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Home Anodizing Set-up - TomG - 02-17-2013

I've been thinking about how nice it would be to be able to do my own anodizing, but could never justify the expense of setting it up, not to mention the space. However, I've recently taken on a job that would make it worthwhile to be able to do my own anodizing and figured out a way to keep the set-up compact. I decided to incorporate everything into an enclosed "bench" on wheels with a hinged top to cover it all up when not in use.

The equipment is fairly simple and consists of number of tanks to hold a cleaning solution, a caustic etch, a sufuric acid solution, a tank for each dye color and a sealer. In addition, there is a DC power supply, an air bubbler to agitate the tanks and several immersion heaters. The bench will also contain a fan to force any fumes from the acid solution outside through a ventilation hose.

I got busy today and designed the bench and hope to pick up the lumber during the week and get it built. It'll be bench height (34") and will be on casters to enable it to be moved around, including outside in the summer.

[Image: Anodizing%20Bench.JPG]

I ordered a bunch of 5.3 gallon rectangular polyethylene buckets to be used for the tanks. They have airtight lids to reduce evaporation between uses and measure 10 x 12 x 15, so they'll accommodate a fairly large part.

The cleaner, sealer, dyes and possibly the heaters will come from a guy by the name of Ron Newman who sells anodizing supplies and equipment online. The sulfuric acid is available as battery acid from the local NAPA dealer and the etch is just a lye solution. Initially, I'll be using a battery charger for the DC supply, but eventually I'll add a dedicated supply that will reside in the bench. Some of the tanks require agitation, so a pond aeration pump will be used to make a bubbler. The cleaner and dye tanks run at 140ºF, and the sealer at around 170ºF. These will be heated using immersion heaters in the buckets. The polyethylene buckets are marginal for the higher temp, so I'll probably weld up a stainless tank for the sealer.

I've never tried anodizing, but have been researching the process for quite a while so it'll definitely be an adventure.


RE: Home Anodizing Set-up - f350ca - 02-18-2013

Should be interesting Tom. Its something I've thought of trying but haven't got around to yet.

RE: Home Anodizing Set-up - Mayhem - 02-18-2013

I started reading a book on electroplating that I downloaded and decided that it was too complicated. However, I will be watching this with interest to see if your plan succeeds in simplifying (perhaps more accuaretely, organizing) the process. Then I will either revisit the topic or just send my parts to you Big Grin

RE: Home Anodizing Set-up - EdK - 02-18-2013

I'll be watching this with interest also. I've looked at a bunch of web sites dealing with home anodizing over the years but have never taken the plunge.


RE: Home Anodizing Set-up - TomG - 02-18-2013

It's something I've been wanting to do for quite a while as well. Sometimes you just need to jump in with both feet and hope you don't get too wet (or dyed various colors).

Darren: I've considered electroplating as well and like you, decided that it was too complex, not to mention too hazardous. Anodizing doesn't look near as involved and there is no cyanide anywhere, just acids and caustics.


RE: Home Anodizing Set-up - Highpower - 02-18-2013

(02-18-2013, 06:41 AM)EdK Wrote: I'll be watching this with interest also. I've looked at a bunch of web sites dealing with home anodizing over the years but have never taken the plunge.


Smiley-signs009 Popcorn

RE: Home Anodizing Set-up - ETC57 - 02-18-2013

Count me in, sounds like fun Tom.6820
I'm quite interested, metal treating has always interested me.

RE: Home Anodizing Set-up - TomG - 02-20-2013

I've accumulated so much stuff over the years that I'm starting to lose track of what's around. Either that or I'm just losing it period. After rummaging through the attic last night, I came up with a 0-20 volt, 25 amp DC power supply. Anodizing requires around 15 volts DC and 25 amps will be enough juice to handle about 2 square feet of aluminum, more than adequate for the 5 gallon tanks that I ordered. I knew I'd eventually get to use some of that junk!


RE: Home Anodizing Set-up - EdK - 02-20-2013

I think one could tweak the 12VDC section of a computer power supply to get that kind of juice out of it. Good to know what to look for.

Thanks Tom.


RE: Home Anodizing Set-up - stevec - 02-20-2013

Tom, don't ya just love it when you come across old inventory that fills the bill. Thumbsup

Ed, I don't think any computer I've had draws near 25 amps.
( but remeber, I'm using a Timex and a Commodore 64.) Pcwhack