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This is a great tutorial by metalworker and TV star Chris Hackett. Galvanized electrical conduit is easy to find and dirt cheap, but you can’t really weld it. The galvanization layer–designed to inhibit corrosion–is highly toxic and will burn off in an environmentally uncool manner when welded, and also makes for a “not so great” weld.

Faced with trying to strip off the galvanization, Hackett didn’t want to simply grind it off, which would have been a big pain, particularly when trying to get rid of the galvanization inside the pipe. The alternative? Bathing the conduit in muriatic acid, then counteracting the acid with baking soda.

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal



  1. Steven says:

    I don’t know about you, but my local hardware store does not have a section labeled “Meth Lab Supplies”.

    1. J Harton says:

      I strongly suspect that of being a joke about certain useful chemicals being kept in relative close proximity. Can’t say I’ve ever seen that stuff in a hardware story, but then I really wasn’t looking for it either.

      1. Steven says:

        I was making a joke too.

        I know there a lot of things in a hardware store that can be used in a manor inconsistent with their labels.

        1. Jimbo says:

          Off-label use of Meth-making supplies is no laughing matter. Please consult your physician if you think Muriatic Acid may be right for you.

  2. oltanker says:

    Not news to anybody who paid attention in high school chemistry. Also, in that same chemistry class we learned that this reaction evolved hydrogen, very flammable in its own right.

    You can often find muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid) in the pool chemicals section of Wal-Mart. It’s used to adjust the pH of pool water.

    1. J Harton says:

      How many people would actually think of such an application, even assuming they paid attention in high school? I probably would not have thought of doing this myself and I certainly paid attention in HS chemistry. Took three courses in general chemistry at college too. There is a lot of chemistry at work in things we do everyday, cooking for one. Nevertheless, sometimes it takes a little creative thinking to apply it elsewhere. Obviously obstacles to the “easy” route are useful in provoking that kind of thought.

  3. hickmanish says:

    Will citric acid for this as well?
    I know it will strip the zinc off screws etc (

    1. Alan Dove says:

      Any acid should work. He probably chose HCl because it’s cheap, strong, and easily available. Citric acid would probably take longer and cost more. Vinegar would probably do it too, eventually.