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View Full Version : My diy home shop anodizing setup



bgreen776
12-25-2016, 03:09 AM
A plastic shoe box with 1 part distilled water and two parts "battery acid" from Napa a couple scrap pieces of aluminum tied together with some 5356 TIG rod or whatever aluminum wire I have laying around.
https://photos-3.dropbox.com/t/2/AABbx7DEGa5MXiHWWylzmyyEzKKGKyNXHT7yFlfwv-zjyQ/12/12903952/jpeg/32x32/3/1482670800/0/2/File%20Dec%2024%2C%207%2030%2003%20PM.jpeg/EJLxygkYkeUBIAcoBw/qlS_DoYz_szEg7EolakbLkZfvUTfkcMKsKL0MIwtZLA?size_m ode=3&dl=0&size=1600x1200

A Mastech HY3005F-3 (http://www.mastechpowersupplies.com/mastech-adjustable-power-supply-hy3005f-3.html) AC to DC power supply that I bought a few years ago for testing electrical circuits. Others will work just fine for small parts. Just follow the 720 rule (http://ndhsubmersiblescience.com/ano/720rule.html) as close as you can. Using a decent power supply allows for precise, constant current, control.

https://photos-6.dropbox.com/t/2/AAAOPF519DuBw4KzlLy81SY-ErhJC3xzhI_8DKtRn6RjVQ/12/12903952/jpeg/32x32/1/_/1/2/File%20Dec%2024%2C%207%2030%2035%20PM.jpeg/EJLxygkYkeUBIAcoBw/gc9rt49NDna6q2zkPx8ec1-rfDM4F-WR18I-F15y2l0?size=1600x1200&size_mode=3

8oz of RIT dye (https://www.walmart.com/c/kp/rit-dyes) at 100-150 degrees in a $10 stainless stock pot, mixed with a gallon of distilled water, in a $10 stock pot from Walmart.

https://photos-6.dropbox.com/t/2/AAAwnPtIfTazdKSRr595sfTBaU4OHojWDetzQpsnntsn_g/12/12903952/jpeg/32x32/1/_/1/2/File%20Dec%2024%2C%207%2029%2022%20PM.jpeg/EJLxygkYkeUBIAcoBw/zLRFt9xtLgoBeDYS1aORGSwUwrn7iHcSGGVH4Y6l2Oc?size=1 600x1200&size_mode=3

I anodized this part for 1 hour at 2.8 amps, soaked it in the dye for 8 minutes, then boiled it in distilled water for 10, then cooled it in room temp distilled water for 5 minutes.



Its hard enough that I pressed it into the pictured 4130 tubing and pulled it out without scratching the surface.

https://photos-3.dropbox.com/t/2/AABcp7nAtd9ZywIBu2Oo0Stj48mCtKBqqzlAEoBgiG9vYw/12/12903952/jpeg/32x32/1/_/1/2/File%20Dec%2024%2C%207%2036%2056%20PMa.jpg/EJLxygkYkeUBIAcoBw/DRsrQ1neqFfVta8GtVoiuDrBaFHLPzftxRWlfdWqTXw?size_m ode=5

Paul Alciatore
12-25-2016, 03:17 AM
Nice description of the set-up and process. Thanks.

If you had pictures, they did not come through. I see no pictures.

bgreen776
12-25-2016, 03:25 AM
try it now. I'm a tad slow

bgreen776
12-25-2016, 03:26 AM
The assembly referenced above.

https://photos-4.dropbox.com/t/2/AACXaJ4Gzhgegy5fT7rR-moxAzPDXx0vYwNF_BaZaUsonA/12/12903952/jpeg/32x32/1/_/1/2/File%20Dec%2024%2C%207%2038%2000%20PMa.jpg/EJLxygkYkeUBIAcoBw/Xq63qQEcCOTJdN5f_AX0v0-pEOxWW8V3S4rWOp2aPZw?size_mode=5

bgreen776
12-25-2016, 03:40 AM
I forgot one piece, though I don't know how important it is yet, but in pictures 1, 2, and 3, you can see two tubes coming out of the front of the shoe box. Those tubes go to an aquarium air pump, used to bubble air into the acid bath, keeping the acid circulated well, in order to ensure the temperature of the fluid around the part remains constant.

