View Full Version : 1.5 Dirty mild steel tubing - how do you clean it?

10-28-2009, 11:27 PM

I just bought my first batch of square steel tubing.

in the book it looks so sparkling clean........was a sanding disk (on your angle grinder) used to get it to shine?

I'm guessing thats how it was done - any other methods?

Regards; PaulPb

Richie Rich
10-29-2009, 12:00 AM
Hi, Paul.....That 'dirty' stuff is 'Mill Scale' and that's how it comes from the factory. The easiest and safest way to remove it is with a sanding disk or 'flap disk' (shown below).

Other methods are expensive and/or dangerous including acid bath and shot blasting.

Best of luck.....

...Richie Rich...


10-29-2009, 12:46 PM
I like a twisted wire wheel on my angle grinder. The flap disc wheel workd great but they wear out and I prefer them for detail work. The worn ones even work nice for light cleanup and polishing.

10-29-2009, 12:46 PM
I like to remove it with a large coarse cup brush on my angle grinder so I don't accidentally remove any of the steel.

Radical Brad
10-29-2009, 10:01 PM
Just leave it as is and then give it a light sanding prior to painting. My tubing seems polished because I often cut up old projects and then spend hours using a flap disc to remove the old paint. Sometimes I wonder if it's even worth the effort!


10-30-2009, 03:31 AM
I like a twisted wire wheel on my angle grinder. The flap disc wheel workd great but they wear out...Same here.

And yeah, not only do the flap discs wear out, but they're a little expensive (IMO),
& unless used carefully, they'll QUICKLY remove metal, as BC pointed out! :eek:


11-03-2009, 09:49 PM
Cleaning up mill scale on a finished frame can be a PITA, so I get it 90% clean before welding, with a combination of wire brush and/or flap disc. Then just a touch up with the wire brush right before painting.