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Old 10-25-2009, 05:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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So I Tried Annodizing....

I could use some advice; here is how the day went.

I figured that I would try my hand at anodizing (after reading a few articles about it, it did not seem that hard). I also had about 4 sniper's that were just tinkering/play guns for me, so I had a bunch of markers to do it on.

-I removed the old anno with a lye based oven cleaner.
-Then I immersed the gun in about a 10% (roughly) sodium hydroxide solution. This consisted of 1 gallon of distilled water and about 3 tablespoons of powder sodium hydroxide(concentration was 87.6%). I believe that this process is called etching.
-Then I rinsed the body in distilled water and put it into my anodizing apparatus. This consisted of a (roughly) 10% sulfuric acid solution, 3 gallons distilled water with 40oz of sulfuric acid.
-I then ran aluminum wire that was connected to two aluminum paddles made out of yet more wire and aluminum foil that were submersed in the solution to the negative lead of my battery charger. I attached the body with aluminum wire to the positive lead and let it sit for a little over 1/2 hour.
-The body was then rinsed in distilled water again, and let soak in a dye solution that consisted of 4 tablespoons Rit brand purple dye in 1/2 gallon distilled water for 20 min.
-Then It was rinsed again, and let boil in distilled water for 1/2 hour.

Although the anodizing process did work, there are many imperfections in my job. I feel that I should have made sure that the old anno was completely worn off before starting the process. As you can see by the following pictures, some of the old anno is still present. Also, the consistency is not that great at all. By all means, I am glad that I at least got this to work for my first try, but what could I do to make this better?

Any and all help would be appreciated.

All pics in thumbs
The Before (the body is the blue oracle clone on the bottom)


The after



The bad spots....






Once again I would love some advice.
-Thanks, Scharfshutze
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Old 10-25-2009, 05:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If you want someone to take that Orry off your hands...

But, I apologize. I can offer you nothing in the way of advice.
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Old 10-25-2009, 05:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think my only advice would be to do tester pieces rather than full bodies.
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Old 10-25-2009, 06:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I've seen far worse 1st attempts. Honestly, you did a pretty good job.

From discussions here, big things that are missed by new annodizers are TEMPERATURE control, and AMP control. That plays a big part on how well the dye sets.
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Old 10-25-2009, 07:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Alot of it is in prep work you have to make sure the parts are very clean, spray the parts with distilled water and if the water beads it is not ready to anodize. Make sure to use clean rubber gloves when wiring yor parts because the oils form your bare skin will leave blemishes. I tried using rit dye and sealing parts with boiling water but the dye bleeds too much if you can get some ano dye and sealer it works much better. Just keep testing on some unneeded small parts and you will get better at it.
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Old 10-26-2009, 12:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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now throw it in the oven at about 500 degrees for 30 minutes, and see what you get
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Old 10-26-2009, 01:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Oven cleaner can be a little strong. Since Sodium Hydroxide and Lye are the same thing, your solution #2 (the "etch") would be another stripping bath and probably a better one than the first because it won't attack the metal as much.

I think the main problem was improper cleaning. When you strip ano the parts will normally have a grayish tint to them. They should be cleaned / polished before anything else.
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
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For my first couple times, I've had fair success by stripping the old ano and then taking my time (different days) with cleaning and polishing before going for etch/ano/dye/seal.

For stripping and etching I used the plain lye solution (different batches - etch is for clean parts). It's great to find the drain cleaner that says "100% LYE"...no doubts there about what you're using. The lye solution (mine was about a tbsp per 2 cups of water) action varies with temperature and the ano being stripped. I used an old toothbrush and brushed (away from me) the 'smut' off and re-dipped until it was clean. I had my parts on a nylon string at the time, dragging and dipping.

Ano is the fun part. Metal prep is a pain without a full set of polishing machines.

If your aluminum was smooth to start for ano and you have some 'matte' patches after dyeing and sealing, some wet 0000 steel wool (under cool running water) or equivalent scrub pad will smooth it out.
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:36 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I think for your 1st time, that came out pretty good. I've seen far worse. keep it up!
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Old 10-26-2009, 05:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the great, quick advice. I am very interested in trying to polish the parts a bit before they hit the tank for the next time. But what kind of polishing are we talking here? What should i do to polish the parts?

Also, I read that the temp and amp control helps alot. However, I do not have a way to control the temperature. My battery charger does have adjustable amperage output, but I can't really think of a safe way to heat the tank. What do you guys use for temperature control?

-Thanks, Scharfshutze
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