Advice on removing heavy oxidation from welding machine aluminum face plates
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  1. #1
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    Nov 2006
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    Advice on removing heavy oxidation from welding machine aluminum face plates

    Hi All,

    I think this is probably the best place for this request.

    I am going to paint an old P&H tig welder. I think it is a 60's vintage tig welder. I would like to clean the face plates that are very oxidized. To complicate it, the face plates have markings, polarity, heat settings, high frequency, settings, etc.

    Is there a way to clean it down to clean aluminum without damaging the printing on them? Even if they won't clean down to base aluminum but at least to get the rough oxidation off that looks like corrosion and will take away from the cosmetics of the paint job.

    Any help is appreciated.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Advice on removing heavy oxidation from welding machine aluminum face plates

    This will be very painstaking, is the print etched in at all, or is it printed flat on to the aluminum?

    First clean with a mild soapy solution, and use a “Mr.Clean Magic Eraser” to rub off any surface dirt, grease, or grime.
    Start with mild acid- Vinegar - Dont get too impatient, leave it on and reapply before wiping it off.
    Then go to mild abrasive - metal polish, Silvo- or brasso, bar keepers friend or similar metal polish containing a ultra fine abrasive. Use with microfiber, or terry cloth in small circles.
    Then resort to “heavy” abrasives if necessary- #0000 Stainless steel wool(the number of 0’s is very important) light pressure!

    Remember Mild to wild! Use the most gentle solution first then Go to the next aggressive step if several applications of the previous was not effective. DONT be in a hurry! Start at a corner and inconspicuous spot with each method!

    DO NOT use any solvents like acetone, as it’s quite possible that they make take the printing right off!

    At the end after it’s clean I might be tempted to give it a good clear coating of your choice for future protection.
    Last edited by Mmock4; 10-26-2018 at 06:26 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Advice on removing heavy oxidation from welding machine aluminum face plates

    I would use a hydroflouric acid based aluminum wheel cleaner and horse hair acid brush myself. Wash first with soapy water as suggested then move to the acid.
    .
    Unless corrosion has moved uner the silk screened printing , it won't touch the paint.

    Of course I'm just guessing again as don't know nuthin bout working with old stuff.
    Slob

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  4. #4
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    Re: Advice on removing heavy oxidation from welding machine aluminum face plates

    I wouldn’t do anything to them.
    It gives the machine character...

    Take them off
    Paint the machine
    And put them back on.




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  5. #5
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    Re: Advice on removing heavy oxidation from welding machine aluminum face plates

    I might try Flitz on that. we used to use it to polish aluminum diamond plate in the fire department. Never seemed to bother the paint.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Advice on removing heavy oxidation from welding machine aluminum face plates

    I've used Scotchbrite and water/detergent solution followed by a coat of clear after drying to make a big difference. Not like new but certainly better than before.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Advice on removing heavy oxidation from welding machine aluminum face plates

    Thanks all for your tips. I finally decided after almost ruining one, to just clean them , take them off and painted the machine. Came out well enough.

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  8. #8
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    Re: Advice on removing heavy oxidation from welding machine aluminum face plates

    Looks good, how does it weld?
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  9. #9
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    Re: Advice on removing heavy oxidation from welding machine aluminum face plates

    Before anybody rushes out to buy hydrofluoric acid to clean their wheels or anything else, read about hydrofluoric acid and how it penetrates your skin and eats the calcium in your bones, before you take the lid off the container (not a glass container, it eats glass) first. Pay particular attention to how it attacks your nail beds first so your fingernails fall out, then it proceeds to eat your bones from the inside out. No antidote if you don't get it off your skin "immediately."

    Scariest sh*t I've ever used.
    Do not believe everything that you think.

  10. #10
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    Western Washington
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    Re: Advice on removing heavy oxidation from welding machine aluminum face plates

    Looks great from here


    Ok, you got me curious.... how did you almost ruin one by cleaning it???

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