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  • attaching cathodes

    How does everybody on here attach your cathodes? Any creative ways?

    I got a sheet of 6063 aluminum and got the two sides set up now just want know how to attach the two (the best way)...

  • #2
    Re: attaching cathodes

    hi,

    Cathode - you mention using Aluminium sheets - if at all possible would recommend you use lead (ordinary new roofing lead is OK) - otherwise your electrolyte will become overburdened with ali if you don't pull the cathodes each time. Having said that, your electrolyte does need a little ali in there, so be fully prepared that a new tank doesn't work properly the first couple of times until you've run a couple of test jobs through it.

    Several threads on here including cathode material; connecting; and sizing them.

    Dave

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    • #3
      Re: attaching cathodes

      Originally posted by dmiom View Post
      hi,

      Cathode - you mention using Aluminium sheets - if at all possible would recommend you use lead (ordinary new roofing lead is OK) - otherwise your electrolyte will become overburdened with ali if you don't pull the cathodes each time. Having said that, your electrolyte does need a little ali in there, so be fully prepared that a new tank doesn't work properly the first couple of times until you've run a couple of test jobs through it.

      Several threads on here including cathode material; connecting; and sizing them.

      Dave
      True.. I rather use aluminum than lead because you WANT aluminum in your tank. You DON"T want lead in your tank...

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: attaching cathodes

        Originally posted by pyroracing85 View Post
        True.. I rather use aluminum than lead because you WANT aluminum in your tank. You DON"T want lead in your tank...
        well ..... you want a little aluminium in the electrolyte solution - but you'll get enough from the first couple of runs - or from just suspending some plates in there for a few hours. Anything beyond that is contributing to building a long-term problem - aluminium cathodes left in solution will dissolve which will eventually mean you will need to replace your electrolyte (if you go this route, have a search on here for AcidRain's titration instructions so you can monitor when to change electrolyte). Lead cathodes aren't a problem and there isn't really a "don't want" for lead - and the big difference is you can get away with leaving lead cathodes in place longer-term.

        And irrespective of what material you make the cathodes from, have a look at those links for ways to safely attach & connect them

        Dave

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        • #5
          Re: attaching cathodes

          i couldnt easily find lead[found a roll for $100 at home depot] so ive been using 6061. my tank is a mess, as every time i start a new run a layer of smut dissolves off the cathode.

          so my project for the week is to find some cheap lead plate as i like to leave my cathode fixed in the tank.

          on another note i was googling the other night and came across two sites that stated 6063 T6 is ideal as cathode material. all i could find in my shop is 6061 and if im gonna spend the $$ id rather go with the lead as everyone seems to have good results.

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          • #6
            Re: attaching cathodes

            Originally posted by stayhi View Post
            i couldnt easily find lead[found a roll for $100 at home depot] so ive been using 6061. my tank is a mess, as every time i start a new run a layer of smut dissolves off the cathode.

            so my project for the week is to find some cheap lead plate as i like to leave my cathode fixed in the tank.

            on another note i was googling the other night and came across two sites that stated 6063 T6 is ideal as cathode material. all i could find in my shop is 6061 and if im gonna spend the $$ id rather go with the lead as everyone seems to have good results.
            The ideal material IS 6063 t6 or t5 temper. NOT the t52 material that is readily found. The t6 and t5 tempers are very hard find. On that note I got me some

            The reason why 6063 is that it is pure aluminum look at charts of the compostion. The 6061 has a few percentage of silicon and mg... 6063 is more pure ratio of aluminum itself.


            But I am trying to find out how to connect them. I got the 3:1 cathode:anode ratio.

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            • #7
              Re: attaching cathodes

              A flat profile easily looses connection, it's why quality titanium racks/baskets have a slight twist to the square (cross section) hooks, it's because it creates a knife edge that rests on the buss - it's a much better connection. If you had thick enough material you could remove some from the center and leave square profiled sections along the edge. Then give them slight twist and make a hook out of it - to be draped over the buss bar.

              I just saw a plating video where flat sheet anodes (cathodes in your case) had small arcs cut out of two edges, which corresponded to studs in the buss bar. The threaded studs got a heavy duty plastic knob which when tightened will draw the material tight to the bar, ensuring a good connection. In this way lightweight flat material was bent up and over the edge of the tank and around the buss bar. They can be quickly removed and secured. Every once in a while you'd want to give the surfaces a good scrub with a scotchbrite.

              Hope this makes sense, let me know if not, can provide a picture.
              -Jimmy.

              Originally posted by pyroracing85 View Post
              How does everybody on here attach your cathodes? Any creative ways?

              I got a sheet of 6063 aluminum and got the two sides set up now just want know how to attach the two (the best way)...
              James Bateman

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: attaching cathodes

                Should I attach my cathodes with aluminum or titanium bolts?

                I am talking about OUT OF THE solution bolting..

