Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces

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DawnT
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2012/01/28 14:25:32 (permalink)

Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces

I made a purchase of some old Nemco presses that had been sitting in a hot and humid warehouse probably since the 80's. They're made of aluminum and seemingly sand mold cast pot metal. The aluminum surfaces clean well, but the rough textured pot metal castings in some cases are heavily oxidized and very grungy. It's my understanding from he net that using any kind of strong, caustic cleaner will pit and/or damage the castings. Using a fine wire brush does seem to help and clear ammonia does seem to affect the grundge with a lot of elbow grease.  I'm wondering if any sort of strong cleaner will work safely and what I'm reading is more about restoration of finely finished and previously plated surfaces such as car parts which most of the articles are written about.
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    lornaschinske
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/28 14:58:29 (permalink)
    You may want to use a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda. That's pretty gentle.  A good degreasing dish detergent may help. I'd put the pink stuff (ProForce) we buy by the gallon at Sam's Club up against anything on the market. I'm sure you are already using a good degreasing detergent to wash your pans on the cart already. DO NOT USE AWESOME!!! It does not like aluminum. Elbow grease is what you will have to rely on. The Proforce Floor Cleaner & Degreaser says right on the jug "not for use on aluminum or other soft metals".
    #2
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/28 19:37:37 (permalink)
    I'd think about a buffer and good polish for aluminum like Mothers which you can buy at any automotive store. Mothers makes buffer attachments that work well on any drill.Mothers also makes what they call a power ball buffer and they come in different sizes and are made to get into and around the holes in mags. I have a power ball but have never used it but only because I have two full sized buffers and about 20 different kinds of buffing pads. But most of the buffing I do is on big surface areas. Buffing is very cool like mowing the lawn instant gratification and blanks out everything else. LMAO
     
    Or you  could get a button buffer for 3 or 4 bucks like this one.

     
    And again they will work on any drill electric or battery operated. But Mothers Aluminum polish is awesome and runs about $7.00 for a can. If you want it to look like new use Mothers.
     
     
    #3
    BackAlleyBurger
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/29 01:39:49 (permalink)
    go buy about 20 packs of cherry koolaid, unsweetened, some boiling hot water, and a bucket..... put all the koolaid in the bucket, maybe a gallon size, and use at least enough koolaid that woiuld 5 gallons.... mix it in and drop the parts in
    remove a few hours later and see how they look, maybe a light wire brushing..... redunk if more cleaning needed....
     
    we used this method on shower drains in the navy..... you aint getting any more gunked up then that, lol
    #4
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/29 10:28:57 (permalink)
    BackAlleyBurger cherry koolaid, unsweetened, some boiling hot water,

     
    What is in kool-aid that would clean anything? Acid? But according to this it really may work and it'll make your dog happy LMAO
     
    Although we've recently learned a very thorough way to clean your toilet, sometimes you're looking for the easy way out. Who knew that method would turn us to the pantry and, more specifically, to Kool-Aid?
     
    We've mentioned in the past over at Unplggd that Lemon Kool-Aid is a great cleanser for your dishwasher, but we never really thought about using it in our toilet before.
     
    Although lemon works great, check out the ingredients in orange... it's the citric acid that helps to clean your bowl! All you have to do is sprinkle the contents of the package in before you head to bed, swirl it around with a toilet bowl brush, and let it sit over night. The acid in the drink mix will go to work cleaning away tough stains and build up if you don't have the best water conditions.
     
    It's eco-friendly, so if your favorite pooch is a toilet drinker, they'll receive a happy surprise next time they go to take a lick and find out their regular "agua-de-bano" is now fruit flavored! Don't believe us? Give it a try!
     
    http://www.apartmentthera...-your-toilet-wi-137538
     
    Now youve got me thinking there may be a better or at least cheaper way to clean my Grill Zilla deck. So I did another search. And this is what I found at an off road site link below
     
