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Old 04-21-2008, 02:45 AM #1
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Default Anodization of Aluminum Laser Parts

One of the treatments you can do to Kenom's run 1 barrels is anodization. The anodization process grows a hard aluminum oxide layer into and onto the Al which protects it from scratches, skin oils, salt, and the elements. The materials required and the anodizing process is quite simple:

1) Plug and mask parts that should not be anodized
2) Clean the aluminum with soap
3) Desmut the aluminum in lye (sodium hydroxide, caustic soda) to remove natural oxide
4) Anodize at 12A/sq ft. in 50/50 battery acid (sulfuric) and DeIonised water
5) Dye the part the desired color
6) Boil in water to seal the dye and Al Oxide pores for final protection

Information and semi-guides are found:
http://astro.neutral.org/anodise2.shtml
http://www.bryanpryor.com/Anodizing.php
http://www.nonlintec.com/anodizing/

For lye/desmut I used drano kitchen crystals
Battery acid was available cheaply at a local auto shop

I prepared one of Kenom's model 1 barrels (kryton) by plugging the end holes and washing. From this point on, wear thick gloves to protect you and keep finger oils off the part. Two tablespoons of drano lye crystals in warm water dissolved and let the barrel soak for a few minutes till it has an even grey color. In between every step there must be a rinse in distilled/deionised water so that was done after lye desmut. Next an anode connection must be made to the part ( I used a section of heatsink) out of aluminum and the part placed in the 50/50 battery acid bath. The bath has a cathode made of aluminum foil. Only aluminum should be in the bath, other metals will be dissolved and affect the anodization process. The cathode should have at least twice the surface area of the part you are anodizing. Attach the power + terminal to the part and - terminal to the aluminum foil. Some people use battery chargers, I used a lab power supply for current control.
The current used can vary, I found a current of 2-3A worked for the kenbarrel. Over that and the oxide didn't seem to build up. Be careful not to breathe the acid fumes, do this all outside and with a box of baking soda handy for acid spill neutralization.
After anodising (it is done when the resistance increases to the point where current is almost zero) rinse the part again and dye it. Rit fabric dyes do not work here, get an anodisation dye for the best results. To seal in the dye, use hot steam bursts from an iron on the part and then boil it (not rolling boil) for 30-40 minutes to hydrate and seal the oxide pores.

Here is a kenbarrel (kryton) after plain anodisation and after it wouldn't tke the Rit dye (shiny white like Mac style):



Was hoping to turn it red for a 20x diode, but white anodization doesn't look half bad either!

Please post your comments and experiences here! I hope this inspires more people to try the process.


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Old 04-21-2008, 02:52 AM #2
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Default Re: Aluminum Anodization of laser parts

Great write up DL. (as always) I might do this if I ever buy one of Kenom's barrels. This white barrel looks awesome.
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Old 04-21-2008, 03:07 AM #3
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Default Re: Aluminum Anodization of laser parts

You say battery acid and Hydrochloric acid, which one is it? Battery acid is sulfuric acid, not hydrochloric acid.
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Old 04-21-2008, 03:07 AM #4
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Default Re: Aluminum Anodization of laser parts

Lead acid battery uses H2SO4. *
HCl is usually called Muriatic acid.
Super results however ;D
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Old 04-21-2008, 03:28 AM #5
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Default Re: Aluminum Anodization of laser parts

Man that's some good stuff there! Looks kind of 'tricky'. I would imagine once you get set up, it would be fairly easy huh?
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Old 04-21-2008, 03:30 AM #6
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Default Re: Aluminum Anodization of laser parts

Quote:
Originally Posted by styropyro
You say battery acid and Hydrochloric acid, which one is it? Battery acid is sulfuric acid, not hydrochloric acid.
Thanks it's fixed now Meant Sulfuric.
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Old 04-21-2008, 04:40 AM #7
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Default Re: Anodization of Aluminum Laser Parts

awesome... simply awesome.
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Old 04-21-2008, 08:10 AM #8
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Default Re: Anodization of Aluminum Laser Parts

That's WOW! It's gonna be a great laser :P As much as I don't like working with caustic soda and powerful acid I really really REALLY need to try this!Once I set it up I think I'm going to anodize every piece of aluminum I can find
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Old 04-21-2008, 12:38 PM #9
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Default Re: Anodization of Aluminum Laser Parts

Just noticed this thread - it doesn't have much to do with fluorescent minerals and my Blu-Ray (as folks may have noticed I'm not really an advanced laserist - just a rockhound - so don't have a lot to add in the world of lasers). But somewhere in my memory a thought crept out about anodizing. I don't believe anodized aluminum provides a good conductive surface. I know on some of your hosts you rely on the host's shell to provide the ground path. Perhaps it would be wise to be sure that you have metal to metal conductivity in parts that are anodized which need to conduct....
(Probably obvious, but FWIW)

I really like the inventiveness and creativity like this on this board...

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Old 04-21-2008, 12:43 PM #10
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Default Re: Anodization of Aluminum Laser Parts

Yea but the barrel is being plugged at both ends so the insides stay shiny and conductive, I think :P
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Old 04-21-2008, 01:32 PM #11
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Default Re: Anodization of Aluminum Laser Parts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Switch
Yea but the barrel is being plugged at both ends so the insides stay shiny and conductive, I think :P
That is correct. The insides stay unoxidized (nice and shiny) including the threads where current is transfered from section to section and the place where the diode is press fit in. All important!
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Old 04-21-2008, 09:03 PM #12
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Default Re: Anodization of Aluminum Laser Parts

Wow! Really cool. That white does look really nice.
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Old 04-29-2008, 07:24 PM #13
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Default Re: Anodization of Aluminum Laser Parts

imagine a purple one for blu ray
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Old 05-01-2008, 05:58 PM #14
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Default Re: Anodization of Aluminum Laser Parts

Nice, this is getting bookmarked.

I must say, that barrel of yours looks like it's made of MDF.
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Old 05-01-2008, 06:58 PM #15
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Default Re: Anodization of Aluminum Laser Parts

Lye (caustic soda , sodium hydroxide) in a water solution dissolves alum. Quicky and leaves it black!
Don't do that. Deep corrosion. I put some in a beer can and there was instant smoke [smiley=shocked.gif]


But I just thought a powder coat would be cool to. You know the powder is electrostaticly charged so it's sticks better and then you bake it in, it melts and hardens shiney and leaves a durable plasticlike finish.
I've seen it in auto/cycle magazines.
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Old 05-01-2008, 07:00 PM #16
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Default Re: Anodization of Aluminum Laser Parts

Sorry Dr Lava said to use lye well be carefull!
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