Anybody anodizing aluminum at home?

Discussion in 'DIY Projects' started by DIY_guy, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. DIY_guy

    DIY_guy New Member

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    Are there any members of this sight that have tackled anodizing aluminum at home? If so, are you willing to share your experience and techniques? I plan on taking on this task so I thought out would put out the request. If you have actually done anodizing I would love to hear from you. If you have not done it, we can all learn together by reading along.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  2. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    I've thought about it but the chemicals aren't cheap nor terribly safe to store. For small batch or one shot type deals its prohibitive. Parkerizing is doable at home but anodizing is another animal. Even folks like midwest industries outsource it to dedicated anodizers. You can't just spot anodize either its pretty much all or nothing.
     

  3. DIY_guy

    DIY_guy New Member

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    Thanks Im still inclined to learn this skill set as I can see the value in it. The costs dont deture me and I always like to learn new things.
     
  4. Sniper03

    Sniper03 Supporting Member Supporter

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    Good luck on getting it to match other parts on the weapon or turn out the exact color you want.
    I think I will leave that project to the professionals.

    And once the part is Anodized it is "Anodized" if you copy what I am saying. NO second chance to make it correct. It can come out with a very black-deep purple effect! EEK!:eek: Since Anodizing impregnates the surface and is far from being a surface coating. To totally remove it after it is done changes the dimensions of the part.

    Good Luck my friend!

    03
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  5. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    Anodizing mixtures are closely held trade secrets when it comes to coloration while maintaining hardness standards.

    I would suggest trying parkarizing first. The processes are closely similar
     
  6. DIY_guy

    DIY_guy New Member

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    Not to be nit picky guys but Im not seeking advice on how to avoid learning a new skill set or how to fear anodizing. Im looking for input from members that actually anodize and are willing to share their experiences doing it. Im surrounded daily by people telling how not to do stuff or that it cant be done or it would be too difficult. I don’t usually pay attention to those folks because im too busy actually doing what they say cant or shouldn’t be done. If you have actually done it and failed, I might be interested but if you have never tried it and want to see to it that I don’t either, im less interested. The world is full of people too afraid to fail to even give it a try. The joy is in the doing. There is much to be learned by failing.

    If you aimed for black and got purple, then solve the problem. You don’t stop trying and assume that others are just smarter than you and figured it out what you cant. You miss every shot you don’t take.

    Many many people have for many many years been anodizing aluminum. Im not seeking input on anything that hasn’t already been done. If other men have been successful at it there is no reason to think I wont also be successful and I wont know unless I try which is why I place little value on discouraging words.

    P.S. A lye bath (draino and water) will remove anodizing.

    P.S.S. I am not soley looking for info for gun restoration and will also focus on new parts and even archery gear.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  7. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    If you do a Google search for diy anodizing- there are a few companies that DO make products for home use.

    Yes, stuff is dangerous. I do hot caustic blue in my home shop, knowing that it is a boiling supersaturated solution of lye and ammonium nitrate, and getting it in your eye could cost you the eye. Spend some time reading, learning, and use the right safety gear.

    As I understand the process, you are building up a layer of aluminum hydroxide on the surface, dying that, and sealing the color in. It should be do-able at the home shop level if you can safely handle acids and jumper cables. I'd say give it a try.
     
  8. DIY_guy

    DIY_guy New Member

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    Thanks C3. youtube has been helpful and I just figured I would ask here since this site is populated with some very capable folks.
     
  9. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    maybe i should build a nuclear reactor in my backyard and start generating my own power. surely someone might suggest or even recommend that this is not the best thing to do.

    saying someone can't do something is not the same as saying maybe they shouldn't do it, simply because of the dangers involved.

    somtimes instead of just jumping into something maybe using some common sense first is the best approach. maybe do some real indepth research into the chemicals and equipment involved. Google is your friend.
     
  10. DIY_guy

    DIY_guy New Member

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    Already done. Countless hours of reaserch/reading on the subject have been done coupled with web searches and youtube viewing as well as material/chem sourcing. My original request was seeking input from members of this community that might have already tried anodizing since the only way to find out if others here have tried it is to ask them. Perhaps I should have placed a qualifier in my opening request for only those who have actually tried it to comment, all others need not reply. ;)

    As to the “dangers” I contend that my drive to and from work daily is the most dangerous thing I can do each day as I am at the mercy of others. Anodizing in my shop is only dangerous to me if I allow it to be (And I wont as I have a very high regard for self preservation)
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  11. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    so i guess even if someone has just an opinion from other sources they shouldn't post that opinion?

    i have been around business's in the past that had parts anodized and even spoke up once about doing such things in-house rather than sending the parts out. cost of the equipment and the danger of the chemicals involved were usually the reasons why they didn't.

    i'll refrain from bothering you with anymore suggestions in the future. wasn't awar only a select few were allowed to have an opinion or suggestion. sorry to have bothered you sir.
     
  12. DIY_guy

    DIY_guy New Member

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    In regards to safety and the required items needed to anodize. They are common and easy to get items.

    Sodium Bisulfate: (pool additive like Aqua Chem pH down) no doubt used by some not so bright folks every day in their pools

    Sodium Hydroxide: (drain cleaner or lye), available at all hardware stores and used by not so smart people every day to clear clogged drains.

    RIT dye: used by some of the dumbest people on earth. I have used it many many times

    Battery or source of DC current: I use these daily.

