How to Anodize Aluminum at home
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Joined: May 22, 2012
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How to Anodize Aluminum at home
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Posted on Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:13 am
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Hey all! I've put together a fairly thorough how-to guide to home anodizing with supplies you can get from Walmart and NAPA. I'd like to submit it as a new article, but the link for submission is broken. Thought I'd go ahead and just post it here, and if anyone wants to make it an article, cool. If not, people can search for it using the forum search.

If this helps even one person, it was worth it. PM or email me if you have any questions!

https://docs.google.com/document/d/19PDMNwrSh6un57XYcc5ciMr3-5WS-h5Q4gaXr0i6sSw/edit

Joined: December 22, 2007
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Posted on Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:31 am
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If you could hold onto it for a little while longer:
http://www.mailleartisans.org/board/viewtopic.php?t=16856

Thanks!


"I am a leaf on the wind." ~ Wash
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Joined: August 30, 2008
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Posted on Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:47 am
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Couple of caveats from your friendly local theatre electrician.

1. The pictures in this article-to-be shows current being run through bare external conductors using large alligator clips.
Bare in mind: This, while not anywhere near as much amperage as a deep cycle marine charger would be, is still live electricity... DO NOT TOUCH THIS.

2. The biggest asterisk: When she says buy a charger, NOT A JUMPER, this is like 10 billion times important... The amperage on a jumper will ruin the process... And it can and will kill you.


Remember: Anodizing is always dangerous, due to the mixture of electricity and liquid... Aluminium is doubly so, as you're working with battery acid as well. (Titanium and Niobium, while higher voltage, use a fairly harmless anodizing solution)


Notes:

If this were my setup, the electrical conductors would be covered until they were submerged... But I work with electricity for a living, and having shocked myself many many times (once or twice across the chest), I'm just beyond paranoid these days.

As with any semi-dangerous setup, make sure you are working in a clean workspace with no distractions AND ADEQUATE VENTILATION... Most accidents are 100% preventable.


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Joined: May 07, 2008
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Posted on Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:51 pm
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In my opinion it doesn't matter much, whether you anodize Aluminium with comparably low voltages but high ampèrage, or Niob/Titan with the typical high voltages and comparably low Ampère numbers - both are potentially dangerous.

So for me the most important safety measure that can be taken, is to cover the cathode, completely and touch-safe. For example my anodizing setup (for Nb/Ti) has the cathode sewn in a sturdy thick Dacron fabric bag, and I have additionally a plastic strainer as separation between cathode and the anodizing bath zone, where my stuff is dunked. The other measures (rubber gloves, shoes with rubber soles, avoidance of potential ground contacts) should NOT be omitted, nevertheless.

With electricity, the 'belt and suspender' priciple is never wrong - this is told by someone, who had (like DL) already his fair share of contacts...

-ZiLi-


Maille Code V2.0 T7.1 R5.6 Ep Fper MAl Ws$ Cpbsw$ G0.3-6.4 I1.0-30.0 N28.25 Ps Dacdejst Xagtw S08 Hip

Human societies are like chain mail.
A single link will be worth nothing.
A chain is of use, but will break at the weakest link.
A weak weave will have the need to replace weak links.
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Joined: May 22, 2012
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Posted on Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:44 pm
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My personal rule is, if I'm going out to the patio to either start or stop a batch, I am wearing pants, rubber soled shoes, tshirt, rubber gloves, and safety goggles. The only reason that prevents me from taping down the length of the wire for safety reasons is that, it is aluminum wire, and if acid splashes on it, which it often does, the wire itself anodizes and is no longer conductive. I have to replace it fairly often.

Joined: May 07, 2008
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Posted on Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:52 pm
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Sorry I do explicitly NOT talk about the anode, where the coils are hung from. I simply told about the increased safety, if the CATHODE is made completely touch-safe. No more shorts, and less risk of a closed circuit via body...

-ZiLi-


Maille Code V2.0 T7.1 R5.6 Ep Fper MAl Ws$ Cpbsw$ G0.3-6.4 I1.0-30.0 N28.25 Ps Dacdejst Xagtw S08 Hip

Human societies are like chain mail.
A single link will be worth nothing.
A chain is of use, but will break at the weakest link.
A weak weave will have the need to replace weak links.
A strong weave will survive even with weak links included.
-'me

Joined: August 30, 2008
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Location: Burlington, ON, Canada

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Posted on Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:36 pm
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At the end of the day (this post being added because of enough loud protests from Cynake)...

