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topic 10426

Anodizing of metals at home


I am looking for a way to anodize metals at home if at all possible.

William Ratcliff
- Austin, Texas


Hi, William.

Only a few metals are anodizable, most notably aluminum and titanium; you can't anodize steel. You need to more clearly explain your situation before we will be able to help you. For example: what metals? why do you want to anodize them -- for functional or decorative use? Thanks.

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


I'm looking for a way to anodize galvanized iron wire, how can I do that?


Diego Rodriguez
- Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina


Hello, Diego. It is possible to anodize zinc; therefore the heavy plating of hot-dip zinc galvanizing should, in principle, by anodizable. But anodizing of zinc is difficult and a very high voltage process, and it has just barely been commercialized in one or two factories in America. If you do a literature search (such as with the Metal Finishing Information Service in Birmingham, UK -- not a google search), you'll find a number of articles on the subject by people like Fred Pearlstein and Frank Goodwin. I don't think anodizing of galvanizing has ever been achieved anywhere yet.

We don't know yet whether you run a multi-million dollar wire factory with a firm commitment to spend big dollars developing a process to anodize galvanized wire, or whether you are a artist hoping that you can anodize it in a coffee cup like you can do with titanium. But if you can explain your situation we may be able to offer further info. Good luck!

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


I am making a sculpture in college that I designed based on the welsh dragon. I have to construct it forming modern sheet material. I would like to make it out of steel or aluminium, how do I achieve random colorful effects without resorting to painting or spraying, and what would the best metal be to use to do this?


Martin Edwards
- Wales, U.K.

Amazon Video: Basic Copper Smithing and Flame Painting on Copper


Hello Martin. There really aren't any chemical or flame processes that I've ever heard of to make steel itself colorful beyond a little dark gray to dark brown to black oxidation processes. But you might apply a copper-based patina chemical to steel.

Same with aluminum except that it can be anodized to absorb colorful dyes. You can look up "splash anodizing", which involves patterns of dyes, for those "random" effects you seek. You'll see them on paintball guns.

If you used copper or brass, though, you could apply various colorful patinas with chemicals or with "flame coloring". Good luck, and please follow up and tell us how it worked out..

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

March 31, 2011

While in the US Marine Corps we had our brass (buckles, buttons, etc.) anodized. The shine would not tarnish or corrode. I'm now trying to find where I might get the brass on my NCO sword and scabbard anodized. Any help?

Ralph Hunt
- Salem, Oregon USA

August 19, 2011

Hi, Ralph.

I think your recollection of this may be slipping since I've never heard of anodizing of brass and have reason to believe that it is not possible. An automotive clearcoat could probably accomplish a shine that does not tarnish or corrode. Good luck.


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

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