Project 4: What to anodize?January 25, 2011
The first thing I did when I discovered anodizing was to shop for some cheap aluminum thing that I could use for testing. I went to a local antiques store and found this Boy Scout canteen set. It has a cup, a pot, a plate, and a pan with an adjustable handle that holds everything together. However, before I could try it out in the anodizing rig my husband gave me something else to test:
This is an aluminum cap catcher like you would hang under your bottle cap opener. He wanted me to try dying it red as a test for the local homebrew supply store. One fun thing about anodizing, aside from getting to dye metal colors, is that the anodization can be etched. This means that something metal like this cap catcher could be branded in a more visible way than just etching the metal itself.
So I tried anodizing it. Basically what you do is hang the metal object into a bucket of sulfuric acid with a current running to it via a conductive wire. When the anodization is done the metal is porous and will pick up regular laundry dye.
At least that is the theory. For this particular piece I was having no luck getting the anodization to work. It turns out that the cap catcher is coated in a way that makes the metal not conduct electricity. Since the electricity is a vital part of the process, the anodization didn’t work.
I hope my canteen set is the right kind of aluminum! Check back tomorrow to see my results.