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Author Topic: Drake copper-clad chassis corrosion removal?  (Read 5250 times)
NN6EE
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« on: January 20, 2013, 01:15:18 PM »

I know this is an "Age-old" question but is there ANY effective method of REMOVING corrosion from the earlier Drake (copper-clad) chassis' of by-gone years like either the "2-B or the 2-C"Huh

I recently acquired a 2-C but the top of the chassis was partially covered by various stages of corrosion and it's rather disgusting looking at it!!!  :-(((
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KE3WD
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2013, 02:36:18 PM »

Diluted nitric acid cleans copper instantaneously, but often is the case with the copperclad steel chassis that the "corrosion" is actually rust pushing up from the steel underneath. 

White vinegar can also clean copper in a pinch. 

Rust, on the other hand, may be something else entirely to deal with, as it is obviously the steel underneath the copper. 

Use of a bit of the white vinegar might prove which it is. 

There is a silver cleaner, brand name of Tarn-X. that I've had some success with.  Use cotton swabs to apply and have a damp cloth handy, ready to wipe clean. 

Of course, the really rough and rusted spots can only really be addressed with abrasives and likely won't look like new, but can be made clean that way. 

I'd be interested to know if anyone has any better tricks for this one as I've encountered the same problem on certain old audiophile gear chassis' as well. 


73
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NN6EE
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2013, 03:22:59 PM »

Many, many thanks "Clark" for the (heads-up) on the "Copper-clad" chassis "headache"!!!

Jim-nn6ee
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AC5UP
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2013, 04:07:43 PM »

Next time you're visiting your local big box handy guy store stroll through the paint department with an eye open for Jasco rust prep & primer. White plastic bottle about a foot high. It's essentially phosphoric acid and as the label will tell you it stops rust by chemically transforming it into a stable black coating that's allegedly a primo primer. Same concept as Naval Jelly.

This won't do squat for the copper cladding but it will snuff the rust bunnies. Think in terms of neutralizing, sanding, then paint or plating to make the chassis Drakeworthy again. This is not a quick & dirty fix, although a little patience and a brass bristle brush can turn the worst of it into a memory...........

BTW:  As nice as a copper chassis can be, nothin' beat the high end pre-war E.H. Scott chrome chassis models. We're talking industrial art at its finest...
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KE3WD
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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2013, 05:36:00 PM »

Yup, Scott, MacIntosh and Ampeg, too, made some chrome chassis' that are works of art.  And most polish back up nicely with a bit of elbow grease and something like Mother's Chrome polish, just like classic cars and harley chrome does. 

73
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KQ6EA
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2013, 02:37:04 PM »

I had the same problems when I restored my first R4-B. I wound up using a Dremel to get all the rust off, and then spot-plated the cleaned areas with a nickel strike, and then copper, using a Caswell Brush Plating system.

It wasn't "perfect", but it sure was a lot better than all those rusty spots bubbling through the copper!

73, Jim
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W8AAZ
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2013, 03:18:03 PM »

Yea, but don't alot of Drakes have silkscreen markings on the chassis?  Seems any substantial rubbing or treatments would obliterate those.  So you might end up with a shiny chassis that has no markings, which would be just as repulsive to the obsessive collectors.
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KQ6EA
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2013, 04:07:53 PM »

You can cover/protect the silkscreen markings with a layer of the blue "painter's" masking tape.

If you're paranoid about the markings coming off from the tape, then mask around them and coat them with some clear Krylon.

If you're going to spend the money to have the chassis completely stripped and replated, then you should probably spend the money to get it rescreened.

ANY "spot method" of replating it will NOT look "factory new". I did mine that way just to keep the existing rust from getting worse.

It's like we always said during my Hot Rod era....."Speed costs money. How fast do you want to go?".

Jim
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AC5UP
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2013, 04:14:01 PM »


" Rust Never Sleeps "
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KQ6EA
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2013, 04:17:25 PM »

And as a former Fiat owner, I can tell you that on some cars it never even takes a nap!
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KE3WD
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2013, 05:58:41 PM »

And as a former Fiat owner, I can tell you that on some cars it never even takes a nap!

Back in my school days, a roomate owned a Fiat.  We would study on the patio and listen to the damn thing rust from the other side of the wood slat fence. 


"Fix It Again Tony"


73
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KQ6EA
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2013, 06:24:33 PM »

Fix it again tomorrow

Fix it alla time

I've probably heard all of them.

It was a 1979 X1/9, 1500/5-speed, and was actually a pretty good little car. I put 135,000 miles on it, and the only things that broke were the starter and the pressure plate for the clutch. Swapping the starter was easy, but changing the clutch involved pulling the transaxle, and took me a couple of days to take apart. Thankfully the flywheel didn't need to be surfaced, and I had it running again in about a week.

The only thing that saved it from a fate worse than a (rusty) Chevy Vega was I moved to California, where the rust took MUCH longer to grow!

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming....."How To Clean The Rust from A Drake Copper-Plated Chassis"!
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GM6WCF
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« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2013, 06:36:09 AM »

2nd February 2012
I happened on this thread by chance looking for information on a Yaesu.
I am selling on several pieces of 4 series equipment that I 'inherited' which have corrosion on the cover and the chassis.
Ideally they will be returned to their homeland and restored, otherwise they will likely end up at the recycle site, be crushed, and sent to China which I do not want.
I don't have the inclination to restore them myself before selling since as far as I can make out they are not appreciated in the UK. These pieces will appear on Ebay in due course 'search for GM3XIJ'. If anyone wants to contact me direct feel free to do so.
daveincaol@hotmail.com. (GM3XIJ was the owner and is no longer with us).
Has anyone considered covering a stripped base board with thin PCB? I ask in ignorance because I did think that the copper plating was of some benefit electronically, if in fact it was for cosmetic purposes only then stripping and re-plating for display must be the way to go. Alternatively fabricate a new base out of copper plate and polish that. Screen printing should not be a problem I've seen several places that offer the facility, matching the font may require more research.

Dave B
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AD4U
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« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2013, 07:12:28 AM »

Drakes with a copper plated steel "chassis" were beautiful when they were new.  They almost looked as if they were gold plated.  I had several.  Even when carefully taken care of most corroded to some extent.  Even a small bit of dust left on the chassis would attract a little moisture and rust would result.

My guess is that Drake copper plated the chassis so they could solder directly to it instead of mounting tie terminals to ground components.  Just look at and under these rigs and you will see lots of places where they did just that in the manufacturing process.

I have never been successful in restoring a Drake copper plated chassis to almost new condition.  Believe me I have tried.

Good luck.  You have been given some good ideas.

Dick  AD4U
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KQ6EA
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« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2013, 10:11:38 AM »

QST had a cover story on a guy who "did the right thing" when he restored his Heathkit DX-100. He completely stripped it down to just the metal pieces, and sent them out to a plating shop.

When the pieces returned, he coated them with some kind of clear lacquer to keep them from corroding. I don't remember what he used, but he did it in his bathtub.
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