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Colored anodizing.

522 Views 8 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  The Ring-In
I like the red anodize on my red wheels, so I was curious about the process.

I understand that the real process is to grow the anodize crystals on the surface of the aluminum with acid and an electric charge, then basically color the crystals with permanent dye.

SO...much of a TL is clear anodized. Is there enough of a crystal layer on say, the frame, subframe, disc carrier, etc. to just dye it a color like red or black or gold etc.
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Its an anodic ( as in anode ) process.

generally its done with sulphurice acid and an electrical current.

battery acid diluted with water 50/50 is the correct consistency.

you need a variable current source and a voltage of 12v nominal.

so a big battery charger and a variac is what I have used.

the item is connected to the positive lead ( anode ) and a series of negative plates circle the item to ensure an even current transfer.

google home anodising to find the current per Sq in. .

but almost any current will work eventually tho the correct current will see it done in 15-30 minutes.

the ali must be cleaned spotless using caustic solution.

depending on the actual ali it may need desmutting with another chemical and

rinsed spotless with pure water.

the ali will trun a slight yeloow colour when the anodising has taken place.

at this time you have an anodised item with open pores.

now you can colour it using a number of dyes.

clothing dye works well

inkjet ink works well

you can buy special purpose dyes from on-line suppliers.

soak the ali in the dye till it takes the colour.

place in boiling water to set it.

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BTW you could grind off the buttons on your disks

anodise the carriers

and send the lot to speedking for grinding and rebuttoning

he has coloured buttons too

the higher quality shine you get on the item the brighter the finished product.

all previous anodising must be removed in a caustic dip.

just soak it till its covered in black scum then remove it with a nail brush
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Yes, someone on-list had a DIY write up too. So the question: if frame and swingarm and subframe are already anodized but not dyed, can I just color them with dye, or have they been sealed? It sure seems like a decently consistent anodize layer, and might take dye, but I'd need to test it on a cracked frame or something like that.
Probably wouldn't work if they sealed it. They describe the whole process for re-anodizing previously anodized parts.

Interesting they use Red Devil lye drain opener as the caustic soda. I usually use original-formula E-Z-Off oven cleaner, but next time I'm removing anodize I'll try the drain opener instead.

It also says that cast aluminum parts often use alloys with a lot of silicone, and are generally the hardest to anodize. So it might be easier to polish then use a clear candy colored powder coat if I ever want a red colored frame & subframe etc.
Seems like an interesting business. Cheaper materials costs than plating. No big ovens etc. like for powder coating.
Thanks for the links!
Good luck with that .

I've played with a few small items and the clutch bolt retainers on shihans motor I made from ali and anodised red with ink.

hardware stores sell 1lb bottles of pure caustic soda. ( cheaper too )( the paint section is a good start )

some drain cleaners have other additives too.

get a bottle of descaler crystals too. ( sulfamic acid ) ( clr commercial name ) cleans up rust !

I reckon you could make a nice little side earner out of exchange swingarm pivots and axle blocks etc. ( top triples even!)
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