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My latest anodizing

fretsman

Active User
Active Member
#31
A wonderful write-up, Ed, thanks so much for sharing.

If I ever do decide to tackle this myself, this would be a great article to refer to.

:man:
Dave
 

eac67gt

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Staff member
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#33
Cool! It looks similar to what Casewell Plating sells here in this country. I leaned towards the cloths dye mainly because I can get it right down at the dollar store and when I tried it I got good results. For now I think I will stick with it. If it ain't broke don't fix it. Don't get me wrong I do appreciate the idea and will keep it in mind. As a matter of fact I think I will look at it a little closer now that I am past a lot of my testing stages. Even though I said if it ain't broke don't fix it I still try to improve process. Sometimes it blows up on me but it is fun trying new things.

Have a great day and keep anodizing J.T. !

Ed
 

Hazegry

Active Member
Active Member
#34
ED how are you polishing the cases are you doing it in a lathe? I ask because when I did polishing work before it took allot of elbow grease to get the parts to a nice finish.
 

xalky

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Director
#35
That's a great write-up. The process is not as complicated as i thought it would be. I like the fact that you can buy the chemicals off the shelf, and do this without any real specialized equipment.
 

Hoooooter

Iron
Registered Member
#37
I think using proper anodising dye gives better results than ordinary clothes dye. I Have been using bisulphate and have found that is the equal of a straight acid process. Cheers Ken
 

eac67gt

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#38
Yep Hoooooter I have heard other people say that.

As I am a hobbyist and this is all new to me, experimenting and showing what I have come up with I can only speak of that experience.

I have not tired the anodizing dye yet.

The cloths dye can be tempormental if not kept heated to certain temperature I have found. I don't know how the dye made for this purpose reacts. The cloths dye I found at 140 degrees F will take consistantly and also the dye itself wants to breakup and dissolve evenly everytime I heat it to that temp. I store it, after it cools down, back in the plastic jugs the water came in. When I get it back out to use it is like all clumped together. When poured back in the pan it has to be heated back to 120 to 140 and stirred and it will mix back into or dissolve back into one nice solution ready to be used.
As far as the dye taking to the part I guess it is like any dye the longer it is in the solution the more takes to the part or it gets darker.
I have had no problems with it unevenly taking unless part was not preped right.
Also I found the dye not taking correctly one time because the parts actually got to warm in the anodizing tank.
It appeared as the crystallin layer was building in the anodizing tank and it was sealing itself due to heat.
I had to many parts in tank and the anodizing solution heated up.

I will have to give the anodizing dye a try.
The dye I use now and have only tried is the RIT cloths dye liquid solution in the 8oz bottle.

Thanks
Have a great day!
Ed
 

eac67gt

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#40
Just wanted to show a good example of the amber tinged that the parts get after a good anodizing bath, before dyeing or sealing.
Sorry I don't have a before picture but most know what "virgin" aluminum looks like. I added a picture of just a piece of 6061 stock that the parts were made from a hopefully you can see the color difference.
This color is a good sign of a uniform bath. If a group of parts like this comes out and one still looks like it did when it went in then it is more than likely a bad connection to that part.
Ed

IMG_2134.JPG IMG_2126.JPG
 
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eac67gt

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Staff member
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#42
It is such a simple thing to start on a very small scale just to play. The sodium bisulfate can be had at Lowes in the plumbing section. They have it for spas and is exactly what I am using, ph negative.
After that just some aluminum you probably have laying around, battery charger, plastic containers, distilled water, dish soap and pack of dye. It isn't a lot of money to start playing. From there you can push it up a little in size and degree of quality you want your parts. The anodizing mix you make you can pour into a bigger container and add more so in that respect it isn't wasted. Go ahead and dive in. I myself am really pleased with the results. I have found some parts I played with when anodized I could take down to the one abrasive wheel I use and torcher the part. The finish was extremely hard to remove. I just read when anodized right the finish can be close to the hardness of a diamond. What that is??????
Try it, what do you have to loose. With the sodium bisulfate solution it is pretty safe but always be careful...good practice.

