Home Brew coating for small aluminum parts?
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    Default Home Brew coating for small aluminum parts?

    What are the options you folks use to put a protective finish on small aluminum (6061) parts. Looking for a process not requiring special equipment if possible. Something possibly like a dipping process that adds protection and possibly color?

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zip View Post
    What are the options you folks use to put a protective finish on small aluminum (6061) parts. Looking for a process not requiring special equipment if possible. Something possibly like a dipping process that adds protection and possibly color?

    Thanks
    One thought might be scotch brite, acid etch, rinse with water, then soak in alodine for 5 minutes, rinse. You’ll get a light gold color. 6061 doesn’t take it as well as other alloys though.

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    Thanks guys...checked the link ....the anodizing process isn't cheap to get started. I wasn't familiar with "alodine" but like what I have learned about it. I assume it can be re-used?

    Also what product is used for acid etching...haven't found anything specific so far.

    Thnaks

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    Define "protective". I tested some 6061 parts I make with a gold chromate finish and found it scratches easily, IMO. Brought back memories of some 6061 parts we had to clear chromate many years ago and I hated inspecting the parts after finishing, plug gages wanted to gaul when checking holes. Chromate is too soft to be much good, again IMO.

    This is something I have gone over a lot and have concluded to anodize, preferably type III, or nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zip View Post
    Thanks guys...checked the link ....the anodizing process isn't cheap to get started. I wasn't familiar with "alodine" but like what I have learned about it. I assume it can be re-used?

    Also what product is used for acid etching...haven't found anything specific so far.

    Thnaks
    Yes, you can use the same alodine dip many times.

    Here’s a link to an acid etch product I’m familiar with. There’s sure to be others:

    BONDERITE C-IC 33 AERO (FORMERLY ALUMIPREP 33) | Aircraft Spruce

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zip View Post
    Thanks guys...checked the link ....the anodizing process isn't cheap to get started. I wasn't familiar with "alodine" but like what I have learned about it. I assume it can be re-used?

    Also what product is used for acid etching...haven't found anything specific so far.

    Thnaks
    Ignore the price of those kits. Look on YouTube for DIY anodizing. You can do it very cheaply. All you need is a battery charger, acid, and dye IIRC.

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    I hope in my lifetime to see the rise of a new aluminum that is just like the aluminum of today except it's not so gummy, doesn't corrode, and is available in a variety of colors that are throughout the metal, not just a top coat. And for not a penny more than now. It may just be that this is already in the works, and is the independent source of income Meghan and 'arry are planning on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by APD View Post
    Ignore the price of those kits. Look on YouTube for DIY anodizing. You can do it very cheaply. All you need is a battery charger, acid, and dye IIRC.
    Yup. Binderdundat. Used a 12v car battery and large adjustable resistor in the beginning and later got a cheap power supply.

    You can get very good results at home.

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    After reading another thread I have been looking at "fluid bed powder coating". Depending on the size of your parts, this might work for you. Just google the quoted words above. Seems pretty cheap to set up. I am thinking about making one with 4" or 6" PVC to handle larger parts I prototype.

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    It's not as good as anodizing IMO, but there are a couple paints we use for prototypes when there isn't time to go out to for anodizing.

    Cerakote is probably the best, but is a two part mix and pickier on application. Cerakote Coatings: Finishes

    Gunkote is maybe not as durable, but is only one part and more forgiving. It's thin too, maybe .001. https://shop.kgcoatings.com/kg/

    Both of those need a paint gun and oven. If you want to go even less setup, Brownells Aluma-Hyde II comes in a rattle can.

    All that said, all our production parts go out for anodizing. I did try the home brew method with a battery charger and sulfuric acid a while back, it would work about one out of three tries.

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    For intermittent use for protection and if you're not so worried about aesthetics, definitely go with alodining. No one seems to run anodizing as a side project successfully for any length of time. It seems like more of a thing you try once and then decide it's not worth it and go back to sending stuff out. By contrast, my old university physics shop had a couple of big garbage pails with alodining fluid in them and they lasted for years, didn't produce fumes, didn't require power and didn't seem to degrade. Likewise we have run a small in-house powder coating setup for the last 12 years with great success, but that is quite a different thing for different applications than alodining.

    NB We actually also have a fluidized bed coater. The reason we have one is that fifteen years ago, Dan Gelbart was messing around with them and thought they were a great thing, so I built one too, in around 2007. I actually built one because by then, Nordson, who made Gelbart's, and ceased production of small fluidizing boxes. But it turns out that regular powder coating, if you have a decent gun, is much easier and better almost all the time. Fluidizing with a nylon coating does give an incredibly tough and slippery coating, but it tends to be very thick so is hard to use on parts that require some precision. It also requires more like 300C where powder coating is normally 190C so that's hard, and preheating means you have to handle the delicate coating process with a part at 300C rather than putting it in the oven cold and even letting it cool to room temp after if the part is heavy. So it's a pain in the ass and we very rarely use it except where we can take advantage of the low friction coating as a bearing surface of some sort.

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    Mechanical Finishes, Pretreatment, Bright Dipping, Anodizing, Liquid paint, Powder coating, Sublimation are some types of finishes for aluminium.

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    Quote Originally Posted by acmi View Post
    Mechanical Finishes, Pretreatment, Bright Dipping, Anodizing, Liquid paint, Powder coating, Sublimation are some types of finishes for aluminium.
    Spammer....


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