Project 4: Failure

January 26, 2011


Yesterday was anodizing day, at least for my test pieces. I brought my husband along to help me with the math. I don’t fully understand electricity yet and so I thought it would be wise to have some help.

I got all suited up in my safety gear and prepared my two test pieces for anodization. First I secured the conductive wire to my pieces. Then I lowered the pieces into the bucket of sulfuric acid and connected the wire to the metal plate.

Sulfuric acid Using my husband’s calculations, we set the amperage to the settings I needed and walked away for an hour. It was at this point that I realized I hadn’t bought enough dye. So my husband set out to find more Rit Dye at 9pm. He eventually found some, but not the colors that I wanted. I settled on a couple of other shades of pink and he returned just as the timer was running out on our acid bath.

The pieces looked promising. Anodized aluminum turns from a shiny metal to a light gray matte, and these pieces looked great. I carefully removed them from the bucket and rinsed them under a lot of water. We mixed up the dye in two smallish containers, one color per container, and settled the pieces in for a soak.

The problem with anodizing is you don’t really know if it worked until you’ve already invested 90+ minutes into the project. We got the containers home and I prepared the steam bath for sealing them. When I opened the containers to check the color, I found this:

Dye bath failure

They hadn’t taken up any color at all! I don’t know what went wrong and I’m beyond frustrated, but I’ll bring them back to TechShop tomorrow and try again.


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