Author Topic: Home Anodizing Bench  (Read 24355 times)

Offline TLGriff

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Home Anodizing Bench
« on: October 01, 2013, 01:47:53 PM »
A few months ago I decided that I've had enough of bare aluminum parts. I knew that anodizing wasn't that complicated, but the problem is that it's only used occasionally and when it's not being used, what the heck do you do with the stuff? So I devised an anodizing set-up that is ready at a moments notice (well, within the hour) and can be converted to a bench when not in use.





The key to getting the set-up compact enough is the use of rectangular 5.3 gallon buckets. At 10"x12"x15", they allow good capacity, but pack tightly so I was able to get ten of them inside the bench. That is enough to do clear and five different colors. They also have snap on lids that are hinged, so they can be closed up tightly when not in use. Once I had the buckets specked out, I proceeded to design a bench around it. The bench is basically a Melamine lined tub, with a shelf underneath for the power supply, controller and air supply, and a heavy duty hinged top with gas spring assist. The top is 34" off the floor, so it should make a good assembly area when not being used for anodizing.



Anodizing requires around 15VDC and up to 25A for a five gallon tank. I had an old DC supply on hand so that's what I used for power. I still had to build a controller to measure and control the temperatures of the various processes and that proved to be the biggest challenge of the project. I'm pretty good at machining and woodworking, but basically suck in electronics. I know just enough to get myself in trouble, but not really enough to get myself out. It did turn out pretty well, but not without issue and I think I actually learned some stuff solving the issues which is a good thing.



There are three different temperatures required in anodizing. The anodizing tank itself must be kept between 70F and 75F. Most of the time, room temp is close enough so I made provisions to control it, but haven't had to heat or cool it yet. The dye tanks operate at 140F, so they require a heating coil. I found some nice SS ones on ebay that are 2000W at 220VAC. The sealer tank operates at 170F. That's a bit marginal for the polyethylene tanks, but I reinforced the sides and it seems to be working well so far. I may eventually go to a SS tank instead.



The immersion heaters are controlled by solid state relays which in turn are controlled bu a PID process controller and a thermocouple. The anodizing tank and the sealer tanks have their own controller, but I slaved the other tanks together to a single controller since they all operate at the same temperature. The concept is a bit "out there", but it seems to be working well.



The controller circuitry is enclosed in an aluminum box and includes all of the relays, process controllers, and dye tank selector switches (I only turn on the colors I'm using to keep from drawing too much current from the 2000W heaters). It also contains a fan and heat sinks for the relays, a power switch, a 110VAC outlet for the air pump and power supply and terminal blocks for the massive bundle of wiring.





Most of the processes require agitation so I made air manifolds out of CPVC that set in the bottom of the tanks and used a pond aeration pump to provide the bubbles. Each tank has a valve so I can balance the system or shut off tanks I'm not using.





The cleaner, dyes, desmutting solution, and sealer came from U.S.Specialty Color Corporation, the battery acid from NAPA, the caustic etch (lye) from an online place called Essential Depot and the distilled water and soda (battery acid neutralizer) came form Home Depot and Sam's Club.



When I want to anodize something it takes about 45 minutes to get the system heated up and stabilized. Then the process itself, cleaning, etching, desmutting if necessary, anodizing, dyeing if necessary and sealing takes about another hour and a half. So far, everything I've anodized has turned out flawless, so it must be a pretty simple process if I can handle it.

Here's a device that I built for work that I anodized clear and black.



So that's about it. The system probably could have been simpler, but then it wouldn't have been as much fun. About all that's left to do is make a removable  trim panel to fill in between the tanks and build a cooling system for the anodizing tank for those hot summer day anodizing sessions. I also need to eliminate the SS hardware in the anodizing tank because the battery acid is consuming it and growing some amazing crystal. I think titanium or aluminum hardware will work much better.

Questions? Concerns? Laughter?

Tom






« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 05:11:59 PM by TLGriff »

Offline mattinker

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2013, 02:17:19 PM »
Top,

very interesting, good to see the results! Anodising is something I've got in the back of my mind.