Ed
 

PurpLev

Active User
Active Member
#43
ok, I took my first step and just ordered a double hotplate... (that's commitment for you). now I just need to pick up some pots (thinking IKEA) and a battery charger (saw one on HF, but not sure of the quality - as usual - mixed reviews), and then the supplies (sodium, distilled water, dye).

So, while I will be doing my homework finding sources for all of those - I'm curious where would you get the following:
1. battery charger. I will look for a 10amp one (what is a good brand/model?)
2. distilled water (local supermarket?)
3. black/orange dye
4. decent thermometer(s) for the purpose

so far I'm guesstimating this to be ~150 to get me started... quite a bit more than I would have liked it to be, but long term this might balance out.
 

eac67gt

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#44
First cost. Of course the estimates are all based on what you have on hand. Unfortunately we all don't have everything needed.

My hot plates were $10 a piece on Amazon. Nothing fancy but do the job.

The pots I picked up at the dollar store for $5 a piece.

The battery charger I had since I was a teenager. It is a Craftsman 2/10amp. Normally it is set to the 10 amp setting being when high rate charging a battery it is the voltage that will drive the current so at the 10 amp setting the voltage is higher than at the 2 amp setting. One thing you want to look for in a battery charger is that it does not have auto shutoff. When current flow drops due to anodizing layer being built some battery chargers will shut off being it thinks they battery is charged. Of course this is not a good thing because your process will stop. Here is a charger at Harbor Freight which would NOT be desirable because it has that switching I am referring too. http://www.harborfreight.com/2-6-amp-6-12-volt-battery-charger-45005.html Now here at Harbor Freight is one that would be more desirable. http://www.harborfreight.com/10-2-55-amp-6-12-volt-battery-charger-engine-starter-66783.html
The first one depending on what you are going to anodize the 6 amp limit would work but it has the feature that you don't want. If you do any car work at all or want something on hand just incase you need it to charge your battery I think it won't be a bad investment to buy the larger charger and look at it as an investment in a tool for multiple purposes. Chargers can be found in many places from Walmart to Sears to Auto Parts Stores.
You will find the internal workings or components in the chargers are the same. Sears probably comes out of the same factory as the Harbor Freight. I would try and find one with an amp meter built on it if you do not have one.

Distilled water pickup at local grocery store. I pay about 0.80 a gallon. Some places if you buy it by the case they give you a little break.

The dye can be had at Walmart or the local hobby/fabric store. I ordered mine off of JoAnn Fabrics online. it was about $3 a bottle. My son wanted a whole bunch of different colors to offer for his parts so we bough enough to hit the free shipping deal they had going at the time. As I said you shouldn't have a problem picking it up locally especially if you are only getting a couple colors. Try and buy the liquid, it mixes easier but the powder will work.

For a thermometer I would try and find a candy thermometer. It is one of those that is in the glass tube. I suggest this because no matter what you put it in there will not be any reactions. If it was metal, like a meat thermometer, you might get a bad reaction. You only need one and rinse it off and move it between the different baths. I went overboard and used thermocouples and industrial temperature controllers. With this though I can independently watch all the temperatures.

I also built a voltmeter amp meter combo to monitor anodizing process so I didn't have my expensive meters near the process.

Once again as far as cost it is like a lot say about making parts instead of buying them, you normally spend more to make them but boy its fun and is the whole idea behind hobbying.:))

I hope this helped.

Have a great day!

Ed
 

PurpLev

Active User
Active Member
#47
ok, finally had some success. I used the ph reducer and a test 6061. what I noticed was that I wasn't getting any bubbling effect. I tried using Alum, steel, and eventually soldering wire as the cathode all with the same effect - no bubbling (unless I submerged the anode connector into the bath in which case it became the anode instead of the test 6061 piece and then there was a massive amount of bubbling going on). What I did next was add more and more of the ph reducer into the bath. I probably added 10x the amount I originally thought would be sufficient and that helped to some extent. I ran that for a couple of hours only to return and see that the alum piece didn't seem to have been altered in any way. I've added more and more of the ph reducer and still noticed not a whole lot of bubbles.

