Anodizing and Dying Aluminum

  Anodizing is an electrochemical process that converts the metal surface into a decorative, durable, corrosion-resistant, anodic oxide finish. Aluminum is ideally suited to anodizing, although other nonferrous metals, such as magnesium and titanium, also can be anodized.

  The anodic oxide structure originates from the aluminum substrate and is composed entirely of aluminum oxide. This aluminum oxide is not applied to the surface like paint or plating, but is fully integrated with the underlying aluminum substrate, so it cannot chip or peel. It has a highly ordered, porous structure that allows for secondary processes such as coloring and sealing.

  Anodizing is accomplished by immersing the aluminum into an acid electrolyte bath and passing an electric current through the medium. A cathode is mounted to the inside of the anodizing tank; the aluminum acts as an anode, so that oxygen ions are released from the electrolyte to combine with the aluminum atoms at the surface of the part being anodized. Anodizing is, therefore, a matter of highly controlled oxidation—the enhancement of a naturally occurring phenomenon.

 

  
 Mossberg 500 aluminum receiver, badly worn and scarred.      Receiver in the bead blaster for surface prep. 

 
Anodizing set up. Astron power supply and acid bath.   Receiver suspended in a 15% sulfuric acid bath.

 
Dying the receiver at 100 degrees for 15 minutes.                   Boiling the dyed piece for 30 minutes.

 
Final rinse.                                                                                                Anodized and ready for re-assembly.

 
Mossberg 835 (rear) and Mossberg 500 receivers completed.   Another view of the finished, anodized and dyed shot gun receivers.

 
 
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