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"How durable is the finish on sandblasted aluminum?"

June 2, 2021

Q. I design and build analog effects units for musicians, and am experimenting with different finishes for aluminum enclosures. I know it's unusual to consider sandblasted aluminum as a final finish, but I like the matte gray effect generated, and I think it would look good with some cleanly etched labels.

My question: does this matte gray look have any longevity? It doesn't need to be as tough as anodized / powder coated aluminum, but if it's going to look shoddy after a few scuffs then I won't bother getting a few test enclosures blasted.

If I do try it out I'll post results here after a few months!

Thanks in advance,
Oscar

Oscar Walsh
- Melbourne, Australia
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June 2021

A. Hi Oscar. You can anodize that sandblasted aluminum without changing the look very much. You may be able to chromate conversion coat it (Alodine, Iridite) or apply a matte lacquer without changing it much. But I don't think raw aluminum will remain unchanged very long in in an ideal environment.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
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