    Aluminum: Seems pretty stable

    Room temp Distilled water: Can do

    boiling water: My love for hard boiled eggs has rendered me a master that this.

    Soap: I got that down to a science

    Rubbermaid tote: Expert status already.

    The small amounts of hydrogen that escape during the anodizing are noted and not of grave concern.

    I already own safety glasses and rubber gloves and several windows that I can open.

    Back to my original question. If you have experience at DIY anodozing I would love to here your tips and tricks.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  13. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    When your heating water for a chemical process dont use the boil by look method. Boiling is different at different elevations and if your too high up certain temps cant be reached just boiling water. I know this from cooking and fumbling with candy making.

    If your looking to diy anodizing i wish ya luck. Its one of those things that can be disastrous and actually make a part porous if done wrong even with the right setup. Your going to need to need to test for porosity on test material before doing recievers or other gun parts with scrap from the same grade aluminum your anodizing.

    When i did machinist type work many moons ago my best friend and i would run parts to a local anodizer and one thing he always wanted was test scrap so he could test his mix and tune accordingly.
     
  14. DIY_guy

    DIY_guy New Member

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    Thanks, as a fellow candy maker and maple syrup boiler and veggie canner, I learned a while back that at 1,100 feet above sea level (where I live) water does not boil at 212F. I wonder if I could couple syrup making with the anodizing (to save time) ;)

    P.S. I make some awsome maple candy. Soft ball and poured over snow is a family favorite.

    [​IMG]

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  15. seancslaughter

    seancslaughter New Member

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    I wish I had some info for you, but alas I don't I just popped in to wish you luck. I have been following all your restoration threads and the bluing thread and I admire your skills. I'm glad you don't let naysayers get you down you seem like a very capable individual and I hope you get all the info you need and are successful in your learning a new skill.
     
  16. DIY_guy

    DIY_guy New Member

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    Thanks! even if I fail misserably I will be miles ahead of anybody that fears trying in the first place. I am an expert at failing. I can do it almost without fail. I dont need help failing. I can handle that on my own. ;) Just like I dont need assistance in discouraging me from trying.
     
  17. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    Not trying to discourage you just pointing out the realities

    Ive got two m1 carbine recievers one in a complete gun the other is 80% complete minus bolt stock trigger. Im debating whether i want to invest in building a bead blaster and compressor setup and diy the parkerizing or send off the parts to be done.

    Im not going to be doing a bunch of em but i do want the tools to build a carbine. Both need new barrels neither are timed correctly nor headspaced properly. Both barrels are canted.
     
  18. clr8ter

    clr8ter New Member

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    I have not seen one mention yet about disposing of said chemicals. It's not like you can pour crap like that down the drain, no matter if it's yours, or the towns'. And proper removal is NOT cheap. Axxe, that is one reason you forgot why some companies don't do it. Disposal of waste.

    OP, if you want ONLY suggestions on how to do things that are best left to the professionals, you're going to have a lot of one-post threads, because most of us have come to the conclusion that it's not worth our time to entertain. Just sayin'.
     
  19. DIY_guy

    DIY_guy New Member

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    I will list them again

    Sodium Bisulfate: (pool additive like Aqua Chem pH down) no doubt used by some not so bright folks every day in their pools. sodium bisulfite is sold by some home winemaking suppliers for the same purpose. In fruit canning, sodium bisulfite is used to prevent browning (caused by oxidation) and to kill microbes.

    In the case of wine making, sodium bisulfite releases sulfur dioxide gas when added to water or products containing water. The sulfur dioxide kills yeasts, fungi, and bacteria in the grape juice before fermentation. When the sulfur dioxide levels have subsided (about 24 hours), fresh yeast is added for fermentation.

    Sodium bisulfite is also added to leafy green vegetables in salad bars and elsewhere, to preserve apparent freshness, under names like LeafGreen. The concentration is sometimes high enough to cause severe allergic reactions.[

    That being said, I think (if one can eat it) that it CAN BE flushed. I would already be diluting it with water anyay.

    Sodium Hydroxide: (drain cleaner or lye), available at all hardware stores and used by not so smart people every day to clear clogged drains and as such (and by its very nature) is meant to go down a drain.

    RIT dye: used by some of the dumbest people on earth. I have used it many many times and alway dispose of .......... Yup you guessed it. Right down the drain

    Battery or source of DC current: I use these daily. I will refrain from flushing this as it reusable (and because it would no doubt clogg the drain requiring more drain cleaner (the horror)

    Aluminum: Seems pretty stable and is the part I hope to anodize so nope, I wont be flushing it.

    Room temp Distilled water: I flush that stuff all the time. I think im good with that one

    boiling water: See above. Boiling water down the drain frees up grease clogs too

    Soap: Need I say more?

    Rubbermaid tote: reusable

    The above list may be why there has been no mention of disposing of the items needed. ;)


    LOL at "left to the professionals" How does one become a professional??? By doing and disregarding those that dispence discouraging words that would keep one from becoming a professional.:rolleyes:

    Back to my original question. If you have experience at DIY anodozing I would love to here your tips and tricks. If however you only have discouraging words, there are a host of threads seeking your input. :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  20. clr8ter

    clr8ter New Member

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    Whatever, man. So long as you don't live in my town, pour it down the drain, knock yourself out.