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topic 7074

Power supply for aluminum anodizing at home -- welder, PC supply?

A discussion started in 1996 but continuing through 2018


Q. I'm a small home machine shop that does some anodizing. My problem is that I would like to do bigger parts thus forcing me to need a bigger power supply. I've heard of people using welders. But from what I've read you need about 15 volts and capable of 15 amps per square foot. Welders are about 32 volts. How important is the amount of voltage? Can anybody shed some light on this or maybe a different power supply

Tony Dickson

probert book
Aluminum How-To

"The Chromating - Anodizing - Hardcoating Handbook"
by Robert Probert


A. I don't know how much you need, but I too plate objects in a home shop and found power to be my most difficult hurdle.

Turns out, that power supplies up to 200 amps are cheap and plentiful in the electronics surplus market. My guess is that these are computer power supplies from mainframes or something.

Richard Rittenburg


A. Computer power supplies are fixed voltage and are 200 watts, not amps. There are some 200 amp power supplies on the market that are military or government surplus. Unfortunately, most of these are 5.2 volts with a very narrow adjustment band. I have gone out of the plating business and can give you a good price on one if you still need one. 50 amp to 300 amp. These are fairly heavy. One person can lift (strain) the small ones, but not the big ones.

Welders tend to be fixed voltage and you need to be able to ramp up the voltage. At 32 volts you will need excellent agitation and cooling. Welders can be modified, but it takes more knowledge than I have.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

Power supply for aluminum anodizing at home


RFQ: I currently have a anodizing set up at home,which is working very well on small parts.I am getting many requests for anodizing larger Items. My current power supply is 2 12-volt batteries connected in series,hooked up to a 30 amp battery charger [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] ,running through 5 1-ohm variable resistors.My problem is, as I pump up the amps my voltage drops right off. Does anyone know where I can get a power supply that will run off 240 volts single phase and give me 12-18 volts DC and be capable of pumping out at least 50 amps

Thank you for any information

Kind Regards

Steve Power
- Nelson New Zealand


A. This is what people would call a single-phase bench rectifier. Click on the "Equipment" button below and you'll get a good list of suppliers with full contact information.

If price is an important criterion, you may find that a used high-quality industrial bench rectifier is a better investment than a new "toy rectifier".

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


A. Steve,

There are several bench top units that will work for you used in Brush Plating applications meeting the requirements of government and corporate agencies.

David Crocker
- Valencia, California USA

Need power supply for anodizing in home workshop


Q. Can you recommend sources for power supplies. What qualities should one be looking for. I'm starting to setup a small home setup, and don't want to spend money on the wrong equipment.

Ron Watkins
- Mesa, Arizona, USA

PC power supply for anodizing


Q. Hi.

I am just wondering. Will you be able to use a PC power supply to do anodizing?

I watched the specs on a 450W power supply and it said that it gives 12v 25A.


Bert Chatbert
- Wellington, New Zealand


A. I doubt that it would work since you must apply very low voltage at first and slowly ramp up. Plus, 12v is not enough for most alloys.

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

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

Can I use a PC power supply for anodizing?

November 18, 2008

Q. I am a total noob to anodizing, and I was wondering if it is possible to use a PC power supply to run a VERY small anodizing line (it would only be used for small paintball gun parts). If anyone can help me I would be very thankful!

Ted Buchan
hobbyist - Trenton, Michigan, US

"Surface Treatment & Finishing of Aluminium and Its Alloys"
by Wernick, Pinner & Sheasby
from Abe Books
info on Amazon

November 20, 2008

A. Hi, Ted. You need to be able to reach at least 18 volts (and that's too low for some alloys, 24 volts would be better). You need to be able to supply 15-20 amps per square foot. And you need to be able to start the voltage at zero and dial it up as the anodizing progresses. If you can do that without electrocution risk, the PC power supply could work for tiny parts. Good luck.


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

November 21, 2008

A. My guess is the voltage is too low and the amperage is also too low for some units.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

Can one use a battery charger as an anodizing power supply?

April 7, 2017

Q. My notion is "no" but I'm going around with an artist fella who thinks that he can.

My notion is that there is going to be too much ripple in the output from that. One can buy power supplies for like fifty bucks from Radio Shack. Or build one. The thing is the voltage. I see 18 V regulators but then one would need a 120 V to 18 V transformer.

dave wichern
Dave Wichern
Consultant - The Bronx, New York

July 2017

A. Hello Dave. If you search this site for "battery charger anodizing", and have lots of patience, you'll find some opinions. Here's a sampling: in letter 24856, James Watts says a manual battery charger can work after a fashion; in letter 32971 Jason Aube says he has anodized with a battery charger; in letter 19941 Matthew Stiltner says the reason the original poster is getting a pink coloration is the very thin coating he is getting with his battery charger; in letter 25820 Goran Budija says you can successfully anodize with a 12 V/5 A battery charger.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

June 19, 2017

Q. I am beginning to dive deeper into anodizing at home. I will be using a constant current power supply and using the current density model of anodizing, I have the option of buying a 15 V - 40 A unit or a 30 V - 20 Amp power supply. Am I better equipped with the higher 40 A amperage unit or will the 15 V limit me?

Bryan Rohr
- edmond, Oklahoma

July 2017

A. Hi Bryan. Figure 12 ASF, and the 20 Amp unit will handle parts up to 1.5 sq. ft. or so. Robert Probert says you need 21-24 V to be able to take on all alloys (although there are probably a lot of parts you can do with 15 V).


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

May 9, 2018

Q. Looking for a DIY Build site from an authoritative source to build a constant current power supply. Does any recommend a site.

I've found Mr. Titanium's GREAT site and build pages but he's focused on titanium anodizing.

Any recommendations?

Jim Sutton
paramotor pilot - Waterford, Virginia USA

Ed. note: Topic 18282 also talks about D-I-Y anodizing power supplies, and topics 3191 and 32439 talk about rather similar homemade power supplies for electroplating.

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