    Edelbrock Tech Tip:
    Cleaning Your Edelbrock Aluminum Intake Manifold

    While networking with consumers at shows and events, we learn a lot about our customer and what they want from Edelbrock. This leads us to the question that has incited us to write this Edelbrock Tech Tip feature, "How do you recommend I clean my Edelbrock intake manifold"? Once a porous aluminum finish is stained, it can be very difficult to find an environmentally safe cleaner that will actually extract the blemish from the pores of the aluminum. In our research in finding a safe and effective alternative, Edelbrock has found an aluminum cleaner option that can work effectively, OxiSolv Aluminum Cleaner. It is important to follow OxiSolv's instructions to prevent damage to other parts on your engine.
    Manufactured by Daubert Cromwell, a manufacturer of industrial and commercial cleaning products, Evapo-Rust is effective for use in cleaning our as-cast aluminum intake manifolds, cylinder heads, and water-pumps when used as directed. Edelbrock does not sell Evapo-Rust, however you can call for assistance at 800-535-3535 or send an email to info@daubertcromwell.com.
     
    Here is another product for cleaning aluminum and some comments from a consumer.
    http://www.streakmaster.c...m_cleaner_cleaning.htm
    Prices are here http://www.streakmaster.com/Purchase.html 
     
    post edited by Dr of BBQ - 2012/01/29 12:16:25
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    edwmax
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/29 13:14:07 (permalink)
    DawnT
    ..... It's my understanding from he net that using any kind of strong, caustic cleaner will pit and/or damage the castings. .....

     
    I have used oven cleaner.    Yes, it will damage the aluminum if you let it stay on, so don't let it stay on the bare metal long.   ... You have a layer of grunge (burned on grease) build-up over the top of the metal. Spray on the oven cleaner and when it starts running dirty looking (few seconds) scrub & rinse it off. Then repeat until you get down to the metal.
    post edited by edwmax - 2012/01/29 13:15:20
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    DawnT
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/29 14:02:39 (permalink)
    Thanks for the input all. I'm dealing with two problems here, but the foremost problem is a white surface oxidation that's not on the aluminum, but on the pot metal surfaces. Some surfaces are ground/flat but most others are very rugose as if casted in a sand mold which makes the cleaning harder. So far, a wire brush or small wheel on the flexible shaft tool (think dremel) has been the best. Last night I got the idea to give a friend of mine a call that owns a large vibratory tumbler. That might be a great route to go for a gentle abrasive action that gets into textured areas. I've seen the results of using a blast cabinet on pot metal and it's not a way to go. The grunge is less in the way of food deposits and grease as much as it's just oxidation due to hot and humid storage. On some smaller pieces, I tried the ultrasonic cleaner. While it does wonders on other metals, the cavitation doesn't seem to touch the pot metal oxidation. No matter what, it seems that some form of gentle,controlled abrasion is the only way to tackle this. The aluminum parts are easily cleaned, this is just a pot metal issue.
    #7
    lornaschinske
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/29 15:31:27 (permalink)
    When you get if figured out, how about posting what you came up with that worked the best. This is obviously something that needs the be able to be found again on a search.
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    RodBangkok
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/29 17:47:58 (permalink)
    Pot metal, is die cast zinc.  Not easy to refurbish.  Here's one link I found about plating it that gives some insight into how to clean it at the beginning.  I would not give up on sand blasting, but you need someone who has some knowledge here, as there are variables that they need to control.  Pressure, size and type of shot, and nozzle.  A tumbler might work also if they have the right size and type aggregate.  
    http://www.caswelleurope....%20Die-Cast%20Zinc.htm
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    DawnT
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/29 18:36:51 (permalink)
    SDKLENE appears to be a proprietary product. I did find a few things though. Like Rod suggested, you should be safe with using only glass bead, low pressure, and continuous movement. Small blast cabinets are very cheap nowadays and so are small compressors. I have access to a cabinet, but the abrasive is aluminum oxide and much too agressive. I'm going to try the tumbler approach first with a few pieces. The owner of the tumbler uses hers for polishing metal parts and baked, polymer clay pieces for her crafts. The media she uses may not be rough enough, but it will be interesting to see what happens. I also checked into reverse electrolysis which can be done easily at home. Unfortunately it destroys pot metal from what I've read and best be left to iron/rust. A bronze wire brush may be the best after all unless I can get some glass bead. 
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    CCinNJ
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/29 21:30:25 (permalink)
    I am late to the party. When the time comes...what gets pressed?
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    lornaschinske
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/30 00:41:05 (permalink)
    DawnT
    ...  I'm going to try the tumbler approach first with a few pieces. The owner of the tumbler uses hers for polishing metal parts and baked, polymer clay pieces for her crafts. The media she uses may not be rough enough, but it will be interesting to see what happens...