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: attaching cathodes

                  Really wouldn't matter, at long as it's not directly above the solution.

                  Originally posted by pyroracing85 View Post
                  Should I attach my cathodes with aluminum or titanium bolts?

                  I am talking about OUT OF THE solution bolting..
                  James Bateman

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                  • #10
                    Re: attaching cathodes

                    With no doubt Ti.
                    Aluminum hardware will work but does not last.
                    SS

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                    • #11
                      Re: attaching cathodes

                      Originally posted by woodjames View Post
                      Really wouldn't matter, at long as it's not directly above the solution.
                      It will be on the side of the tank..

                      I might just go with the titanium since it's only 3 bucks more each.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: attaching cathodes

                        Okay. I found out I have 6063 t5 aluminum cathodes.


                        Now for my buss bar. Would it be okay to use 6063 t6 since it is going to be out of the solution?

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                        • #13
                          Re: attaching cathodes

                          i have 1 plate on each side of my tank with 5/8" diameter rods connecting them together on each end (out of the acid). i use aluminum screws that i got from home depot to bolt them together. On one corner, i have a piece of heavy gage wire with a lug bolted to the cathode. i covered the whole corner, bolt, lug, and exposed copper with some rubber cement and so far so good. i am a noob so take my technique with a grain of salt.

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                          • #14
                            Hi guys.... I'm totally new to all of this.... I have always just stuck to the machine and fabricate side of things but I want to take things to the next level.... Can someone please post or send me pics of the proper way to set up an Anodizing tank... Is there any how too books out there.... Who sells the 6063 cathodes... Is there a such thing as oversizing your cathode.... All I have right now is a bunch of HomeDepotH buckets and a power supply I purchased on Amazon... I have the dye.... The battery acid....and the lye... What else do I need and how do I hook it all up....thanks guys....take care....Vic

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                            • #15
                              Setup is fairly simple, it's the process that can be a little tricky.

                              In a nut shell, cathodes go in your bucket, I suggest two, one on each side to prevent shadowing. The cathodes will each have a wire attached to it that runs to the jack on your power supply. You'll have the output line of your supply attached to your rack or wire that is connected to your part. Cathode surface area ratio needed is typically 1:3, anodizing surface area to cathode surface area. Don't worry about getting it exact, going bigger on the cathodes won't hurt your results.

                              I get my 6063-T52 cathodes from onlinemetals.com. I use .125" X 3" rectangular bar. Three inches in width is just the right size for a bucket, as it follows the inner diameter without taking up too much space. I have my bars long enough to reach the bottom of the tank and stick out the top by about 3-4 inches. I drill a hole toward the top edge of the cathode and fasten a nut/bolt combo to an electrical ring terminal, which my wire is crimped into. The other end of the wire has another ring terminal crimped to it which is sized according to the diameter of my power supply jack. I slide both cathode ring terminals over the threaded supply jack and fasten down the threaded plug to keep them snug.

                              The cathodes are held in the bucket via the supply and return lines of my water pump. I just spread the PVC pump lines to opposite sides of the bucket, and the cathodes sit between the bucket wall and the PVC. I've never had to replace my cathodes in the 6 years I've been anodizing since I remove them from the bath when not in use. Otherwise they will be consumed and eventually drop too much AL into your bath.

                              You asked what else you need. If you want good consistent results, you need a pump to circulate the fluid. Lots of types out there. I prefer the Little Giant brand that can handle highly corrosive liquids (MD-HC series). They are pricey, but I've run thousands upon thousands of gallons through mine over the past 6 years and it's still going strong. If I could change one thing, I'd get a slightly more powerful pump. Mine is 1/25th HP and it turns over the bucket about twice every minute. I use just an open supply line which creates a decent vortex in the bucket. You can experiment with capping off the supply line and drilling holes in it to increase the pressure at which your supply line disperses liquid. Once this pump bites the dust, if I'm still anodizing out of a bucket, I'll upgrade to a 1/12 HP unit or go larger if I've graduated to a larger tank by that time.

                              You also need a way to cool your bath. A chiller is ideal, but not really practical if you're anodizing from a bucket. Chillers are great if you have a permanent setup with tanks that aren't going to be moved. I use frozen water bottles to keep my bath around 72 degrees. That's tough to do in the Florida heat though. Yesterday my bottles couldn't keep up with the temps and my bath ended the run at a sweltering 80 degrees. Parts still came out fine and readily accepted dye. In my experience, temperature is not nearly as critical as proper agitation.

                              I dip my parts in desmut prior to anodizing. Not really needed for 6061, but it gives me peace of mind.

                              Oh, if you plan on doing multiple parts, you'll need some type of racking system. I use custom titanium racks from servisure. They hold my parts in a cylindrical pattern which lends itself well to bucket anodizing.

                              Hope some of this helps. Good luck!
                              Last edited by g8erh8er; 06-11-2018, 11:56 PM.

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