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Thread: How to clean wireforms and chrome - spacies tutorial.

  1. #1
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    How to clean wireforms and chrome - spacies tutorial.

    Lets 'fess up, freakin' wireforms gives us the $hits and cleaning them is something all of us hobbyists and restorers never look forward too. Lots of wire, lots of little rust spots, lots of dirty joints that are almost impossible to get into and clean properly, lots of leftover rag stuck in the joints and even once you have installed these damned things back in your machine, you are still cleaning off Autosol or Silvo for days afterwards.

    That's about to change.

    Here are the things you are going to need:

    1 x large plastic bin. I use the large 'under bed' one available from Bunnings. I think it was $23.99. It fits 4 Bally/Williams legs. It won't fit Stern.
    1 x bag of Oxalic Acid. This was also from Bunnings and was $17 (see below for pic). This is what you use as a Timber Bleach. Google it.
    Rubber gloves. Heavy duty ones like dishwashing gloves.
    1 x 3m 000 Grade Pad. This is a Non Scratch pad (see below for pic)
    An old toothbrush. You'll need this because some real stubborn rust will go yellow and that stuff it usually in the joins.
    Fish Oil Spray (or any other rust inhibitor).



    Lots of rags.
    Water.

    Just a few safety points first. Wear long sleeves and pants to protect from the acid. Wear glasses to protect your eyes. Although this stuff isn't too dangerous because it is diluted a lot, I don't want you guys taking risks

    Okay, now for the fun stuff!

    Put on your rubber gloves and then put 1 heaped tablespoon of the Oxalic Acid in to the bin and fill with water. Give it a quick stir with a stick.

    Gently put in the chrome parts you want to clean. Careful not to splash! Now put the lid on the tub and wait.



    That's it! No need to sit there for hours swearing and cursing scrubbing those wireforms. The minimum is about 6 hours but it is better to leave stuff overnight.

    With the real stubborn rust, you'll need to hose them down and then repeat the soaking and maybe add another spoon of Acid. You'll see the real stubborn stuff because it will go yellow.

    Righto, I purchased the world's dirtiest Demo Man:



    This sucker was just filthy. All that black stuff is the perished rubbers from the playfield which has been picked up by the balls and deposited everywhere! There were rubber bands on the outlanes that had perished and melted on to the playfield. Eek.

    So the wireforms looked like this:









    All of them were like this, dirty and with thousands of little rust spots. I have been down the rub 'n scrub route with these things and it ain't fun, but you already know that. My first encounter was TFTC which also has a lot of wire! I spent a whole day rubbing those damn things until I was over it. Arggh.

    I let these soak overnight and removed them from the brew. I hosed them clean, wiped them down with an old towel and then used a clean rag to get rid of the oxidation. I grabbed the toothbrush to remove any stuff stuck in the joints. Once this was done I wiped them over with the 000 pad. This took all of 15-20 minutes to do ALL of these wireforms. I know I have spent 20 minutes doing one small wireform before!

    Here are the results:













    There you have it guys. This is the easiest way to clean these things or any other chrome part be it pinball, automotive or whatever, but especially wireforms!

    Oh the Fish Oil! Give them a light spray and a wipe down. This will stop those pesky little rust spots ever coming back. It's an optional step so I'll leave it up to you. One place you will need to use the Fish Oil is on the inside of the legs. They just about always have rust on the back and especially down the bottom where the leg leveler goes through.

    When you're done with the brew, pour it on the grass, not down the drain! You grass will go nuts!

    Happy Aciding!

  2. #2
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    That is a fantastic result! Thank you so much for sharing your info... I will be trying this on the weekend for sure!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mosdef View Post
    That is a fantastic result! Thank you so much for sharing your info... I will be trying this on the weekend for sure!
    Cool. Take some pics for us

    One thing I really love about this is how the point where the wires touch each other (the welded point), which is usually tarnished and dirty, comes up so nice and shiny. It's all about the detail

    And hey guys, keep the brew out of harms way too if you have little people around. Lock it in the shed or lock the handles on the plastic bin together somehow

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    Very nice spaceman.
    @robm will be especially interested in this I expect.

    Dave
    ************************************************** *******************
    Remember--The early bird catches the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese!

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    Yep thanks for a brilliant tip. I will find the most festy possum coated wireform and give it a run at some point!

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    I certainly will! I was forever polishing wire form by hand for hours on end, and to get into those weld points were impossible to clean no mater what you did!... Until now

    Quote Originally Posted by spacies View Post
    Cool. Take some pics for us

    One thing I really love about this is how the point where the wires touch each other (the welded point), which is usually tarnished and dirty, comes up so nice and shiny. It's all about the detail

    And hey guys, keep the brew out of harms way too. Lock it in the shed or lock the handles on the plastic bin together somehow

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    wow that's amazing , thanks species

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    That's impressive - Even when I don't have any wireform to clean.

    How long can something stay in, Will it eat the chrome away after a week or so?

    <Added>
    That looks clean enough to be re-chromed - If you preferred that to using fish oil.
    (Fish oil might collect dust or the sticky nature might cause slight drag on the ball)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mosdef View Post
    I certainly will! I was forever polishing wire form by hand for hours on end, and to get into those weld points were impossible to clean no mater what you did!... Until now
    Yeah those little points suck to try and scrub. Especially the ones like in the close up pics above of the rust spots, where two points meet. Eek.

    Quote Originally Posted by ozfalcon View Post
    That's impressive - Even when I don't have any wireform to clean.

    How long can something stay in, Will it eat the chrome away after a week or so?
    I'm not sure mate. It's not eating the chrome, it's eating the rust. Right now I have had a set of legs in the brew for 3 days. These were particularly rusty and I take them out each day after work and scrub the rust off them. They've gone from very rusty to about 90% mint. The front are shiny shiny but the point where the leg leveler goes through at the bottom has a bit of rust still there. Tomorrow will be the last day I leave them in there so I'll upload the results tomorrow night. I'm pretty chuffed with the results so far

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    Hmmmmm... might try your oxalic acid in the Ultrasonic cleaner ... good plan :-)

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