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Questions from a wanna be...

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  • Questions from a wanna be...

    I'm thinking of putting an Anodize line in, and I have some questions:

    1. If I only run once a month, what do I do with the stuff in between? Would I throw it out and make a new batch, or put lids on the chemicals?

    2. Do the chemicals create any amount of smell that would be offensive? (I have a shop in a building with other people, and don't want to offend them.)

    3. If I were to buy one of the kits, what else would I need? Heaters, power supply, etc.

    4. Are there any good resources that explain the process? I keep hearing about watching for PAR, etc, and I want to better understand that. I am an Electrical Engineer, and from what I am hearing, it seems like I could pretty easily build an automated power supply that would monitor the system, and shut down when it's "done". Without really understanding the whole process, I'm not sure if it's feasible or not. If it is, maybe I could make such a system and sell it to others through Caswell?

    5. I'm trying to anodize cast aluminum boxes. Without first buffing them, can I get a uniform color? If the color would not be uniform, maybe it would look cool anyway?

    6. Is there any real danger in this process? Chemical burns, explosions, etc?

    7. OK, now a really ignorant question. With the chemicals involved, will a stainless steel heater work, or do you need titanium?

    As I said before, I'm an engineer, and I need to know how everything works, so any info you guys can throw my way would be greatly appreciated.



  • #2
    The answers to most of your questions lie here:

    That's the LCD anodizing instructions. If you're an engineer, I highly recommend reading through the entire paper, as there's a lot of good information in the 2nd section.

    Now, for specific answers:
    1. Yes, you simply put a lid on your anodizing bath and seal up the dye in airtight containers.

    2. Anodizing creates a mist that is somewhat offensive, but when using the LCD method, it is hardly noticeable unless you are anodizing a large amount of work, (many square feet).

    3. Everything you need can be bought from Caswell, with the exception of battery acid. That is best purchased from your local auto part's store. The last time I bought acid it was about $8.00 for 6 quarts.

    4. See above link.

    5. Cast aluminum may not anodize like the wrought alloys. Sometimes it has a tendency to turn dark grey while anodizing. This is something you'll just have to test for your particular alloy. Bead blasting the parts beforehand is a very good way to remove any native oxide. If you want a gloss finish, you will need to buff them. Scotch Brite works well to give you that 'brushed' aluminum look.

    6. Yes, you will be working with sulfuric acid, so there is some danger. However, in LCD it is quite dilute, so with proper chemical handling precautions it can be quite safe.

    7. I believe SS will work in the anodizing bath. You'll want to keep your bath temp around 68F.