Regards, Matthew

Offline Sid_Vicious

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 02:21:13 PM »
That setup looked really impressive and the result on the thing you built for the office came out nice.
Nothing is impossible, it just take more time to figure out.

Offline dsquire

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2013, 02:44:03 PM »
Tom

That's kind of thinking outside inside the box but it looks like it should work real good.

I think for anyone with a limited amount of space that this would be the ideal answer if they wished to do anodizing in their shop. Kind of a have your cake and eat it too thing.  :D :D

Cheers  :beer:

Don
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Offline tom osselton

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2013, 03:31:07 PM »
Another one to put on the list thanks for showing!

Offline TLGriff

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2013, 03:35:27 PM »
Thanks guys.

I just noticed that the last pic is not current. I'll see if I can get a more recent photo of the bench with its finished top.

Tom

Offline NeoTech

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2013, 04:30:50 PM »
So far, everything I've anodized has turned out flawless, so it must be a pretty simple process if I can handle it.

Or you have just some  :proj:

And this effin rocks..  :mmr:
Machinery: Optimum D320x920, Optimum BF20L, Aciera F3. -- I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. http://www.roughedge.se/blogg/

Offline sparky961

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2013, 05:59:22 PM »
I was thoroughly impressed.  Especially by your finished product.  It does seem like quite a bit of work for just the occasional part though - do you have plans do go larger scale and maybe do stuff for others?  Or maybe you do enough yourself to justify it?

Offline TLGriff

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2013, 06:04:53 PM »
I was thoroughly impressed.  Especially by your finished product.  It does seem like quite a bit of work for just the occasional part though - do you have plans do go larger scale and maybe do stuff for others?  Or maybe you do enough yourself to justify it?

Oh, we are justifying projects now?   :bugeye:

I actually built it for a product I'm developing but even so, I do make enough stuff to justify the effort.

Thanks,

Tom

Offline AussieJimG

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2013, 06:06:01 PM »
A thoroughly professional job. Very impressive.

Jim

Offline TLGriff

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2013, 06:06:49 PM »
Thanks Jim.

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2013, 09:26:00 PM »
Like your videos too, very professional.
Picked up a few tricks to try out later.

Offline TLGriff

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2013, 09:42:54 PM »
Thanks Geoff, glad you liked them.

Tom

Offline Brass_Machine

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2013, 11:21:43 PM »
Nice job Tom,

I am thinking of doing a smaller version of that now. OFC, as soon as I learn a bit more about anodizing.

Eric
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Offline TLGriff

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2013, 12:24:57 AM »
Thanks Eric.

You should grab a copy of Ron Newman's book from focuser.com. There is a ton of good information in it.

Tom

Offline NeoTech

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2013, 02:43:22 AM »
Oh.. its that Tom.. *been following that channel for a while now* =)
Machinery: Optimum D320x920, Optimum BF20L, Aciera F3. -- I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. http://www.roughedge.se/blogg/

Offline TLGriff

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2013, 08:20:14 AM »
Come on now, there can't be that many Tom's on the internet. Can there?

Offline NeoTech

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2013, 10:36:10 AM »
Its not that uncommon name..  :poke:

Question, why not make the bench out of alu or steel angle ?? that wooden construction must weigh a crapton..
Machinery: Optimum D320x920, Optimum BF20L, Aciera F3. -- I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. http://www.roughedge.se/blogg/

Offline TLGriff

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2013, 10:53:30 AM »
It's holding 450 pounds of water so saving weight on the structure wasn't high on my list of priorities. It's also on wheels so it's easily moved.

Tom

Offline Bishop

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2014, 11:24:29 AM »
I love that setup Tom, but I do think you need to re-assess your electronics ability... It would seem to me that you have a pretty good handle on things. Me on the other hand  :zap:

I was planning to give anodizing a try but couldn't find the room to setup the tanks etc and decided to buy a powder coating gun and toaster oven instead, still waiting on the mail for the gun and powder I ordered.

Shawn

Offline TLGriff

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2014, 12:26:21 PM »
Thanks Shawn.

I managed to stumble through it, but it took quite a while and required some serious troubleshooting to make it work. Electronics just doesn't come easy to me.  :doh:

Tom

Offline Fredbare

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2014, 04:47:52 PM »
Excellent setup Tom, thanks for sharing.

