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topic 4511

Bright anodizing 6061 Aluminum



An ongoing discussion from 2000 through 2015 . . .

(2000)

Q. Dear Friends,

We manufacture chairs made from 6061-aluminum sheet. Our standard finish is brushed then anodized. We have been asked to provide a high polished finish. Please help us to determine the best method to achieve this finish in a quality and efficient manner.

Thank you,

John Folckomer
- Hanover, Pennsylvania


(2000)

A. Hi John. Mechanical polishing may be the best way for your furniture. But if you are looking for the bright look you'd get on a reflector for outdoor lighting, or a doctor/dentist light, or aluminum hubcap, this is achieved by bright dipping in a nasty nitric-phosphoric acid mix before anodizing (the process is readily automated though). 6061 is not the best alloy for full specular brightness.

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


(2000)

A. The process for bright dipping aluminum involves at least 4-5 additional tanks and is operated at 210 °F. It typically is a phosphoric-nitric acid solution which evolves nitric acid fumes as well as NOx. Also, as a first step, 6061 etches well but is not the best bright dip alloy in the extrusion business; 6463 is the best but 6063 is better than 6061. If you are not prepared to tackle this you may want to find a jobshob that will.

Lee Branch
Richmond, Virginia



To minimize searching and offer multiple viewpoints, we've combined multiple threads into the dialog you're viewing. Please forgive any resultant repetition or failures of chronological order.



Is it possible to anodize 6061 aluminum?

(2005)

6061 T6 is very hard to anodize. How to do it better? Any chemical adjust to make it brighten ?

Kenrith Poon
Finishing Factory - Hong Kong


(2005)

A. Actually 6061 is relatively easy to anodize. What alloys are you processing that you find it easy to anodize? And what problems are you having with the 6061? What bright dip are you presently using?

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


(2005)

A. The devil is in the details. And that's what is needed here more details. Try answering the following questions. Can I produce good anodizing on other alloys? Have I produce good anodizing on this part ever? Is my anodizing line thrown together or is it designed from the start to produce good anodizing? In most canes if the line is set up correctly with reasonable controls and kept in line chemically; 6061 should be cake work(easy). Be honest and look at what you are doing evaluate these parameters and give us more details

drew nosti
Drew Nosti, CEF
Anodize USA - Ladson, South Carolina


(2005)

A. 6061 T6 alloy is the most popular Al alloy in China for anodizing aluminum. It is a very suitable alloy for chemical brightening. Most job shops should have no problem to give you good results.

S. Y. Yuen
- Hong Kong, China


(2005)

A. Ensure thru certs or chem. testing that you are indeed using 6061. A problem we have once in a while is releasing a dwg. to a machine shop calling for 6061 plate with a tight flatness tolerance. The machine shops will sometimes use jig plate, it is harder and does not anodize well at all. The color of black anodizing comes out much lighter and is easily identifiable.

Dan Gorski
- Austin, Texas



(2006)

Q. Is it possible for an electropolish to produce the same results as an aluminum bright dip? We have a customer who in the past had the 6061 Al parts bright dipped, red anodized type II resulting in a "wet" look on the finished product. Some of the parts are milled and some are nicely polished on incoming and we need to have the same outcome on all the different part numbers. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Sharon Koluch
- Lenexa, Kansas, United States


A. Hi Sharon. As you already know, color and texture matching anodized aluminum is not easy. But electropolishing can certainly deliver the brightness of chemical polishing and more. The finest aluminum telescope mirrors are electropolished rather than bright dipped.

Regards,

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



simultaneous

Polishing aluminum without dipping

November 25, 2008

Q. Our issue is slightly different, we are water jetting 1/2" 6061 raw aluminum for the purpose of creating a sign. Is dipping the only option for mirror finish? Any info would be most helpful.
Thanks!
-HP

H Parker
- St Petersburg, Florida


A. Hi H. Mechanical polishing is certainly possible, and sounds more appropriate for your needs. We have many threads here on that subject; try searching with the term "mirror polishing aluminum". Good luck.

Regards,

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



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