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Thread: Mill Scale Removal Tip

  1. #1
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    Mill Scale Removal Tip

    Hey Folks,

    Everybody probably has a favorite method of removing mill scale and this may be redundant or some may already be doing it.

    Here is my method for removing the mill scale when I have large numbers of smaller cut pieces to deal with.

    - Homeless Depot 5 gallon bucket
    - Sufficient white vinegar to cover pieces
    - An inexpensive aquarium air bubbler

    Immerse the pieces, start the bubbler, and rinse the pieces off with water next day.

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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    If you had a way to warm the vinegar it will work even quicker.

    An aquarium heater is one idea. Some other immersion heater would also work.

    Just make sure you do it in a well ventilated area away from other tools.


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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    I use vinegar with small stuff, but never thought about the bubbler. Thank you

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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    This method has been written up here probably dozens of times. You also need to stabilize the fresh steel surface somehow. First, neutralize the steel with a basic solution, say baking soda. Follow with a fresh water rinse, quick dry to prevent flash rusting and then coat with paint, some rust preventive, some kind of oil, WD-40, clear spray or paint, etc. If you use a oil-type surface preservative, painting might not work. I assume the trick you are posting about is the bubbler...good idea.

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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by psacustomcreations View Post
    If you had a way to warm the vinegar it will work even quicker.

    An aquarium heater is one idea. Some other immersion heater would also work.

    Just make sure you do it in a well ventilated area away from other tools.
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    Hey psacustomscreations,

    Thanks for the good input. Very good point, but if I heat the vinegar I don't think my wife will be able to reuse it in our salad dressing later. (?)

    Large Grin.....
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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by shortfuse View Post
    This method has been written up here probably dozens of times. You also need to stabilize the fresh steel surface somehow. First, neutralize the steel with a basic solution, say baking soda. Follow with a fresh water rinse, quick dry to prevent flash rusting and then coat with paint, some rust preventive, some kind of oil, WD-40, clear spray or paint, etc. If you use a oil-type surface preservative, painting might not work. I assume the trick you are posting about is the bubbler...good idea.
    shortfuse,

    Good advise..! Most of my carbon steel welding 'stuff' is incorporated in a woodworking event. The welded parts are wire brushed/acetone cleaned before welding, after which wire brushed again and cleaned with automotive PrepSol. Then I use a 2k automotive primer to insure paint adhesion. Then a color base coat is applied. Generally if the part is exposed for view, I will clear coat with a 2k clear. I've never had any issue with my commissioned projects.

    I'm really a furniture woodworker. I've been a stick and MIG dabber for a longtime. I've just stuck my toe into this TIG pool and really love it. Whew, I have a lot to learn about TIG. Sorry if I hit a old redundant topic.

    Again thanks for the response.
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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    What is the benefit exactly of the bubbler ?

    Tony

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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    If I had to guess, the bubbler helps to move/agitate the liquid vinegar and speeds up the process.
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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by El Greco View Post
    What is the benefit exactly of the bubbler ?

    Tony
    El Greco,

    Oscar is spot-on. Circulation of the vinegar is the key thing which is accomplished by the aeration (bubbles). I also think that the oxygenated vinegar is able to better 'kick-some-mill-scale-butt'...... just a guess.

    After an over night soak the metal just needs a very light buffing with a wire wheel to become a very shinny nicely weldable piece. Being new to TIG I've learned that the metal has to be 'shinny clean'. I used to get away a lot with stick or MIG.

    Thanks for the interest.....
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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by BajaMike View Post
    shortfuse,.....The welded parts are wire brushed/acetone cleaned before welding, after which wire brushed again and cleaned with automotive PrepSol. Then I use a 2k automotive primer to insure paint adhesion. Then a color base coat is applied. Generally if the part is exposed for view, I will clear coat with a 2k clear. Sorry if I hit a old redundant topic.
    I think you do a very good job at metal preservation/prep! Flash rust wouldn't have a chance with your processes.

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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by shortfuse View Post
    I think you do a very good job at metal preservation/prep! Flash rust wouldn't have a chance with your processes.
    short fuse,,

    Thanks for the vote of confidence!! Yes,, being a woodworker good finishing is very important to my projects so I do it. All though,, I love the planning and built out stage for the projects much better and the finishing, which I really dread. (puke x infinity) Oh well,,, part of the dance,, huh???

