After some metal parts or tools are used for a period of time, rust will occur due to the oxidation of air and water environment and other problems. The rust on the metal surface will reduce the service life of the metal tools or parts and make the use of metal utensils inconvenient. In order to make the metal surface have good cleanliness and roughness, the surface of the metal structure must be derusted. There is a saying in the anti-corrosion industry that “seven points for rust removal and three points for painting”, which shows the importance of rust removal.

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What is Rust?

When a piece of Iron, Iron alloys or steel is exposed to water and oxygen it has a reaction called oxidisation. The appearance of this corrosion is a red-brown flaky coating and is commonly referred to as Rust.

Humidity and temperature with Oxygen can also cause rusting so don’t think that just because your jewellery tools are kept inside that they won’t fall foul of rusting.

Do All Metals Rust?

When a piece of Iron, Iron alloys or steel is exposed to water and oxygen it has a reaction called oxidisation. The appearance of this corrosion is a red-brown flaky coating and is commonly referred to as Rust.

Humidity and temperature with Oxygen can also cause rusting so don’t think that just because your jewellery tools are kept inside that they won’t fall foul of rusting.

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Rust vs Tarnish?

Now we’ve established which metals will rust we can eliminate these and say that every other metal will corrode or tarnish, to some degree or other.

Copper is the common culprit in most things we see that have tarnished.  The Patina (greenish coloured staining) is caused by the copper oxidising and this results in the build up of this tarnished layer

Sterling silver in particular is made up of a mixture of metals including copper which is why you sometimes find a ring of green colouring on your finger.

Metals That Do Not Rust

Aluminium, Brass, Bronze, Galvanised steel, Stainless Steel, COR-TEN steel, Copper, Titanium, and noble metals such as Gold, Silver, and Platinum are all metals that do not rust. They can corrode, stain, or tarnish, but they will not rust.

How to Remove Rust from Metal 

Laser Cleaning Machine

There are numerous ways to remove rust, oxides and corrosion from just about anything. Some methods use household cleaning products, aluminium foil and acid, and some are rotary tool attachment’s for an easy, quick and mess-free removal of rust. Take a look at the list below for further information.

1. Fiberwheels. Abrasive Buff Wheels

  • This is by far the quickest and fuss-free method of removing rust from your metal items.
  • Protective gear on (googles, eye mask etc)
  • Attach a Brown (coarse) EVE Fiberwheel Abrasive Buff wheel into a rotary tool such as a Dremel set the speed to approximately 7,000rpm.
  • Gently move the abrasive across the metal and within seconds the rust is gone.
  • If you want to bring the metal back to it’s original lustre use the Black (medium) to pre-polish, followed by the Red (fine) for a final polish and to return the metal to it’s original shine.

2. Abrasive Rubber Polishers

  • Equally as quick and easy as the Fiberwheels, and with no mess, are these EVE rubber abrasive polishers.
  • They come in all shapes, grits and sizes but for the quickest way to remove rust from your metal jewellery tools insert a 500 grit (Blue, very coarse) EVE Technic Polisher in your rotary tool and watch the rust disappear!
  • They come in many shapes, mounted, and unmounted so you can choose to use a 3mm pin to get into the tight corners for instance, or a radial bristle disc – great for intricate areas. Choose a large cylinder for big surface areas, or a smaller cylinder shape for smaller rust removal jobs from metal objects.
  • As with the Fibre abrasive wheels mentioned above, you can then use the finer grit rubber polishers within the same range to bring the metal back to it’s original mirror shine.

3. Steel Brush Wheel or Aluminium Foil

An effective method of rust removal is by using steel and aluminium as an abrasive.

  • Aluminium Foil – Tear off a small piece of aluminum foil,  dip it in water or vinegar and rub over the rusted parts.
  • Use a Steel Brush wheel or a Steel Wire Pen Brush in a rotary tool such as a Dremel.
  • These are not as effective as the methods described above, but have long been used as rust removers.

4. Salt and Lemon Juice/Vinegar

  • Acidic solutions such as lemon juice and vinegar, along with a little bit of salt applied to the rusted areas,  are another DIY method of rust removal from your tools. Leave for a few hours then remove.  The following is not a method we’ve tried and tested but apparently the oxalic acid in a potato will also dissolve rust away.

5. Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)

  • The rusted item can either be dusted with baking soda, or made into a paste with water or vinegar.
  • Apply to the areas and leave for a an hour or so then clean off with a brush.
  • Mark Lovick from the Watch Repair Channel shows this method in his excellent video: Service and repair of a Rusty Valjoux 7750 based Breitling Watch.  Take a look at the Youtube video here.  He uses a mixed paste of soda and cleans off the watch parts with a toothbrush peg wood.

6.Laser Cleaners for Rust Removal

Laser Rust Removal

Laser rust removal machine is a type of portable rust cleaning tool that uses laser beam to remove rust or coating from the metal surface. It usually works with a handheld laser rust removal gun with high speed.

Pros

Laser rust remover is high-efficiency, fast, low-cost, and does not damage the substrate. No water or solvent is required, and the waste is easy to collect and does not pollute the environment. Safe and reliable, does not damage the health of operators. Wide range of applications for removing rust, scale, dirt and coatings of various thicknesses and compositions. The cleaning process is easy to automate, realize long-distance remote control operation, and can be used for large-scale laser rust removal work.

Cons

The disadvantage of laser rust removal is that it requires a laser and corresponding supporting equipment, the price is high, the one-time investment is large, and there is almost no maintenance cost in the later period.

How to Prevent Metal from Rusting?

Covering the metal surface with a protective layer is a common and important method to prevent rusting of iron products. Keeping metal surfaces clean and dry is also a great way to prevent rust. Of course, you can also make metal alloys to change the internal structure of the metal and increase the rust resistance of the metal.

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