Rust removal before and after

Best Tumbling Media for Rust Removal

Removing rust from metal parts is not always as easy as it seems. There are many ways to go about doing that. The best methods will ultimately depend on the size of the parts and the extent of the corrosion.

brass parts before and after rust removal
brass parts before and after rust removal

Most often, people will use liquid chemicals to remove rust from metal surfaces. However, tumbling media can also work extremely well as a rust remover. In general, the effectiveness will depend on three things.

First, the extent of the corrosion will impact the effectiveness of the cleaning process. If the parts are badly rusted, one cleaning usually won’t be enough to remove the corrosion.

Second, it’s important to take into consideration the size of the parts that need cleaning. If the parts are small such as nuts or bolts, the cleaning machine should fit the size of the parts.

Lastly, using the right type of media will be the most important step. In general, the size of the media will have to match the size of the metal parts.

All in all, these three things need to be considered before even starting the rust removal process. Since a single run probably won’t remove all of the rust, it’s important to plan for multiple cleaning rounds.

Removing rust with tumbling media

Rusting happens because metals easily react with oxygen and water. Specifically, iron and steel are prone to rusting. Aluminum parts corrode but they don’t rust like iron ones do, for example. So, it’s important to know what kind of material you’ll be cleaning.

Removing rust from metal parts with tumbling media can be an effective cleaning solution. Tumbling media won’t eat away at the rust, as chemicals do, but it will remove it by utilizing friction.

Types of tumbling media for rust removal

There are two types of tumbling media that can remove rust effectively.

Abrasive pyramid-shaped plastic media is ideal for rust removal from small parts. It can clean larger parts as well, such as tools, wrenches or pliers. If the metal parts have threads, plastic media won’t damage them. On top of that, plastic media is great for removing corrosion from aluminum parts.

Pyramid plastic media for rust removal
Pyramid plastic media for rust removal

However, using plastic media with metal parts has a downside. Since metal is a tougher material than plastic, the tumbling or vibratory cleaning process might degrade the plastic. So, you’ll be left with a plastic powder after the cleaning process.

It’s important to note that one cleaning round might not remove all of the rust from the metal parts. That’s especially true if the rust is stuck between grooves or threads, as is the case with screws.

Apart from plastic, ceramic media is also extremely effective in removing rust from metal parts. In some cases, it will be more effective than plastic media.

Ceramic media comes in many different shapes and sizes. So, there are many options to choose from to get the best results.

Ceramic media for rust removal
Ceramic media for rust removal

To avoid lodging issues, choosing the correct size of the ceramic media will be important. Most often, the cylinder-shaped media and the angle cut triangle media are the best for removing rust. They are durable and will do the job faster than plastic media. But the speed will depend on the abrasive grit size of the media. For removing rust, it’s best to use fast-cutting ceramic media. The cleaning process will be quick and the end result will be a dull surface finish.

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