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  #1  
Old 08-10-2015, 01:06 AM
ErichL ErichL is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 7
Default Lye in my e-tank.

I'm brand new to this and I'm grateful to to have found this site before restoring my first cast iron. I'm three pans in now, and it's going great.

My setup:
3#'s 100% lye in 15 gal of water in an 18gal bin
12"x14" steel plate 1/4" thick I got from a welder
12v charger with 2amp and 10amp settings

I started with 2amps and all was well except it was taking forever. Went to 10 amps with no troubles and it's much faster.

The tank has only three pieces through it so far but the steel plate still looks new. The crud sinks to the bottom of the bin after each use and the solution looks clear when undisturbed.

Great results and my thanks to the lye electrolyte thread!
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  #2  
Old 08-10-2015, 01:00 PM
BenjaminO BenjaminO is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Residing in the calm sunshine of Santa Cruz, California
Posts: 262
Default Re: Lye in my e-tank.

Next upgrade for you might be getting a second steel plate. Having one at each end of the tank will allow faster/more even results in a single session. I use stainless steel baking sheets, serving tray covers, or platters; but if you are using lye then regular steel works too.
Welcome to the community!
~Benjamin
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  #3  
Old 08-10-2015, 01:22 PM
ShawnE ShawnE is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Santa Cruz mountains, CA
Posts: 153
Default Re: Lye in my e-tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErichL View Post
I'm brand new to this and I'm grateful to to have found this site before restoring my first cast iron. I'm three pans in now, and it's going great.

My setup:
3#'s 100% lye in 15 gal of water in an 18gal bin
12"x14" steel plate 1/4" thick I got from a welder
12v charger with 2amp and 10amp settings

I started with 2amps and all was well except it was taking forever. Went to 10 amps with no troubles and it's much faster.

The tank has only three pieces through it so far but the steel plate still looks new. The crud sinks to the bottom of the bin after each use and the solution looks clear when undisturbed.

Great results and my thanks to the lye electrolyte thread!
You should ask your welding friend if he has another plate you can get from him. Having an anode on each side of the work piece will give more consistent results without having to turn the work piece. And BTW, more current helps, I use 20 Amps and can clean most parts in 3 Hrs or so.

A 1/4" plate should last forever, but you will eventually see rust on the part of the plate that is above the solution level, no big deal.

Welcome, now you are hooked. 3 pieces (or any amount) will never be enough
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  #4  
Old 05-24-2019, 07:44 PM
Rodney Walker Rodney Walker is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Centralia, WA, USA
Posts: 61
Default Re: Lye in my e-tank.

I was just wondering if Lye could be used as the solution in an E-tank. This seems to answer the question pretty well.
Any known drawbacks to killing both birds with one stone?
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  #5  
Old 05-30-2019, 02:06 PM
Rodney Walker Rodney Walker is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Centralia, WA, USA
Posts: 61
Default Re: Lye in my e-tank.

I decided to find out for myself.
I'm running about 6 gallons of water
1 lb of Lye
1/2 lb baking soda
Regulated 13.8 VDC power supply pulling around 2 amps.
It currently has 2 very rusty pans and one heavily seasoned and rusty cornbread pan in the tank.
I can get more amps and faster rust removal by adding more anode surface but I want the lye to do it's work anyway.
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  #6  
Old 05-30-2019, 03:10 PM
Doug D. Doug D. is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 5,756
Default Re: Lye in my e-tank.

Not sure why the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Those running the lye-as-electrolyte setup are replacing the washing soda (sodium carbonate) with lye (sodium hydroxide), not adding it to it.
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  #7  
Old 05-30-2019, 06:06 PM
Rodney Walker Rodney Walker is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Centralia, WA, USA
Posts: 61
Default Re: Lye in my e-tank.

I wasn't sure what it would do with the Lye alone. I didn't have a clue about what electrical reaction I would get from the lye as far as whether it would give the intended results or not-even after reading this thread. I tend to be a skeptic.

At this point what I learned is that as the pans got cleaner and the lye dissolved more thoroughly in the tank my amp draw went up to above 20 amps long enough to trip the automatic protection in the PS. The cornbread pan is nearly clean now (mostly carbon, not much rust) and the other pans are coming along nicely (both had a lot of rust and crud). I can see the remains of plating on the Erie I think.
I think the large amount of current was due to the heavy concentration of the lye. I've ran Etanks before with washing soda on much larger pieces without overloading the PS.
I unhooked the cornbread and Erie pan and am just running current through the 4 in 1 lid right now. Even with that I had to raise the anode some to decrease the current flow so the PS would stay on.
The two pans I disconnected are still soaking in the lye bath and not directly hooked to the charger.
I'm very impressed with the results so far. I'm kind of wondering why more people don't use this method.
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