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topic 0964

Anodizing and dyeing of small aluminum parts


Q. I am looking for information on anodizing that would include a "How to" and a source for getting the chemicals, dyes and other equipment that is necessary to do anodizing of small parts. I am just wanting to do this as a hobby. Any help would be welcome. Thanks

Mark S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Lincoln Alabama

A. Hi Mark.

The steps in the kind of aluminum anodizing that you are referring to are usually:

- Cleaning (alkaline non-etching cleaner)
- Etching (to provide a matte finish with at least a little fingerprinting resistance)
- De-Smutting (aluminum alloys contain other materials like silicon and copper that can't be anodized, and which discolor the coating; so you try to dissolve them away from the surface)
- Anodizing (creating a honeycomb layer of porous aluminum oxide on the surface by anodic electrification in a solution of dilute sulphuric acid)
- Dyeing (filling the honeycomb with dye)
- Sealing (closing off the pores to retain the dye and prevent soils from filling the honeycomb)

probert book
Aluminum How-To

by Robert Probert
$89 New
The Chromating - Anodizing - Hardcoating Handbook

Rinsing is required between each step, and sometimes (depending on particular parts) additional steps like neutralization with bicarbonate or flushing with dilute nitric acid are required.

Probert's book is a good introduction to the art and science. There are companies which serve the hobbyist market, and who can probably be found by googling terms like "hobby anodizing".

Please try to understand chemical safety, including the need for goggles, gloves, and ventilation; and adopt a good environmental attitude before starting. Please don't be tempted to sell your services or your anodized parts, as there are burdensome environmental regulations which probably don't apply to a hobbyist, but do apply to a small business. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

Artists Anodizing Aluminum: The Sulfuric Acid Process
from Abe Books



Q. Looking for manufacturer of anodizing equipment and also for training and how to sources

Milton D
[last name deleted for privacy by Editor] - Killian, Louisiana

Ed. note: For anodizing equipment, please click the "Capital Equip. & Install'n" button at the bottom of the page. For training and how-to, please click the "Consult'g, Train'g, Software" button.

(2000) -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I am also looking into anodizing as a hobby and form of art and would like to know how I would be able to start it. Interested in any helpful hints. Thanks John

John M [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Era Texas

Anodic Oxidation of Aluminum and Its Alloys
from Abe Books



A. I have been doing much research on anodizing for a school project. The most useful source of information I found was: "ANODIC OXIDATION OF ALUMINUM AND ITS ALLOYS" V.F Henley, 1982 =>

I built a 6 amp 12 VDC anodizer out of a rectifier pulled from old equipment and a 120 VAC 10 amp motor speed control. It works very well for areas under 3 decimeters^2.

Craig M [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
-Ithaca, New York, US

Are anodizing tank heaters essential?

October 18, 2017

Q. I recently ordered most of the stuff to do aluminum anodizing from a hobby plating vendor. I thought I had gotten everything until I saw that they use tank heaters in their how-to videos. They have a 300 watt ceramic heater in the degreaser tank, a 300 watt heater in the deoxidizer / desmut tank, and then a heater to basically keep the anodize bath at 72 degrees.

I do have a hot plate single stove eye to heat the metal dye tanks, but had not gotten the others. How important are they?

Also, can the lead GP plates be left in the anodize bath or will I have to pull them out and put them in every time I use the system?

John Sanford

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