Hard anodising and electroplating

Is this something we could do in the space ? Quite a few members have expressed interest. For those who don’t know, hard anodising is dipping metal bits in a solution and passing a current through it. This develops a protective layer of oxide which is about 4-5 times harder than the original material (for aluminium) and very resistant to corrosion. These can then be (optionally) dipped in a dye to color them. You then seal the part in boiling water to lock in the dye. When done properly it looks fantastic.

With different chemicals a similar setup could also do stuff like gold plating.

What we need:

  • 2 smallish plastic tubs, one for anodising, one for dye, size depends but 2-3L would be a good size. Smaller 1.5L Ice cream tubs are also good for this apparently
  • a metal pot (for boiling water in)
  • electric generator (we already have loads of these)
  • metal wire for suspending parts
  • dye (optional)
  • anodising solution
  • distilled water
  • stuff for cleaning grease off parts
  • temperature controlled heating element (I think Joe said he had one)

I was thinking the screen printing sink area would be perfect for doing this if @silkscreentechs would be ok with it from time to time ?
We already have electric generators do it with (the bulky bit), and the tubs could be stacked with the dyes stored in them and put away in the snug. So in regards to space this would be very non-invasive.

Who’s interested ?



Don’t forget about the extraction bench if that’s usable to? What facilities you need from silk screen specifically?

1 Like

Just a case of having the sink to protect from spills. Although a big shallow tray could work too but we would need a place to store it.

Is the kettle not good?

I would love to do some anodising of aluminum as it looks v cool but you would need to do a proper H&S check first… The precious metal plating solutions my mother used as a commercial jeweller were cyniade based and were washed with Benzine (carcinogenic). This required thick gloves and proper ventilation.


You need to leave the parts boiling in there for a bit, also the limescale in the kettle wouldn’t be great. Distilled water is recommended for each of the three steps to get a clean finish

@Courty i didn’t read up on electroplating but i remember doing some in chemistry class at school and we didn’t need any safety equipment. Probably depends on the metal used. Anodising only needs a 5% sulphuric acid solution which is probably less bad than what the pcb etching kit uses

I think the wire also has to be aluminium.

It appears so, I’ll see if I can find some. I saw a promo video that even suggests using an arc welder to fix the wire onto the back of the part (using the wire as the stick). so we could try that if we want i suppose.

Any ideas on where to get the dyes and acid solution from ?

Agreed, we were doing gold, silver and platinum commercially but I remember at school doing copper with copper sulphate.

As long as we’re aware that there’s some nasties out there we’ll be OK.

Sulphuric acid is another fun one. If it’s a good concentration and you need to water it’s down and you add water to the acid it boils and spits, whereas if you add the acid to the water it’s fine !


1 Like

Anodising is great. Easy and quick to do and get good results if people are
making parts from aluminium.
I got a kit from Casswell years ago.Now there are cheaper suppliers. Check
out classic-plating.co.uk/Anodising_kit.html and

1 Like

That’s great thanks Howard, the gaterosplating kit looks perfect. Its £57 for the kit and £9-12 for a dye depending on colour + £9.50 p&p.

Anyone want to split the cost ? We could take a couple of dye colours, I would like deep black but there are plenty of others available (including gold)

I’ll split, I want deep black also. What size thing can we anodise, my bit is quite big…

Ok 5.5 litre tub should do it, you want to get it I’ll pay you the difference? I’ll buy us a COSHH cupboard also.

1 Like

Great ! Order’s placed with gateros. £78.50 GBP with postage and black dye.

Although I am sure it will get approved of this is for the space it should follow the rules for pledge.

I expect I’ll be interested. I’ll have a look later to see what you get in
the kit. There are probably a few extras to get such as battery acid and
distilled water. Also we’ll need a suitable power supply but I expect
there’s something around that we can use.

BTW when I say battery acid it’s not for batteries just the easiest way to
get sulphuric acid for anodising.

I though the electrolyte solution had this in it already ?
We can use a generator for the power supply and I also have a lipo charger that could work

I wouldn’t really count this as a pledge since its just a few chemicals in a tray that are bound to get used up after a while.

Even so if its ok can @directors give us a nod of approval ?

1 Like

Sorry I misunderstood, I thought you needed equiptment for it. Ignore me.