12v probably won't kill you. But that's a big probably.

My general rule, especially when advising others, and liability is involved... Is the reminder: Everything is safe, right up until it isn't.

Be careful, and make it as safe as you can and you'll be good to go Smile


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Posted on Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:01 am
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Do you guys suppose this setup would work with pre-cut rings, or is it only to be done with coils?

Joined: December 22, 2007
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Posted on Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:14 am
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Me? I don't like acids and the disposing of... At least Nio and Ti only need fairly harmless electrolyte solutions to anodize. Just sayin'. Very Happy


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Posted on Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:51 am
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~Mical~ wrote:
Do you guys suppose this setup would work with pre-cut rings, or is it only to be done with coils?


Rings are very hard to anodize... TRL's anodizer used a "top secret" procedure to do so (Cynake and I talked through it one night, we think we've figured it out, but it's unfeasible on the small scale)

This method only works with things that can be 'racked' IE: Coils, metal plates, machine parts, etc.

If you were to, say, string rings on an aluminium wire, and anodize them... There would be "touch marks" or un-anodized spots where they touched the wire, and the aluminium-oxide honeycomb is crushed. Or something to that effect.

lorraine wrote:
Me? I don't like acids and the disposing of... At least Nio and Ti only need fairly harmless electrolyte solutions to anodize. Just sayin'. Very Happy


Just up to 120v Wink
There's no such thing as "Harmless" when it comes to running electricity through liquid Razz Bad lorraine!


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Posted on Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:57 am
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Daemon_Lotos wrote:
Just up to 120v Wink
There's no such thing as "Harmless" when it comes to running electricity through liquid Razz Bad lorraine!

Wait... the solution is just "Not TSP" and water... how is that not harmless?


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Posted on Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:59 am
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lorraine wrote:
Daemon_Lotos wrote:
Just up to 120v Wink
There's no such thing as "Harmless" when it comes to running electricity through liquid Razz Bad lorraine!

Wait... the solution is just "Not TSP" and water... how is that not harmless?


Run some electricity through it and stick your hand in it... You tell me Wink


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Posted on Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:22 am
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Daemon_Lotos wrote:
lorraine wrote:
Daemon_Lotos wrote:
Just up to 120v Wink
There's no such thing as "Harmless" when it comes to running electricity through liquid Razz Bad lorraine!

Wait... the solution is just "Not TSP" and water... how is that not harmless?


Run some electricity through it and stick your hand in it... You tell me Wink

Okay smartypants! I can stick my hands in it when it's NOT "turned on". I don't have to worry about the kitty cats knocking it over. It doesn't burn a hole through the floor when it gets knocked over... I would rather NOT deal with battery acid in the house. DEAL WITH THAT! Razz


"I am a leaf on the wind." ~ Wash
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Joined: May 07, 2008
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Posted on Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:47 am
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I decided for myself, to stay with Niob/Titan, and let others do the AA stuff. Besides the fact that it's simply not economic, if one doesn't also sell at least larger parts of the produced material, to have larger batch sizes that make sense, it's just too messy dealing with the dyes - about the acids alone I would not even worry much. To get things in perspective: This is told you by someone, who (as lab assistant AND electro technician) IS well enough educated and experienced to work safely with that stuff - safe for the person(s) involved as well as the environment...

-ZiLi-


Maille Code V2.0 T7.1 R5.6 Ep Fper MAl Ws$ Cpbsw$ G0.3-6.4 I1.0-30.0 N28.25 Ps Dacdejst Xagtw S08 Hip

Human societies are like chain mail.
A single link will be worth nothing.
A chain is of use, but will break at the weakest link.
A weak weave will have the need to replace weak links.
A strong weave will survive even with weak links included.
-'me

Joined: November 04, 2007
Posts: 71
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Location: bedford, tx

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Posted on Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:25 pm
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One question, when anodizing aluminium at home, like mewpal is doing, just how badly does this smell? I have to ask since I do not have a sense of smell so I have no idea of what the stink factor would be. I live in an apt. so my biggest concern is about how badly it might bother my neighbors if i do this out on my balcony, or out on my patio.


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