alcohol to fix that though. The scothbrite pads are not cheap.

    I have a friend that polishes aluminum golf cart parts with SOS pads, never tried it myself. Something to add to the list of to try I guess..
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  6. #6

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    These may work well too. I've never tried them, but might not be a bad idea.

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/2025517...1757%2d%5f%2dx
    Everlast 200DX
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by sportbike View Post
    These may work well too. I've never tried them, but might not be a bad idea.

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/2025517...1757%2d%5f%2dx
    Those would be great on aluminum. Will go get a pack today and try them. Good find and good price.
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Greater Seattle, WA
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    813

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    Mike -

    The scotchbrite hand pads are cheap. I'm pretty sure I paid less than $1 each last time I stocked up. Look for a place that buys them by the large box and sells the individually out of the box (unless you can justify buying them by the box), rather than buying them retail packaged. Here they are for less than $1 each (for a box of 20): http://www.amazon.com/3M-Scotch-Brit.../dp/B000LPN3WQ

    I like the Purple/Maroon ones ("Type A Very Fine") for quick abrading action. I tried the brown (supposedly a little courser) but they seem to fall apart a bit too quick for my tastes (and not make the job go noticeably easier than with the purple/maroon ones). What's great about an abrasive like this is how well it works on a surface that's not totally smooth (it can "hide" surface irregularities and scratches, etc very well)

    I usually just cut off whatever sized piece I need (usually a small fraction of the entire pad) using some scissors (I dedicate a free pair of harbor freight scissors to a hard life of abrasive cutting) and it seems to make just a single scotchbrite hand pads last pretty long. Often I'll just use little squares for little detailing jobs, maybe 1"x2" or so. Small pieces are good for getting into corners too. Don't need to always throw them out when done with one job, either. Can keep using until they fall apart. Although a fresh one cuts faster than a loaded-up, broken down one so diminishing returns is applicable.

    I have the three colors as well (brown maroon and green, pad and rolocs). I guess my mistake is getting them at the paint shop. Everything is more expensive there, I justify it since I am there for something else, but really pay in the end. Never made it to HD to try the other ones, but I will give them a try.
    Last edited by jakeru; 03-22-2013 at 04:06 AM.
    '13 Everlast 255EXT
    '07 Everlast Super200P

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakeru View Post
    Mike -

    The scotchbrite hand pads are cheap. I'm pretty sure I paid less than $1 each last time I stocked up. Look for a place that buys them by the large box and sells the individually out of the box (unless you can justify buying them by the box), rather than buying them retail packaged. Here they are for less than $1 each (for a box of 20): http://www.amazon.com/3M-Scotch-Brit.../dp/B000LPN3WQ

    I like the Purple/Maroon ones ("Type A Very Fine") for quick abrading action. I tried the brown (supposedly a little courser) but they seem to fall apart a bit too quick for my tastes (and not make the job go noticeably easier than with the purple/maroon ones). What's great about an abrasive like this is how well it works on a surface that's not totally smooth (it can "hide" surface irregularities and scratches, etc very well)

    I usually just cut off whatever sized piece I need (usually a small fraction of the entire pad) using some scissors (I dedicate a free pair of harbor freight scissors to a hard life of abrasive cutting) and it seems to make just a single scotchbrite hand pads last pretty long. Often I'll just use little squares for little detailing jobs, maybe 1"x2" or so. Small pieces are good for getting into corners too. Don't need to always throw them out when done with one job, either. Can keep using until they fall apart. Although a fresh one cuts faster than a loaded-up, broken down one so diminishing returns is applicable.

    I have the three colors as well (brown maroon and green, pad and rolocs). I guess my mistake is getting them at the paint shop. Everything is more expensive there, I justify it since I am there for something else, but really pay in the end. Never made it to HD to try the other ones, but I will give them a try.
    I pick them up at a paint shop. That's my mistake, but I justify it as I am there and will save time and gas. Funny, I keep stocked up on cut-off wheels, grinding wheels, plasma/mig/tig consumables, etc.

    I still want to try the HD SS pads just for grins.
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  10. #10

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    HI
    I have used the Scotchbrite pad along with Ospho for cleaning steel before painting. I found it will remove mill scale and leave a nice smooth finish for paint to adhere to. And help with rust prevention. Use rubber gloves and eye protection too.
    http://www.boatbandit.com/detail.asp...Fch7Qgod3AcAVA

    Have fun
    Tom

    Everlast PM256
    Millermatic 180
    Hypertherm PowerMax 65 with machine torch
    Longevity Force Cut 80I
    DIY CNC table for plasma/routing
    13" metal lathe
    Small Mill
    ect, ect.

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by acourtjester View Post
    HI
    I have used the Scotchbrite pad along with Ospho for cleaning steel before painting. I found it will remove mill scale and leave a nice smooth finish for paint to adhere to. And help with rust prevention. Use rubber gloves and eye protection too.
    http://www.boatbandit.com/detail.asp...Fch7Qgod3AcAVA

    Have fun
    Tom
    I would recommend you wear a respirator as well? When I use it, the throat gets a little scratchy. I spray it normally.
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  12. Default

    When I was doing anodizing I used Sodium hydroxide (lye) to strip the oxide layer, rins in water, then nitric acid to eat any allying elements on the surface, then rins and finally week sulfuric acid for anodizing.
    The lye was probably the most frightening, it would bubble and foam. I was only doing small parts, but used gloves that when to my elbows, and a full face mask.

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