ROTM is starting a week early due to the Thanksgiving next week. This month we are going to discuss removing paint and rust from your old pump skins. This thread will discuss a few techniques commonly used to remove paint and will feature PAINT REMOVAL BY ELECTROLYSIS. Jerry Jeup from Oldgas was kind enough to share his technique of paint removal by Electrolysis. He kindly provided all the pictures and a description of his technique. Thanks Jerry.
There are 4 basic ways we remove paint from old pumps: Sandblasting, Hot tank, Paint remover with a lot of scraping, and Electrolysis.
Sandblasting is probably the most common technique for removing paint. It is very effective in quickly removing all rust and paint. Cost is the major drawback of sandblasting if you are doing it yourself. An air compressor and sandblaster to adequately blast a pump will run you at least $2000. Also, you must have adequate space to blast and there can be a large mess associated with the blasting medium. Another issue with sandblasting is warping the skins if too much pressure is used. Taking your skins to the local sandblaster is probably the easiest way to get your pump skins free of rust and paint with this method. It runs me about $50 - $70 to have the top, base, and 4 skins of an electric pump sandblasted. Jerry said it cost him $200 and 6 months to have a Tokheim 610 blasted. It can be frustrating working with these places
Using a hot tank is another great way to remove paint from your pump skins. The paint basically melts right off the pump. The biggest drawback with a hot tank is finding one to use.
Then there is the old sweat and blood method of paint remover and scraping. It will probably run you at least $30 in paint remover and a couple of years off your life just to remove the paint off one pump. I have removed paint by hand off 2 pumps and will probably never do it again. Too much time involved and 4 years off the end of my life. I guess I’ll only live to be 96 now.
Finally, we have paint removal by electrolysis. Some of you are probably thinking, what the heck is electrolysis and how does it work? Well, I’m going to do my best to explain it before we get to the actual technique provided by Jerry. Luckily, I have a pretty strong Chemistry background and remember some of the basic principles. Let’s see if I can actually explain it.
The principles of electrolysis are used in various ways; such as making hydrogen gas, permanent hair follicle removal, and chrome platting. The most basic example of electrolysis is splitting water molecules (H20) into hydrogen and oxygen gas. Two strips of metal can be placed in a glass of water. A negative charge is applied to one metal strip (cathode) and a positive charge to the other metal strip (anode). The electrons from the negative charge in the metal pull the hydrogen molecules from the water to create hydrogen gas. Oxygen gas is also created as a by product from the positive anode strip. See diagram below.
This is pretty much how Jerry removes paint by electrolysis. Now we will take a look at the real thing. ~Jason