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Anodizing Small Parts

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  • Anodizing Small Parts

    Hello -- newbie here looking for some advice on anodizing very small parts. I scanned the forum and couldn't find this topic in previous posts. I have a number of small parts (about the size of a pea) that I would like to anodize in batches of 1,000. Figure about 1,000 of these pieces would fit into a typical 12 oz. soda can. The pieces will be dyed after anodizing.

    What is the best way to get a good result using LCD anodizing (I will be purchasing the Caswell LCD Anodizing Kit)? I was thinking of making a small titanium cage with a lid that will allow the pieces to be held firmly in place during the anodizing process but not sure if this is the way to go.

    Any thoughts on this approach or alternative suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  • #2
    A small titanium cage is the way to go for itty bitty parts. It's referred to as basket anodizing. I have a customer that does that all day long running 15,000+ parts in a single basket. You need to pack them tight because if they move around you will get little burn marks from arcing. Vibrate them down as you tighten the lid. The cage will add quite a bit of resistance to your anodizing circuit, so you should see a higher than normal voltage for a given current. Also you will have rejections; it unavoidable in basket anodizing.
    Process control doesn't give you good quality, it gives you consistent quality.
    Good quality comes from consistently doing the right things.

    Process control systems for anodizers
    If a post helps you out spread the love and LIKE the post
    _____________________________________________
    Last edited by kevinB: Now. Reason: superfluous typo's

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    • #3
      KevinB -- thank you very much for the quick response...it is greatly appreciated!!!

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      • #4
        Good luck if you plan to dye them! You'll end up with nice little silver dots were they all touched!

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        • #5
          After the anodize tank, the parts need to be removed from the basket and for the rest of the process they are loose in a bucket or some other vessel. When rinsing, shake them up, move them around in the bucket to ensure good rinsing, then do the same in the dye tank. Stir them up, move them around for good coverage and they should be OK. As I mentioned, there will be rejects; it's simply unavoidable.
          Last edited by KevinB; 09-21-2017, 06:41 PM.
          Process control doesn't give you good quality, it gives you consistent quality.
          Good quality comes from consistently doing the right things.

          Process control systems for anodizers
          If a post helps you out spread the love and LIKE the post
          _____________________________________________
          Last edited by kevinB: Now. Reason: superfluous typo's

          Comment


          • #6
            These pieces don't need to be museum quality so we will see how it all goes.

            Is it a bad idea to pull the basket from the anodizing tank part of the way through the process, loosen the lid, give the basket a shake or two, tighten the lid and throw it back in the tank? The idea would be that the pieces touch in different places during the process such that all surfaces are at least partially exposed to the anodizing process. I am guessing that is a bad idea since I can't find anything online that suggests taking that approach.

            One thing I gather from my reading is that I have a lot of trial and error ahead of me to get this dialed in. All comments are greatly appreciated!

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            • #7
              I would not do that. When you first put the parts in the basket, you will have aluminum touching aluminum and you should get conductivity all the way through. As soon as you loosen the lid and shake, you will have aluminum oxide touching aluminum oxide and aluminum oxide does not conduct. This means you would probably break the anodizing circuit, or you would need so much voltage that things will certainly burn. I would go through all of the pre and post anodizing step with loose parts, but I would pack them tight before going into the ano bath and leave them that way until the ano is complete.

              Trial and error is just about the only way to learn anodizing. All the book smarts in the world won't tell you the best way to rack a part or how to "just know" if the process is working right. You gotta make mistakes so you know what works and what doesn't. Good luck to you.
              Last edited by KevinB; 09-21-2017, 06:45 PM.
              Process control doesn't give you good quality, it gives you consistent quality.
              Good quality comes from consistently doing the right things.

              Process control systems for anodizers
              If a post helps you out spread the love and LIKE the post
              _____________________________________________
              Last edited by kevinB: Now. Reason: superfluous typo's

              Comment


              • #8
                Yeah, forgot about the whole conductivity issue when I suggested shaking up the parts is the basket. Time to stop reading and start doing. Thanks for your help!

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