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Can alcohol based inks be used for color?

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  • Can alcohol based inks be used for color?

    Hi guys,

    I have a doubt. I'm launching a new product that is the exact opposite of typical production runs. I dont need color consistency at all, rather a huge color swatch.
    I was thinking of using alcohol based inks, as they are wildly used in arts and craft (including painting over metals), and have very lively and vibrant colors.

    Anyone have experience with this? Will I still be required to heat up the solution for an effective dye process?

  • #2
    These type of Dyes will most likely not have a very good color fastness and will fade quickly
    Jason Vanderbroek
    315 946 1213 x116


    • #3
      Caswellplating_Jason - thanks for the response!

      I am aware of this. As far as I've looked into it (please correct me if I am wrong) light fastness is directly related to UV radiation exposure. These pieces will very rarely see sunshine, and by rarely, I really mean less than once a year, in some cases maybe never. In fact, they are going to be mounted on lacquered woods that also suffer from "natural" color degradation themselves. It is expected, and quite frankly part of the charm, as the idea is for each piece to be unique.

      My main concern is the temperature really. I understand that for professional anodising dyes temperature and pH is of utter importance, but honestly cannot wrap my head around as to why. Isn't the colouring a mechanical process and not chemical, where the pores fill up with pigment before sealing? Also don't understand why pH would make a difference.


      • #4

        I just anodised my first piece ever. I'm impressed that it worked out at all since I am still setting things up, but couldn't resist doing a first practice run.

        Tried 21 colours, 1 drop each and waited around 15-20 minutes. Just enough time to see the alcohol evaporate completely

        Black and deep purple did not seal - but honestly I cheated a little, so to speak. I did not de-ox, de-smut, used tap water to seal for 15 minutes and didn't even get to a proper boil, and no nickel acetate was used either.

        It really was just a practice run to test the procedure and math.

        Just got the the analysis back on my electrolyte, 99,98% pure H2S04 was used and industrial grade DI water under 5µS - was aiming at 12-15% but titration says its 9%. This is a 60L bath - should I fix this or roll with it? pH is 5,5.

        Getting a bath thermometer today, but room temperature is around 15-18ºc / 59-64 F. I did go overboard with the bath volume to tame bath temperatures and electrolyte homogeneity. An aquarium pump and blue air stone place right under the work.

        Work has a surface area of 37,889 in2 / 244,44cm2 - Cathode-anode distance is the maximum available, 34cm / 13.4in

        Admitting 4,5A/ft2, for this piece I calculated 1,18A, but rounded down to 1,10A (because colour works better slightly lower, right?) - Ramped up during a 20 minute period. After that, Voltage quickly locked at 4.1v. I was expecting to reach PAR to remove the work, but after 3 hours it was still 4.1v and 1,10A bang on. It was late so I switched it off and proceeded to dye.

        3 hours is quite a stretch, shouldn't the voltage start dropping?

        Used an aluminium cathode, same alloy - I got these pieces long time ago and forget exactly which, but it is 6xxx - Getting a lead cathode this weekend, but doing a few test runs to add a bit of dissolved aluminium to the bath.

        Any insight input would be highly appreciated!

        Last edited by Pancrecio; 12-13-2018, 12:13 PM.