John

Offline TLGriff

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2014, 04:55:21 PM »
Thanks John.

Offline Doc

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2014, 08:28:18 PM »
 :jaw: WOW that is a nice set up it looks super  :thumbup: :thumbup:
George

Offline TLGriff

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2014, 08:31:56 PM »
Thanks George.

Now I just need to make more stuff so I can get some use out of it.

Tom

Offline Brass_Machine

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2014, 09:46:25 PM »
Thanks Eric.

You should grab a copy of Ron Newman's book from focuser.com. There is a ton of good information in it.

Tom

I have been meaning to order his PDf... This thread coming up again reminded me to go over there. Alas, looks like he isn't selling it anymore.

Eric
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Offline TLGriff

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2014, 10:41:52 PM »
Eric,

I think if you do a Google search for "anodizing guide newman", the third hit down should get your attention.

Tom

Offline Dawai

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2014, 06:32:13 AM »
Chrome plating is just different chemicals.
Silver plating, very good videos on youtube..

I love the bench-plater.. (I don't have room to copy) I always had open 5 gallon buckets I had to "set up each time" i used them.

Alkaline Drain cleaner (sodium hydroxide LYE)  makes a good etchant. Some are sulphuric based and make the electrolyte.. (cheap and can purchase in the middle of the night at wal mart)
I Hung a 24 foot Ibeam this morning in the ceiling by myself, programmed a Arduino this afternoon for a solar project, Helped a buddy out with a electrical motor connection issue on the phone, then cut up a chicken for Hotwings. I'd say it has been a "blessed day" for myself and all those around me.

Offline TLGriff

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2014, 10:04:49 AM »
My lack of room was why I designed the bench, it just replaces a bench I already had. It's nice to have in the middle of the shop to lay out projects and work off of.

Sodium hydroxide and sulphuric acid are indeed the easiest chemicals to get. Lye is a common ingredient in soap making and the acis is just battery acid from the local NAPA. The dyes, de-smutting solution and sealer are the only part you can't skimp on and those came from an anodizing supply.

A nickel plating set-up is next on my list for the ferrous projects.

Tom

Offline Dawai

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2014, 09:24:39 AM »
I have room for a barber chair, it gives lovely naps while the cnc is running, not room for a bench.. I do have a roll around gang box.. but it is full of tools.  That would be a excellent start.. a old gang box purchased at auction.. My gang box is also a great layout table.. too.

Liquid RIT clothing dye works.. It all does sun-fade thou..

You can shoot automotive clear coat over it, seal it, and it has UV protection in the clear. THE motorcycle parts I did got "chalky before I started going through this step.

HOW are you sealing? boiling in water, or got a sealer step??

I Learned, the anodic layer builds up like a group of "straws" standing on end, the dye sights is like fabric, you load the dye into the dye sights, then must close in the ends over the dye.

I did a tattoo coil winder, anodized it, the owner set it into his show window cause it was so pretty.. and the sunlight faded it to near stock aluminum color.. A set of blue-prints did the same thing on my service truck dashboard on a job in the 70s.. me being a newbie, thought someone was playing a trick, disappearing prints??
I Hung a 24 foot Ibeam this morning in the ceiling by myself, programmed a Arduino this afternoon for a solar project, Helped a buddy out with a electrical motor connection issue on the phone, then cut up a chicken for Hotwings. I'd say it has been a "blessed day" for myself and all those around me.

Offline TLGriff

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2014, 09:40:26 AM »
The commercial dyes have a much smaller particle size than fabric dyes. That means more can fit in the pores of the anodizing, resulting in a more intense color. They also hold their color better in sunlight than fabric dyes.

I use a commercial nickel acetate solution for sealing.

Tom

Offline Jonny

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #31 on: January 28, 2014, 11:09:43 AM »
Having a lot of trouble again with pro anodisers, inviciles., If want something doing right, do it yourself.

Pretty much gave up anodising in 2005, really hit and miss after a lot of trial and error. Lucky nowadays, it was hush hush even back in 2002 with about three sources of info, they all told porkies nothing worked.

