Instantly Vaporize Rust With Lasers! (Video)
Russ Chastain 03.09.16
I’m a tinkerer. I have built and rebuilt guns, done the same for tractors, worked on every vehicle I’ve ever owned, and have even been known to weld up some steel sculptures.
In all of those pursuits, I have encountered rust, and it’s usually a problem. Removing rust is usually messy, tedious, inefficient, and slow. And in the end, you usually have to compromise and leave some rust in the nooks and crannies–or else go to extremes to get every bit of that rust.
Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a way to zap the surface of the steel, perhaps with a beam of light, and instantly vaporize all that nasty rust, leaving behind only the undamaged steel?
Well, there is. And I love it!
It’s called Cleanlaser, and it’s made by a German company called Clean Lasersysteme GmbH.
Check out this video, and keep watching until he flips over the part and starts cleaning the top (around the 1:40 mark). Be amazed at the beautiful pattern that emerges.
As near as I can tell, the technology is color-based. So you can use this technology to remove a layer of paint, but leave the primer in place.
Here’s what the website says about how it works:
- Powerful, very short, rapid and moving laser pulses produce micro-plasma bursts, shockwaves, and thermal pressure resulting in sublimation and ejection of the target material.
- A focused laser beam precisely vaporizes the target coating or contaminant (i.e. rust, paint, or whatever).
- Process optimization of the laser beam produces maximum reaction with the target material for speed while, at the same time, does so safely and without harm to the base material.
- Metal surfaces are well-suited for many laser cleaning applications. Optimized beam settings will not metallurgically change or damage the laser treated surface. Only the coating, residue, or oxide targeted for removal is affected as the laser beam is precisely adjusted not to react with the underlying metal surface.
- Laser beam power density is accurately and easily adjusted to achieve cleaning results impossible with all other options.
Here are some benefits also listed on their site:
- Fast set-up
- Easy to operate
- No clean-up
- Leaves no residue
- Highly reliable
- Easy to automate
- Low operating costs
- Virtually maintenance-free
- No consumable media – no abrasives, chemicals, solvents
- Green process – no pollution
- Laser beam settings are precisely adjustable to optimize process speed and gentleness
This isn’t the only company that does it. Lasertronics is a USA-based company that does the same sort of thing. Not sure if they offer portable units, though.
The cost is likely to be through the roof, especially for a part-timer like myself. Comments on one Cleanlaser video mention numbers like $300,000!
But it sure would be sweet to have one of these machines when I start wrenching on some old iron. A man can dream.