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Thread: Unsealed Anodised Aluminum Suppliers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    3

    Default Unsealed Anodised Aluminum Suppliers

    Hello, I am looking for some help please. After lots of internet searching and contacting numerous suppliers I've came to the conclusion buying unsealed anodised aluminum that I can hand dye myself is the holy grail of metal buying! My previous supplier had a factory fire last year and are still not back up and running and the back up supplier I had I wasn't as happy with the finish on the metal.

    Does anyone out there work with anodised aluminum and can tell me were I can buy unsealed sheets of aluminum or sheets of polished aluminium that I can get anodised (I have found someone that can do this but still struggling to find a supplier of polished aluminum 1mm thick.

    I'm based in the UK.

    Thank you
    Laura

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    South Australia
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    1,722

    Default

    I have a friend who lives in Glasgow and he uses this company I believe the have out lest all over the UK http://www.aalco.co.uk/glasgow also it sound as though you would require natural Aluminum, anodised aluminium is sealed

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Scotland
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    3,260

    Default

    I've just done a google search and there seem to be several companies https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=un...&client=safari watsonsanodising seemed good but I didn't open it up.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Manchester UK
    Posts
    877

    Default

    I think the problem is you need it anodised but unsealed, the metal still has pours in it that holds the colour so you can add your own dye and then by heating it this then seals it in. I'm not sure where you can get it though unfortunately

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    3

    Default

    Thank you for all your replies, I've looked at the aalco site before but was a bit confusing, good to know they are in Glasgow as that very near me so I'll give them a call in the morning.

    Watson anodising is the most recent supplier I've used however one side is a satin/matt finish and the other has a grainy/liney finish and I'd rather have a polished finish.

    I've seen the work of other jewellers so I know this finish is possible, it's just finding the right material supplies

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Aberdeenshire
    Posts
    66

    Default

    You'd be as well anodising it yourself. My setup at home consists of a benchtop power supply and an electrolyte bath of trisodium phosphate. If it's something you're doing a lot of a rack can be made to anodise several parts at once. The advantage of this would be that the edges would hold a colour also as I'm assuming you're cutting shapes from the plate therefore the cut edges won't be anodised. That being said the part that touches the racking will not anodise so this needs to be considered.

    As for the plate itself I am unsure of where to look although if you bought a larger sheet you could sand / polish yourself using a rotary sander before cutting into smaller sheets.

    Anodising really isn't that difficult and benchtop power supplies aren't overly expensive. I have heard of people using car battery chargers and the like as substitutes however I would imagine that the results are a little unpredictable.

    The only real points of consideration are:

    The alloy you use - not all aluminium is equal. Do your research and find out what grades fit your requirements. Don't go for highly alloyed grades if possible as they don't tend to anodise as well (i.e. aerospace grades sound fantastic - and they are for those in the aerospace industry - but they are not best suited to anodising. Some companies have managed to get good results however I can only assume that this is some kind of black magic!).
    Whatever alloy you use, try to use the same grade in your fixtures. If you use any other metal or an incompatible grade it will draw the current away and your part won't anodise. Titanium works well although it is a relatively poor conductor so I have found anodising multiple parts at the same time troublesome.
    Your electrolyte bath needs to be much bigger than you think! Anodising generates a lot of heat and at higher temperatures the anodising process won't work. Try to keep the bath below about 30 deg C. The more electrolyte the more stable the temperature will be. Even a fan blowing over your setup will help.
    Sodium Hydroxide can be used to etch the surface of the part to clean it however it dulls the finish slightly. I have tried sanding with 1500 grit paper followed by immediate cleaning and anodising with success to avoid this.

    I know all of the above sounds complicated but within an evening I had managed to suss the basics after having done some background research online.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Thank you, that's lots of great info. I'm trying to avoid having to go down the route of anodising myself as at the moment I'm still working from home and have kids around so trying to minimise the amount of chemicals I have around. That said I do like the idea of being able to control the process from start to finish so might just need to bite the bullet & crack on with it.

    Thanks
    Laura

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