      Using the milder media may be your best bet. It may take longer but at least you may avoid damaging the metal.
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    CCinNJ
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/31 12:31:51 (permalink)
    Tuna!!!!

    Since I did not have that even listed in my top 5 press guesses maybe I will abstain from sandblasting and caustic chemicals. I am rooting for you Dawn.
    #13
    DawnT
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/31 15:02:52 (permalink)
    It's a shame that nobody's ever market a downscaled Tuna press version for home kitchens. The real deal is about $275 new. Closest thing that I've seen has been what looks like a kitchen sink strainer for small 6 oz(and shrinking) cans. I don't think anyone has made a 12 oz can version.
     
     Years ago I stopped by to see my dad at the plant that he worked at. The electricians were installing something that they had these huge, ~ 3" sized circular knockouts. I picked up a few and after a good cleaning used a pair on a 12 oz. tuna can with a C clamp from the garage. Worked great and never could get my dad to use his welding skills to make us something like that for our kitchen. Even with the disks loose, it was still a great idea if you wanted to make a good quality tuna salad out of water pack.
     
     
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    CCinNJ
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/31 15:40:00 (permalink)
    I am looking sideways at my potato ricer...right now. I only have pouches of tuna on hand. I wonder if it could be tricked to press a can.
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    DawnT
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/31 16:07:49 (permalink)
    Hmmm. Never thought of that. I don't recall how big the holes are, but dumping the tuna in should do the trick. If a colander works, it should work great. Geeze, I admire your ingenuity!
     
    #16
    FriedTater
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/31 16:09:05 (permalink)
    How`d we get on TUNA?
     
    Glad to see you back CCinNJ
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    lornaschinske
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/31 16:27:10 (permalink)
    DawnT

    It's a shame that nobody's ever market a downscaled Tuna press version for home kitchens. The real deal is about $275 new. Closest thing that I've seen has been what looks like a kitchen sink strainer for small 6 oz(and shrinking) cans. I don't think anyone has made a 12 oz can version.

    Years ago I stopped by to see my dad at the plant that he worked at. The electricians were installing something that they had these huge, ~ 3" sized circular knockouts. I picked up a few and after a good cleaning used a pair on a 12 oz. tuna can with a C clamp from the garage. Worked great and never could get my dad to use his welding skills to make us something like that for our kitchen. Even with the disks loose, it was still a great idea if you wanted to make a good quality tuna salad out of water pack.



    Custom tuna can drainer.
    Hole saw same size as can will cut slightly smaller than the can interior. Poly cutting board (cutting boards are already "stressed" so you can machine the poly to anything you want). Drill hole with hole saw. Save the cut out circle. Screw the cutout piece onto a scrap piece of wood thru the center hole the pilot bit made. Drill several more holes with a drill bit. Use a razor to clean up the straggles of poly. Use a SS screw to attach a cabinet knob (metal, ceramic or plastic) thru the center hole (make sure the threads are the same).
     
    I have hole saws up to 4". They make bigger too.  This is really no different than the floor strainer we made from a piece of poly. Except probably smaller drain holes. Poly cutting boards are handy things.
    post edited by lornaschinske - 2012/01/31 16:31:21
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    CCinNJ
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    Re:Cleaning Old Cast Pot Metal Surfaces 2012/01/31 16:27:39 (permalink)
    Thank you Sugar. Glad to be back.

    Dawn has a tuna can press. My money was on bacon press tortilla press grape...lard. Now we know to look out for the tuna presses in the thrift store travels. They are worth good money and I would assume not too many know what the hell it is...by looking.

    The ricer holes are smaller than the cheap as chips Betty Crocker plastic drainer plate holes. Excellent!!!!!

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