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A few question to help a beginner

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  • A few question to help a beginner

    Hello All,

    I have been reading alot of the topics in this forum. I see alot of stuff i still dont under stand yet. 1. How badly does ph affect the different tanks?Dye's, anodizing,ect... 2. I read something about aggitation in the dye tanks. does this help? I didnt see anything about it in the caswell manual except for in the anodizing tank. 3. I seem to be able to get a good anodizing layer and dye on the parts.but i cant seem to get a good after sealing look. Seems to have streaks here and there on the part. A discoloration if you will. I wipe with wd-40 like the manual says after the sealing process, but i dont know what i maybe doing wrong. i can go into more detail about this if anobody needs me to. i have a few peices to take pictures of also

    Thanks for your help
    A little lost

  • #2
    Re: A few question to help a beginner

    To the best of my knowledge, red dye is the most sensitive color in regards to its ph level, at least with Caswell?s brand. If I remember correctly they said 5-6 is the ideal range, I usually maintain it at 5.5-5.8. It makes a significant difference according to my results. It would seem there has to be limits with all of the colors, but they just aren?t as sensitive. From what I have experienced, the wrong dye ph isn't likely to cause streaks.

    Agitation helps, as does heating the dye to 110-140? F. Any temperature over 150-160? will partially seal the part and hinder or prevent further dye absorption, so you need to be careful with the temperatures, at least until the color is satisfactory. I wouldn?t doubt that unsatisfactory or uneven coloring is the most common problem of home anodizers.

    Following are other things I know of that could cause streaks.

    First off is not cleaning the part well enough, for example areas of the part may have some residual oils, waxes, and other substances that ?mask? the part and prevent or hinder an even anodized coating. Without a relatively even and consistent anodized coating, the color is apt to be inconsistent. It would be similar to staining a piece of wood where the grain has various densities. It?s really important that water will sheet over the part before proceeding to the anodizing process.

    Second would be a part that has an uneven oxide coating, which will result in inconsistencies similar to the above. If a part is sanded for example, it may look even before the part is anodized and dyed, but it reality there may have be areas with remaining oxide.

    Third would be due to anodizing problems such as the wrong amperage for the part size, wrong anodize time, connection failure, wrong temperature range, not enough agitation during anodizing, and etc. Parts can be burned and discolored by too high of a current level, but that is visible without dying. Having any nylon (wire ties, nylon tank, etc.) in contanct with the electrolyte is bad news, it will disolve in the sulfuric acid and create goo that gets on parts.

    You need to very careful to fully clean the part and prevent any contamination through the whole process. There is a difference between a part that wasn?t cleaned well enough before anodizing or suffers a failure in the anodizing process, and one that gets contaminated after a proper anodize coating is applied. When the failure is in the pre anodizing or anodizing stage the only remedy is usually to strip it and do it over, because the anodized coating is flawed. If by chance the part is properly anodized and then some making agent such as oil contaminates the part and thus prevents an even dye job, there is a chance it can be completely fixed. If it is visible before sealing, don?t seal the part, rather completely clean the part in warm cleaner or detergent, rinse, and try to dye again. Make sure the dye is at least stirred well, and agitate by hand if nothing else. I have found that adding a drop or two of dish soap in the dye can help.

    Sometimes a wet part looks better, and when dry flaws show up. That is most likely due to something in the anodizing process being out of whack, often to long of anodize time or too much current density. If you were to post a good clear picture, along with all of the data, it may be easier for someone to help pinpoint your problem(s).


    • #3
      M_D, good point about nylon.

      Chemical resistance charts (like on for up to 10% sulfuric acid provide the following ratings for common plastics:

      teflon A
      PVC A
      polypropoylene A
      epoxy A
      polyethylene B
      ABS B
      nylon D
      polyacetal D

      A means unaffected, D means attacked.


      • #4
        I hear you guy's using the word "agitation" a lot. What does that mean? Sorry if I ask a lot of newbie or dumb questions but I do not even have an anodzing kit yet and wan't to learn most of the stuff because right now I am pretty lost and do not know if I wan't to get one yet or not because it seems complicating to me.


        • #5
          Welcome aboard.

          Agitation is moving the electrolyte around real fast, aeration is blowing a myriad of air bubbles through the electrolyte. Both work, agitation has the advantage of producing far less acid mist.


          • #6
            Thanks a lot man, I appreciate it. I am getting a little bit better of an understanding. I am still not sure on everything though and I wan't to get an anodizing kit and everything but I don't know too much on how to dispose of stuff, if I can use a battery charger for the power source, etc so I don't know if I will get one now or not. If anyone can help me with this then that would be greatly appreciated too, I don't really wan't to get off topic on this thread so if you got any tips or info then please PM me.
            Thanks a lot in advance!


            • #7
              The best place to start is to download and read the LCD anodizing manual, located here:

              Start your own thread after reading the manual. Since its your thread, you can't be OT, it will be about what you say its about.