To me, this meant that the 6061 just wasn't conducting the electricity well enough, so I took it out and tested it for resistancy and found that it was not closing the circuit. that made me believe that some degree of anodizing was in fact done on the part as the anodizing coating is non-conductive (the rest of the piece that wasnt submerged into the solution did conduct perfectly). I've added more of the ph reducer (yet again), and left this in the bath for another couple of hours, this time it seemed (with the large amount of ph reducer in the path) that some bubbles were forming albeit very slowly (I reckon due to the low/non conductivity of the already somewhat anodized part).

I came back after a couple of hours and the piece was nicely anodized with that tint color on it and nice smooth and scratch resistance surface - voila!

So - my lesson and tip here is to use a ridiculous amount of ph reducer - as much as the water can take before it's oversaturated (it's interesting how much of this will dissolve into the water) you want a solution which is very very very very concentrated (I could smell it in the air, so a respirator is in order)

here I didn't wash the part with tap water, but just sprayed it with distilled water as to not transfer the anodize solution to the next phase. I placed the anodized part into a pot with warm (130f) distilled water with 1 pack of Rit dye dissolved in it. I left it there while I boiled some dist. water in another pot - maybe 2-3 minutes and again did not wash the part with cold tap water between phases, but simply put it in the boiling water once I thought the dye took into the part - I was mistaken. I left it in boiling water for 30 minutes and came back to find the dye pretty much washed off the part.

So I was left with an anodized yet non-dyed part.

I wonder if the failure of the dye was due to me not washing the part in cold water after dying to maybe 'freeze' the dye before boiling it again or what not. I'll try again with washing between steps and see if that makes any difference. have anyone experienced something like this? tips? ideas?

almost there, but not quite yet.

Once I have it fgured out I'll post a step-by-step post with what I experienced to possibly making it more visible for others.

Thanks,
S
 

PurpLev

Active User
Active Member
#48
Did another attempt last night with slightly better results, but still not quite the 'black' I was expecting. the part is 1/2"x1"x1 1/2" roughly. I anodized for 2 hours. washed in tap water followed by dist. water, dyed for 15 minutes at ~120f, at which point the part came out real deep black which looked pretty good. I washed it in cold tap water and the dye seemed to have remained, i then sealed in boiling water for 30 minutes and thats when the dye faded away. the photo below shows the latest attempt (left) followed by the previous first attempt where only half the part was anodized in center, and raw material on the right for comparison. these are all cutoff pieces and I didn't bother with cleaning up the milling marks on those as I just wanted o test the dyeing process before I put the 'real' parts in.

IMG_20130325_084135.jpg

after the 2 anodizing hours the part was still bubbling. so my only idea right now is that maybe I should leave it to anodize some more before dying it (maybe it's not anodized just enough). anyone have any other ideas what i could do to really tone this dark black?

IMG_20130325_084135.jpg
 

PurpLev

Active User
Active Member
#49
hope I'm hot hijacking this, and if I am, I'll start a new thread all together.

I got some better results with the following:
1. anodized using 6061 cathode for ~3hrs
2. dye for 1/2hr at 130f
3. seal for 1/2hr at 190f:

IMG_20130326_013046.jpg

it's better than before, but still on the light side of things and not as deep as I would like it to be. all online posts seems to suggest anodizing for 1-2 hours and dying for only 2-15min so I'm not sure if I'm missing something, or maybe my dye solution is not thick enough. I will try getting another Rit pack and adding it to the mixture. I did notice that even after 3 hours the anodizing solution still bubbles up at the cathode and anode meaning that there still is conductivity going on and the process is still taking place. I read some where that the anodized part can be removed once the bubbles stop forming which didn't really happen to me.

anyways, results are positive. just have to experiment more with the dying process to get a richer deeper color (I wonder if etching the part prior to anodizing would assist in this). love how you got the deeper color on your parts.

IMG_20130326_013046.jpg
 

ddushane

Active User
Active Member
#50
Ed, Great stuff, I've never read up on anodizing aluminum, I've done quite a bit of titanium, I thought there was more to the aluminum for some reason, probably read about the dyes someone was mentioning that you had to buy not realizing you could use regular clothe dye, after reading your thread, I'm going to give it a try. Thanks a lot for the thread, Good job.

Dwayne