The Do’s and Don’ts When Anodizing Aluminum and Color Matching

by Gary Fain

Anodizing aluminum creates a thin layer of aluminum dioxide on the surfaces. The aluminum oxide is very hard and makes it easier to dye your parts since the colors do not peel off easily. Since surface finishing is done in the final stages of the production of parts, you need to pay a lot of attention to ensure that you retain quality. Chemistry is very delicate, and simple miscalculations can turn your whole project into jeopardy.

Several factors affect the anodizing quality. Seeing that you do not want to see your work going down the drain, here are some things you should and should not do when anodizing and color matching. When you hear the phrase “don’t just dip it” concerning anodizing aluminum, it should raise some red flags in your mind.


The choice of alloy drastically changes the quality and color matching. Different aluminum alloys have different properties, and some form barriers which you can easily dye with a wide range of color while others will limit you. Wrought aluminum alloys can change your parts of the tone of your surface.


When anodizing aluminum, you alter the dimension since you are adding a layer of oxide on the parts. If you are working with tight dimensions, the anodizing should be your priority. You should avoid Type III anodizing since it produces a much thicker layer of aluminum dioxide.

Chemistry is delicate

Electrolysis is a chemical reaction and requires vigilance. You should pay a lot of attention to factors like acid concentration, temperature, and pH. The factors will determine anodizing quality.

Wear resistance

Depending on where the part will be used, wear resistance will determine the type of anodizing you will use. Parts used in the aerospace and automotive industries are exposed to adverse conditions. It would be best if you went for a process that will yield a significant aluminum oxide layer and not too much to tamper with the optimal dimensions for the part.

Surface preparation

Aluminum anodizing is not just about electrolysis. Surface preparation will determine the quality of the final product. That is why you should look into every detail before sending your parts into the bath.

Aluminum anodizing at home

It is possible to anodize your parts at home since the materials used are available in our retail shops. It may not cost you much; hence it is ideal for small scale operations. However, it would help if you took care when using the materials since substances like acid are corrosive. You should have protective clothing like masks and gloves when anodizing at home. Always wear gloves when preparing your aluminum surfaces since you do not want to leave your fingerprints all over the parts, which will tamper with the quality. Always wear a glove when working with caustic soda- the stench is pretty nasty. Ensure your workplace is well ventilated.

Whether you are anodizing aluminum at home or commercially, quality is paramount. Large scale plants require workers who understand what is at stake when in the process.

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