Also, I created a spread sheet to track my projects, changes, etc. Please let me know if this link doesn't work.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/gdu9j9sw4datx44/Anodizing.xlsx?dl=0

bgreen776
12-25-2016, 04:41 AM
I've never used Photobucket before, so bare with me if this link to the album doesn't work. Please let me know so I can try to fix it.

http://s1007.photobucket.com/user/Donkey_Hunter/library/Anodizing

polaraligned
12-25-2016, 08:37 AM
Here are your pictures bgreen776:

http://i1007.photobucket.com/albums/af191/Donkey_Hunter/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2024%207%2030%2035%20PMa.jpg (http://s1007.photobucket.com/user/Donkey_Hunter/media/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2024%207%2030%2035%20PMa.jpg.html)
http://i1007.photobucket.com/albums/af191/Donkey_Hunter/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2024%207%2030%2003%20PM.jpeg (http://s1007.photobucket.com/user/Donkey_Hunter/media/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2024%207%2030%2003%20PM.jpeg.html)
http://i1007.photobucket.com/albums/af191/Donkey_Hunter/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2024%207%2029%2022%20PM_1.jpeg (http://s1007.photobucket.com/user/Donkey_Hunter/media/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2024%207%2029%2022%20PM_1.jpeg.html)
http://i1007.photobucket.com/albums/af191/Donkey_Hunter/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2024%207%2038%2044%20PMa.jpg (http://s1007.photobucket.com/user/Donkey_Hunter/media/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2024%207%2038%2044%20PMa.jpg.html)

polaraligned
12-25-2016, 08:38 AM
http://i1007.photobucket.com/albums/af191/Donkey_Hunter/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2024%207%2038%2000%20PMa_2.jpg (http://s1007.photobucket.com/user/Donkey_Hunter/media/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2024%207%2038%2000%20PMa_2.jpg.html)
http://i1007.photobucket.com/albums/af191/Donkey_Hunter/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2024%207%2036%2056%20PMa_1.jpg (http://s1007.photobucket.com/user/Donkey_Hunter/media/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2024%207%2036%2056%20PMa_1.jpg.html)
http://i1007.photobucket.com/albums/af191/Donkey_Hunter/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2024%207%2036%2022%20PMa.jpg (http://s1007.photobucket.com/user/Donkey_Hunter/media/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2024%207%2036%2022%20PMa.jpg.html)

polaraligned
12-25-2016, 08:43 AM
It looks very nice. Impressive job. I would like to learn to do this someday.

To put pictures into your post using Photobucket, open Photobucket in another browser tab, then just click in the box on the right hand side of your picture in Photobucket that is labeled IMG, you will see "copied" pop up, then go the browser tab that has your post being written and paste it.

Sparky_NY
12-25-2016, 08:55 AM
I have been tempted to try home anodizing for quite some time. Your results are inspirational. I especially find the depth and evenness of the color outstanding. I have read that made for the purpose dyes far outperform using Rit dyes but your results disprove that. I am curious what color Rit dye that part was, some sort of dark orange? I would guess that fabrics and aluminum take the dye differently.

Lew Hartswick
12-25-2016, 09:12 AM
Will an aquarium pump handle the acid ??? I wouldn't expect it to last very long. BUT I think it's a good idea. Maybe a peristaltic pump would be a better idea. That way the only thing contacting the acid is the tubing.
...lew...

ed_h
12-25-2016, 12:04 PM
You don't have to pump the acid for agitation. Usually better to pump air. The typical clear tubing survives the acid OK, but not so for the little porous diffusers that sometimes come with aquarium pumps.

Ed

polaraligned
12-25-2016, 12:46 PM
I think the "pump" is just an aquarium air pump. It is only introducing air and no fluid flows thru it, so there would not be a longevity issue.
You can see the air bubbles in the pictures.

Rustybolt
12-25-2016, 01:09 PM
Nice job. beautiful finish.

adatesman
12-25-2016, 02:14 PM
I have read that made for the purpose dyes far outperform using Rit dyes but your results disprove that. I am curious what color Rit dye that part was, some sort of dark orange? I would guess that fabrics and aluminum take the dye differently.