Quite right on the dye, tried everything I could get my hands on eventually going to Midland Dykem in Leicester for the pro stuff using a fish tank heater/thermometer.
Never tried the pharmaceutical dyes.

Just used a 4ft x deep 18" high fish tank and a small 12", back lined with lead. Could even do hard anodising in the winter!
Because I have a lot less room than you Tom it was permanently setup other side of partition. Son must have knocked the tank early 2006 gallons of sulphuric 19% flowed out, rotted the doors in a few weeks even after hose pipe jobby.

Got the same black PSU when my twin output digi went down.

Main problem was electrical breakdown, wire wouldn't have it so used aluminium wedges filed up for each use. Ti never tried.

Nine years on even less room

Offline Jonny

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #32 on: February 07, 2014, 08:41:47 AM »
Going to have to give this another go again Tom the anodisers have done me over twice since last post.
Yesterday 50 mile round trip 4 hrs lost/wasted to pick up 10 high value parts, got 7 back and was needed for a show today with implications from distributors.

Trouble is I have no room, its finding some where to put my coffee down.

A few things are going to have to go.

Offline TLGriff

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #33 on: February 07, 2014, 09:04:01 AM »
We have the same problems with the "pro" anodizers around here. Dowel holes out of spec., lost parts, mismatched colors. I got a batch of parts back last month that were three shades of blue, had to mix and match to pair them up. You are right, the only way to get it done right is to do it yourself.

Tom

Offline johnnyboy

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2014, 07:35:26 AM »
Really excellent! thanks for showing me that...
There is always a right way and a wrong way to do something. Make it easy and find the right way..

Offline j_hobbyist

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #35 on: April 20, 2014, 09:01:48 PM »
Tom,

Great idea.  I like the basic overview and the video of how you use the table, it's inspirational. 

Can you please post more pictures of how the wiring in the box that contains the PIDs and the SSRs is connected?  Maybe a wiring diagram or schematic?

Thank you

Offline TLGriff

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #36 on: April 20, 2014, 09:29:06 PM »
Thanks.

I would be glad to post some pics of the inside, but would rather not publish a schematic. I'm a machinist, not an E.E., and since there are lethal voltages inside, I'll provide a description of what I did, but leave the wiring up to you. Basically, the SSR's are in series with the resistance heaters in the tanks and are switched by 110V through the PID's. The selector switches are also on the "coil" side so I can select only the heaters I need to use for the dyes. The sealer tank has its own PID and because it's used all the time, there is no selector switch. There is also a 110V outlet on the back for the air pump and the power supply and the whole shebang is turned on with a switch on the front panel. There is a lot more detail in the original build thread over on Metalworking Fun. You can check it out here.

Tom

Offline Allen16323

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #37 on: February 10, 2017, 05:38:28 PM »
Can we get a link to the heating elements?  Can't find some fitting  bill

Offline TLGriff

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #38 on: February 10, 2017, 05:55:44 PM »
I'm  pretty sure that would be ebay.com. Not sure if they are still there or not.

Tom

Offline Allen16323

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #39 on: February 10, 2017, 07:18:14 PM »
Finding them but all of them aren't raw ends, they all have a flange or socket socket of socket of some sort.

Offline Biggles

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #40 on: February 11, 2017, 05:52:56 AM »
Good job and another on the back burner.  :nrocks:

Offline Aaronpifow

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Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #41 on: September 09, 2017, 09:41:57 PM »
Anodizing is a plating like chrome with a different choice of color and texture. Powder coating is a less permanent solution as it can be remove like paint. Either way choose a good pro to perform  the work. You can do you own powdercoat yourself with varying result.

Offline awemawson

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #42 on: September 10, 2017, 03:10:15 AM »
Anodizing is not plating. You are forming an oxide layer on the aluminium surface and the coloring dyes get locked into the matrix of the oxide molecules
Andrew Mawson
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Offline Biggles

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Re: Home Anodizing Bench
« Reply #43 on: September 13, 2017, 11:56:36 PM »
Thats correct Andrew the oxide makes like a honey comb layer and the die goes into this matrix which forms a hard coloured oxide layer on top of the metal part. :coffee: