DIY Home Aluminum Anodizing


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  • Commercial alumnium anodising dye

    When I started aluminium anodising at home, I experimented with many types of dye to get a coloured finish on the part. I used food colouring an clothes dye. Sometimes with good effect.

    As my machining projects become more advanced I decided to spent some money on some proper commercial anodising dye.

    This turned out to be one of my better investments.

    Ebay has several sellers that will sell you small quantities of anodising dye, usually in powder or liquid form which gives enough dye to make about one litre when mixed with de-ionised water. Please note that you must use either distilled or de-ionised water. Although you can buy this from places like Halfords, it is usually over priced, so go somewhere like in-excess and get it for half the price!

    Ebay sellers usually change between 5 and 10 pounds for enough to make up a litre. Colours like black and fluorescent red are more expensive. Some sellers will sell you a dye bath as part of a package. Suppliers of anodising kits normally change a lot more for the dye – for larger quantities. IF you need 10 litres of dye then this is the way to do, but if you only need a litre or two for some small anodised parts then Ebay is the way to go.

    The anodising dye keep for a long time, make sure you have a nice water tight container to keep it in. You can get some tall food grade containers from your supermarket. These have a wide neck so you can just dip the part in, unless it is an odd shape, then you need to decant the anodising dye into a different container.

    The finish and depth of colour you get with these proper dyes is far superior to home brew substitutes. The actual shade you get varies a lot between dyes. I recently bought some red and blue from the same seller. The red gives a gorgeous finish, see below, but the blue is much more wishy-washy. You can of course use both on the same part to get a purple.

    The depth of colour you want depends on how long you leave the part in the dye. A few moments for a hint of the colour, or half an hour for a really deep colour. You are supposed to buy proper anodising dye sealant to seal the part after dying, but I have never bothered. Next on my shopping list is some black dye!

    my anodising baths parts anodised and dyed with masked area showing

    The photos above show a couple of my dye baths and some parts I recently anodised in red. As you can see the red finish is really flash!

    Please go and buy some anodising dye and don’t mess around with home brew anodising dye, the commercial products gives you a fantastic finish without much cost. Commercial anodising dyes are available in a huge range of colours – and by mixing them together you can get even more.


    Contact me on tomh at tomh@tomhow.me.uk

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