That was my experience with it... red RIT dye came out orangey like in the pic. Unsurprisingly the proper red from Caswell comes out a nice deep red. Black RIT came out splotchy blue for me, while proper stuff deep black.

Supposedly it's a question of molecule size in the tints, with the fabric dye sometimes using ones that are too big to fit in the pores of the anodized aluminum.

Norman Bain
12-25-2016, 03:03 PM
Georgeous finish ... inspriational.

mattthemuppet
12-25-2016, 03:20 PM
Beautiful work, I keep meaning to get mine set up. Get results with the dye too. Did you desmut at all? Also, how come the 8min in lye, isn't that a little long?

MichaelP
12-25-2016, 03:41 PM
May I suggest placing the air pump ABOVE the acid bath? Even if you have a check valve, you risk getting the acid back into the pump after you turn it off. Without a check valve it's guaranteed.

fastfire
12-25-2016, 06:08 PM
May I suggest placing the air pump ABOVE the acid bath? Even if you have a check valve, you risk getting the acid back into the pump after you turn it off. Without a check valve it's guaranteed.

That's probably a good idea dealing a acid bath, but for what it's worth I had many aquariums during a 30+ year period and never had water siphon back into the air pump placed below the tanks.

MichaelP
12-25-2016, 07:23 PM
That's probably a good idea dealing a acid bath, but for what it's worth I had many aquariums during a 30+ year period and never had water siphon back into the air pump placed below the tanks.

I am speaking from my personal experience keeping a fish room with two dozen tanks for many years. Nice to meet a fellow aquarium enthusiast. For me, it's a thing of the past though. :)

Highpower
12-25-2016, 10:24 PM
Very nice job indeed. Your parts look perfect.

I wish I had room to get into doing my own anodizing. Mainly because I would want to copy my friend Tom's set-up to keep everything contained in one area but I just don't have the space available.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtYHcsq7s5A

Paul Alciatore
12-25-2016, 11:38 PM
We have a sticky post that shows the latest procedure for using Photobucket. SKIP down to post #8 as the ones at the top are outdated now.

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/threads/62262-Posting-Photos

Post #8 shows the latest procedure in a "short strokes" fashion. It really is easy. The only other thing you need to remember about posting links to Photobucket is DO NOT MOVE THE PICTURES AFTER POSTING THE LINK. If you move them, the old link will not work any longer.




I've never used Photobucket before, so bare with me if this link to the album doesn't work. Please let me know so I can try to fix it.

http://s1007.photobucket.com/user/Donkey_Hunter/library/Anodizing

bgreen776
12-26-2016, 01:48 AM
Thanks for the help guys! I'll read the sticky, not sure how I missed that.

The Rit dye I used was the standard orange I found at Walmart, but the first part I used it on turned out a little too Peach for what I wanted. After some reading I discovered that was likely due in part to the surface finish (belt sander with 80 grit belt), but by that time I had already added some red dye to the batch. I wanted to make sure it was orange when it was in sunlight as I hoped it would match, at least somewhat closely, to the turbos on the truck i'ts going on.

http://i1007.photobucket.com/albums/af191/Donkey_Hunter/IMG_7132a.jpg (http://s1007.photobucket.com/user/Donkey_Hunter/media/IMG_7132a.jpg.html)

The air pump... Great suggestion MichaelP. I've just been disconnecting the tubing from the pump and placing the end of the tubing under a tote on the shelf above to hold it in place while not in use. The little check valves that came with the pump went into a goodie box for some other project in the distant future. I'm in the process of re-locating the entire works to a place near my exhaust fan at which point I will hang the little air pump on the wall above the acid bath for reasons mentioned above.

