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trouble with black, anyone got any ideas?

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  • trouble with black, anyone got any ideas?

    Product: anodize
    Base Metal: 6063-T6 AI
    Amperage: 9
    Voltage: 0
    Temperature: 72
    Duration: 90
    Area: 275
    Power Source: hp 6063b
    Surface Prep: PARTS FIRST TUMBLES IN CERAMIC STONE. THEN DIPPED IN LYE ETCH 3 MIN. SPRAY RINSE, THEN REGULAR WATER SPRAY THEN DISTILLED SPRAY, THEN IN DESMUTT FOR 3 MIN, SAME RINSING AS ABOVE.
    Problem: THEN INTO ACID. AMPS PRESET TO 9.3 LETTING VOLTS DO THEMSELVES. ACID AERATED WITH YOUR AERATOR. PARTS ON AL RACK CLAMPED TO AL BAR ACROSS PAIL WITH + TO AL BAR. GROUND USING THE TO LEAD PLATES YOU SUPPLIED ONE ON EACH SIDE OF PAIL. VOLTAGE DID NOT FOLLOW THE CURVE FOR PAR. TOOK OUT, SPRAY RINSED AND DIPPED IN DISTILLED WATER WITH BAKING SODA. SPRAY RINSED AND DIPPED IN DISTILLED WATER. PUT IN CASWELL DIE AT 130 F FOR 5 MIN, TOOK OUT SEEMED DIRTY. (IF I DON'T TAKE OUT AFTER 5 MIN AND SPRAY, PARTS JUST STAY LIGHT BLUE) SPRAY RINSED AND PUT BACK IN FOR 30 MIN. CAME OUT FAIRLY BLACK BUT COVERED WITH HEAVY BLACK SMUT. I AM LOOKING FOR MAT BLACK FINISH. NOT QUITE MAT AND COVERING NOT PERFECT. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG.

    Solution:
    That seems a large amount of material in the tank, is it one piece or lots of little ones? Sounds like you aren't growing the film correctly And THAT sounds like bad connections, especially as it didn't follow the PAR curve etc. I'd suggest you also post this on our anodizing forum.

    am going to change the leads from my power supply to the work, will post any changes that makes.

    Thanks in advance guys.

  • #2
    Re: trouble with black, anyone got any ideas?

    Good connections capable of carry the required current are definitely an essential part of success. Here are some other things I have found out about tumbled parts in 6061, 6063, and 2011 alloy.

    Tumbling does something to the surface, which requires extra diligence in cleaning prep. Whether work hardening or surface contamination is the root of the problem, or both, I cannot conclusively say yet. I have seen a lot of inconsistency from commercial anodizers on these same tumbled parts. As a comparison between tumbled parts and fully machined parts, here is how we successfully prepare and the machined parts:

    1) Spray rinse with hot tap water to remove all visible traces of water soluble machining coolant. Must be clean enough to pass water sheet test after step 2.
    2) Rack.
    3) Dip in 150? cleaner for 2-3 minutes max (or else will dull brightly machined surface).
    4) Remove quickly and fully submerge in cool distilled water rinse tank to keep heated cleaner from drying on.
    5) Rinse in cold tap water.
    6) Anodize.
    7) Dip in baking soda solution immediately after removing from tank.
    8.) Thoroughly spray rinse in cold tap water.
    9) Dye.
    10) Cold water rinse.
    11) Seal
    12) Remove quickly and fully submerge in cool tap water rinse tank to keep heated sealer from drying on.

    We do not etch the machined finish parts, as it destroys the finished required. The above procedure is between marginal and inadequate for tumbled parts, and most likely older and dirtier parts also, which would have a heavier native oxide than freshly machined parts.

    This is how we are currently processing 6061 and 6063 tumbled parts to be dyed black (2011 is another story):

    1) Rack.
    2) Dip in 150?-165? cleaner for 12-15 minutes.
    3) Remove quickly and fully submerge in cool distilled water rinse tank to keep heated cleaner from drying on.
    4) Spray rinse.
    5) Etch in room temp lye or stripper for 3-8 minutes, until parts brighten. Since the lye or stripper may be of different temperatures or concentration affecting how quickly it works, the main thing is to leave them in long enough to amply clean the surface.
    6) Rinse in cold tap water tank.
    7) Spray rinse.
    8.) May dip in desmut, or may not. Followed by thorough double rinse. We have found that rinsing the desmut is very critical, or it will cause an irregular anodize with a smutty film. If the parts have any smut film from the lye it should be removed.
    9) Anodize.
    10) Same as above from here.

    The main thing is the tumbled parts need to be aggressively cleaned so you are dealing with an even surface of the pure alloy if you are to stand any chance of consistency. Otherwise, you will chase you tail. Having the parts pass the water sheet test is will be no guarantee tumbled parts are clean enough, it only means there is no oil on them.

    I am not sure what your tank size is, and your start and end tank temperatures. I suspect with your load size you may be seeing some effects of a tank size that is too small, and thus instable and high temperatures. I have found there is about a 2V drop for every 5-6? rise in tank temperature in the 65? - 80? range, so that could be part of the abnormal voltage curve, but since you don?t detail it this is just a guess. This is off subject since you are using aluminum racking, but I have found that Titanium racks also change the voltages substantially, dropping it from what you would expect from the LCD model.

    So, I would look at connections, part cleanliness, excessive tank temperature and temperature rise.

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