    I'm doing kinda OK in the TIG arena,,,, but still have a long way to go to enable me to make welds like jewelry that most of you folks do.....

    Bye, now and thanks..
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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    A weld pretty enough to be a bracelet. I like that.

    Try to keep the vinegar away from enclosed spaces with things that can rust.
    Last edited by SlowBlues; 01-18-2022 at 06:47 PM.

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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    Wow that s cool..But do you really need to remove the mill scale from the whole piece, unless you are welding everywhere on the piece. I just remove it and then some for the area I am welding..
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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by SlowBlues View Post
    A weld pretty enough to be a bracelet. I like that.

    Try to keep the vinegar away from enclosed spaces with things that can rust.
    SlowBlues,

    Understand what you suggest. What I've been doing, even back in my MIG days, is only for small 5 gallon bucket sized pieces and I fold an old thick bath towel in half and cover the bucket. I haven't had problems yet. Larger 'stuff' I do it the hard way with an angle grinder and wheels.

    I'm lucky in that with furniture building I generally need small items.

    Thanks for the input.....
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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    Quote Originally Posted by sapperb View Post
    Wow that s cool..But do you really need to remove the mill scale from the whole piece, unless you are welding everywhere on the piece. I just remove it and then some for the area I am welding..
    sappers,

    I use the 5 gallon bucket method for small pieces. Big stuff I revert to the 'old' ways.......

    Thanks for the reply..
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  18. #16
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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    Ok sounds good brutha..drive on!!
    Welds last longer than Love...

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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    Thanks for the tip, and the heating tip.

    I tried Vinegar several months back for some small used new taps I bought.

    I usually buy new but these where quality taps to good to pass up of locally for $5 for the a bunch in original packets.

    I heard about vinegar years ago but it's only been the last few years I've been able to set up shop again and try.

    I only used a coffee jar and the gunk I threw out, but if I was to set up say a large tub how long do you get out of the vinegar.

    Do any of you guys strain it to reuse, how long does it activity work etc, or is it one use only.


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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    You can use regular strength vinegar (5%) probably two to four times, depending on how much de-rusting took place. If it gets weak, takes too much time compared to previous baths, just add some more new vinegar. No need to throw the whole batch out. If you want, you can decant and save (pour off) the "cleanest" liquid on the top), and dispose of the sludge in the bottom of the container. I never strained mine; too much work and cleanup.

  21. #19
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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    First question is why do you need to remove the mill scale?

    I did this if the spec call for removing mill scale and I use sand blaster. Very costly.

    When sent out for hot dip or plating they dip in acid.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by BajaMike View Post
    Hey Folks,

    Everybody probably has a favorite method of removing mill scale and this may be redundant or some may already be doing it.

    Here is my method for removing the mill scale when I have large numbers of smaller cut pieces to deal with.

    - Homeless Depot 5 gallon bucket
    - Sufficient white vinegar to cover pieces
    - An inexpensive aquarium air bubbler

    Immerse the pieces, start the bubbler, and rinse the pieces off with water next day.

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Size:  174.3 KB

  22. #20
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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    I do it for tig welding, and so I don't have to spend a bunch of time with a grinder in my hands. That being said I only do it at home, and if I have all my cuts made so that all I am doing is putting the details together. If I am using any other process that I have (mig or arc) I just bump it with a grinder a bit and go on. Those are just a tad cruder for me than other folks on this forum.

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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    I recently read where a guy got a section of pvc pipe, glued an end cap on one side, and threaded the other end. Fill with vinegar, and there you go. I figure a piece of 4" pvc pipe maybe 48" long wouldn't be too bad to have around, and would help with some longer pieces.

  24. #22
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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    Just a tip; Plastic gutter cut to desired length, 2 end caps RTV'd to seal. Makes a cheap tray for long pieces. Bob

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  26. #23
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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    LittleTreeGuy & rhunt,

    Both suggestions are great. Mill Scale is always torture to remove. Also a task I always dread to mess with. Thanks for the response....!
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  27. #24
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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    For large pieces of steel plate Iíll cover one side with a layer of paper towels and saturated it with vinegar. After that, cover the whole thing with saran wrap. The next day itís good to remove and clean up the plate. Iíve always used 6% cleaning vinegar, not sure how much more that helps but itís always worked well for me.

  28. #25
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    Re: Mill Scale Removal Tip

    Citric acid works better than vinegar

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