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How to etch and color anodized aluminum

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Q. I need to etch and color letters on anodized aluminum plates for signage for a new building. I haven't done it before and don't know where to start. Being screenprinters we do etch brass. Is it more or less the same process?

Jurina Krynauw
Screenprinters - Stellenbosch, Cape Province, South Africa


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A. My dear sir, etching and colouring on aluminium plates and alloys is possible. Please provide the full drawing and the procedure being adopted by you so that we can guide you.

Ajeay Kumar
- DELHI, INDIA


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Q. Thank you for the response. All I want to do is the word LABORATORY (In a bold arial font) etched on natural anodised aluminum and filled with blue. The size of plates - 400 mm x 35 mm and lettering - 20 mm high

Jurina Krynauw
Screenprinters - Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa


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Q. I have the problem of wanting to recoat some bronze coloured anodized aluminum.

Neville Westbury
- Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


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A. Jurina: Yes, the aluminum can be etched and colored. letter 22035 describes some etching procedures. After etching and desmutting you could anodize, then silk screen the blue filling, then seal. That's one way.

Another way, perhaps easier and better, is to mask everything except where you want the lettering, then etch, anodize, dye with blue dye, seal, and remove the masking.

Neville, your problem is a bit different. The anodizing needs to be stripped, then the aluminum re-anodized, then re-dyed. Bronze aluminum for outdoor use is usually not done with organic dyes (because of lack of light fastness) but with a special "two-step" process that electrolytically deposits metal in the pores as a bronze "dye".

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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Q. I am trying to etch a aluminum sheet.

I want 3D effect designs to be coloured etching on aluminum sheets.

Please guide me

Thanks

DILIP DODIA
windoors - MUMBAI, MAHARASTRA, INDIA


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A. Hi Dilip. You can etch, anodize, dye and seal as previously described, but sorry, I don't quite understand what you want. Please provide a photo, or a reference, or additional detail. Thanks.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



August 16, 2013

Q. We are currently Etching SS Plates, but wish to know --

1. How to etch colored anodized aluminium?
2. Will it etch by HCl? If yes, please suggest proportion?
3. If no, what should be use?
4. Does it gives sharp result and will it show the base color of aluminium?

Nilesh Sinkar
- Maharashtra, India
  ^- Privately contact this inquirer -^


August 22, 2013

A. Hi Nilesh. What you could try if you wish, is masking what you want to leave unetched, and then selectively removing just the anodizing with chromic-phosphoric acid (per letter 3397), which would leave bare aluminum covered material there. Obviously this etch would not be very deep, but it should be sharp. Otherwise, see letter 22035 for the various aluminum etchants and techniques. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey
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