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[HOW TO GUIDE] Aluminium Anodising

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Not sure if there is already a topic on this, but I'll make this anyway.

I tried my hand at anodising an aluminium heatsink, And it turned out pretty good, so I thought I'd share with you folks.

Stuff needed:.
A DC powersupply, with constant current controle.
Crocodile cables
aluminium wire
Lead or aluminium plates (cathods) atleast twice the surface area of the part been anodised.
Chemical / acid resistant plastic containers for anodising in the part in. Big enough the part wont touch anything else. Also one for bathing the part in.
10% or 15% solution of sulphuric acid (diluted battery acid(its usaly 25%) ) 10% if you want a hard anodising, 15% for a soft. I did 12.5% smile.gif
Deionised water
Sodium hydroxide Solution (Lye / drain cleaner)
An anodising dye or some dyes you can experiment with. (if having coloured anodising)
some sort of cleaning agen / degreaser / soap
Metal saucepan and heat source (stove)

First you need to remove any previous anodisng on your part by leaving it in a bath of sodium hydroxide for a couple of minuits, (upto 30 mins, if the part is already colour anodised, till there is no colour left). If your anodising somthing that Isnt colour, if its somthing like a heatsink, or somthing premade in a factory, chances are it will have a clear anodising layer. If its somthing you have made yourself with clean aluminium, you dont have to do this step. (Wash the part in water after this step. Don't get the sodium hydroxide on you, its very caustic)

Next you need to degrease the part and maybe even polish it up or sand it a little. After this stage its its best if you dont touch the part again with your fingers, or set it down on any dirty or dusty surfaces.

After you have done with the cleaning its time to get started. you need to find some place where you can wrap aluminium wire around the part that you dont see, but make sure its a very good fit as anodosing the part will make it none electricaly conductive and break the connection between the part and the aluminium wire. Failing to anodise fully.

The end of the aluminium wire should be conencted to the positive end of your power supply (anode - where it gets the name from) and suspended in a container full of sulphuric acid solution, with a lead or aluminium place (prefrably lead, with one at ether end) making sure the part dosn't touch anything. Hook up the lead or aluminium plates to the negative end of the powersupply and turn on the power. Depending on the size of the part (a CPU headsink would probly want about 5amp or so at 12v) Leave the part between 45 mins to 2 hours depending how hard you want the coating.

After its anodised, clean off in cold deionised water then put in dye. between 10 seconds and a few minuits, depending on how strong you want the colour. Taking the part out to check when ever you like. (if you want a clear coat skip this step) If the part dosnt take the colour much, then the dye wont work or it wasnt making a good enough contact with the aluminium wire and dint fully anoside.

Finaly, submerg the part in boiling hot DI water for 30 mins to seal the anaodise layer ( you can also get some industrial sealers) you may loose alittle colour at this point.

If you want a few parts to be the same colour, its best doing them in the same bath at the same time. then in the dye at the same time.

Heres some pictures biggrin.gif

Removing the previous anodised layer:







The part still had the printed name on it. I had to sand it off then give it a few more mins to remove the anodise under the paint.

Submerging the part in the acid bath:



After the part is done, it should have a milky / matt look to it

Ready for dyeing:





And we are done smile.gif

Sanded off the anodised layer in the center and polished the bare metal



And there we go, one nicely anodised part for a old MB that dosnt get used biggrin.gif


Hope this helps for any one looking to do this themselves smile.gif
You can only anodise Aluminium
Titanium can be anondised but not with a dye, the Metal its self changed colour.
Steel can't techniacly be anodised, but it can be electroplated plated with other metals, that is very simular to this. Gunmetal is actualy a type of steel anodising.
Brass and copper cant be anodised, but can be plated.
Edited by Shiinsuh - 7/27/12 at 4:57pm
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post #2 of 5
Wow, very informative guide, will definitely put this in my favorites if i someday want to anodize something. I've always thought anodizing was a very complex method to color aluminum, but this made it look so simple. +rep for the nice guide. biggrin.gif
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlbertMwugabi View Post

Wow, very informative guide, will definitely put this in my favorites if i someday want to anodize something. I've always thought anodizing was a very complex method to color aluminum, but this made it look so simple. +rep for the nice guide. biggrin.gif

Thanks alot. Im glad you liked the little tutorial, and hope it helps if you ever try it your self smile.gif.
The only part that I found hard was getting a dye to work. In the end I just went with an actual anodising dye. But many people have found food colouring and clothes dyes to work perfectly well smile.gif I just couldn't be bothered to experiment when I could bye the real thing for as much as it would cost to experiment XP.
The proces its self is very simple, and the equipment needed its pretty stright forward. even the powersupply isnt hard to get hold of, a car battery charger would work fine and even a PC PSU works fine too smile.gif
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post #4 of 5
is it possible to anodise these heatsinks to white?

http://tweakers.net/productreview/115109/msi-x99a-godlike-gaming.html

would it be wise. I could let a professional shop do it i don't mind it to cost abit.
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post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by jllerk View Post

is it possible to anodise these heatsinks to white?

http://tweakers.net/productreview/115109/msi-x99a-godlike-gaming.html

would it be wise. I could let a professional shop do it i don't mind it to cost abit.

From what I understand (I asked the same question) anodizing white is not possible.

http://www.bluebuddhaboutique.com/blog/2011/09/no-white-anodized-aluminum/
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