I've not experimented with the Rit black on its own yet. I did use it to darken up some blue with fair results. The piece I tested it on had already been colored twice and I'm thinking that is making things a little more difficult. This is something I need to do a little research on, but so far I have been able to change colors by using bleach to take out the color and lye to prep the surface before going back into the anodizing process. Any suggestions, hints, tips for re-coloring a previously treated piece? I am not happy with the current blue color, (mill vise speed handle) and I would like to try black, but for now I'm just happy that the thing has a nice hard layer on it.

bgreen776
12-26-2016, 02:35 AM
The blue/black mix on the vice handle I mentioned...

http://i1007.photobucket.com/albums/af191/Donkey_Hunter/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2025%2010%2017%2017%20PM.jpeg (http://s1007.photobucket.com/user/Donkey_Hunter/media/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2025%2010%2017%2017%20PM.jpeg.html)

http://i1007.photobucket.com/albums/af191/Donkey_Hunter/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2025%2010%2018%2042%20PM.jpeg (http://s1007.photobucket.com/user/Donkey_Hunter/media/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2025%2010%2018%2042%20PM.jpeg.html)

And one that includes a little fixture I built for changing tooling. (mounted in the vice) This was done with the same specs as the blue vise handle but it was a virgin piece rather than having been re-anodized several times.

http://i1007.photobucket.com/albums/af191/Donkey_Hunter/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2025%2010%2020%2038%20PM.jpeg (http://s1007.photobucket.com/user/Donkey_Hunter/media/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2025%2010%2020%2038%20PM.jpeg.html)

bgreen776
12-26-2016, 02:49 AM
These are the three colors I've been playing with, couldn't find the bottle of black though. Shop is a bit of a wreck at the moment. :)

http://i1007.photobucket.com/albums/af191/Donkey_Hunter/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2025%2010%2019%2051%20PM.jpeg (http://s1007.photobucket.com/user/Donkey_Hunter/media/Anodizing/File%20Dec%2025%2010%2019%2051%20PM.jpeg.html)

Doc Nickel
12-26-2016, 05:09 AM
The piece I tested it on had already been colored twice and I'm thinking that is making things a little more difficult. This is something I need to do a little research on, but so far I have been able to change colors by using bleach to take out the color and lye to prep the surface before going back into the anodizing process. Any suggestions, hints, tips for re-coloring a previously treated piece? I am not happy with the current blue color, (mill vise speed handle) and I would like to try black, but for now I'm just happy that the thing has a nice hard layer on it.

-There's no "partially undoing" of an anodized and sealed piece. :)

If you don't like the color or finish, skip the bleach, it's unnecessary- just use a strong mix of lye to strip the anodizing off. If it's been colored, once the color is gone, the anodized layer is gone, and you're back to bare metal again.

Neither the dye nor the anodizing "soaks in" to the metal. Both are just the thinnest layer on the outside of the part- .001 to .002" at best. Once that's stripped back off, you're back to, as you put it, "virgin" metal again. (Which is another thing to be concerned with, if you're making high-precision parts, say, something that might need an O-ring seal or a closely fit bushing. Each time you strip, reanno and restrip, you're losing metal. Admittedly it's only .001-.002" at a time, but if the fit is critical, you need to keep it in mind.)

It's been a very long time since I tried home-shop anodizing- I never had any success- but I do frequently strip factory-ano'ed pieces in preparation for sending them off to be redone professionally. Generally I just use Liquid Plum'r, which can have it stripped clean in less than 15 minutes. Rinse off under warm water in the sink- I use an old toothbrush to help scrub- dry, and you're done.

Alternatively, you can mix up your own with some Red Devil, which is pretty much pure lye. Some of the drain cleaners have more potassium hydroxide than sodium hydroxide, and it's been my (occasionally unfortunate) experience that that some of those mixes will etch and even pit the underlying metal. The grey bottle LP seems to work fine, but I also don't let it soak too long.

Doc.

ed_h
12-26-2016, 07:49 AM
I'd read that RIT dyes were sometimes problematic in anodizing, so I never tried them. Here is what I got with a commercial black anodizing dye. The piece is a spin on oil filter adapter for a British sports car.

Ed

http://bullfire.net/TR6/TR6-57/IMG_0684a.JPG

bgreen776
12-26-2016, 09:37 PM
Thats absolutely beautiful. I'm looking forward to trying out the black but I suspect, from what I have read as well, that it will deliver less than stellar results. I need to call Caswell and see if I can get some products shipped up here without paying through the nose for hazmat fees.