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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 04-01-2006, 03:36 PM
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First attempt at anodizing

JUst finished my first attempt at anodizing TI. Limited success.My home built anodizer didnt blow up thats a positive ! Do you HAVE to use distilled water ? I didnt, I couldnt find anywhere in my instruction that said to. I didnt spend a lot of time on the polishing/cleaning either. I was just testing color and function . The colors were NOT very bright and took VERYYYYYYYYYYYYY long time to develop. It also appears the color I wanted took twice the voltage to get. Light blue came at 114 volts not 60ish.Blue came at 80 volts not 38ish.The small piece was inserted all the way up to the broze color at all times.Color would progress up not everything that was submerged coloring at once.Any ideas ?

Dave


The small piece was cleaned and lightly polished.It had 80 volts on it the other one has a light blue at bottom you cant really see, it was made at 120.

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Old 04-01-2006, 03:48 PM
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Your voltage is waaaay too high by my estimation. You should get the full rainbow of colors before you reach 60 volts. The colors will repeat at higher voltages after that.

Distilled water is preferred because who knows what minerals are in your tap water? But, that's not the source of your current problem.

Bright colors will come only after you do very good finish work on the ti. Rough surfaces give only pastel colors.

My guess is that there is something wrong in your anodizer or in your setup. Your description of how the color progresses makes me think your amperage is super low (you certainly have plenty of voltage) or your chemistry and setup are less than optimal. Can you show us the whole setup and tell us what you used for the various parts? Did you have to substitute abything for something you couldn't find?


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Old 04-01-2006, 04:27 PM
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The andozier is the basic variac rectified and filtered. I assembled it but my Dad the EE designed and tested it.Its built from an old variac and he thought the current should be 1 amp atleast but I ll email him to test that it.The cathode did foam nicely but the anode barely did anything till the it was the smaller piece of TI and voltage was high.My fluid was tap water 2 pints and I put 2 large splashes of TSP. I have a plastic cup in the jar that has holes drilled in it as a basket to protect the two from touching, My cathode was a TI liner that i screwed up on and didnt finish,it was sunk 3/4 of the way into the water.It was always more than what i was trying to anodize. I clipped directly onto the TI to be anodized with a aligator clip,I had a TI wire at first but when it didnt seem to be doing anything i changed it.

How quick should it happen ? With the correct current. Instantly ? or close to it ?

Dave

Last edited by Txcwboy; 04-01-2006 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 04-01-2006, 06:21 PM
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It should happen nearly instantly when things are right,

Nothing should be foaming except at very high voltages(which you are using but shouldn't be).

I've never heard of using ti as a cathode and I'm inclined to think that's a major issue here. The cathode should be stainless steel, usually stainless steel foil.

You said you clipped the alligator clip directly to the ti you are anodizing. That's OK, but the clip MUST NOT be allowed to touch the liquid.

Try another cathode and let's see if things improve....


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Old 04-01-2006, 07:54 PM
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I talked with the designer he said he tested it with a load and it held at 1 amp. So he knows it will do 1 amp. I ll try a different cathode. I thought i had read it just had to be non corrosive.I dont have any SS foil though.
thanks

Dave
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  #6  
Old 04-01-2006, 07:59 PM
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You can buy distilled water at most supermarkets and I know Walmart carries it, that's where I buy mine. Something is not right with your setup, the voltage is way to high for the colors your getting. Mine will go to 220 volts, but I've never been even close to that. I think you need to lose the Ti for the cathode and use stainless.


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  #7  
Old 04-01-2006, 08:28 PM
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I have been reading up on anodizing titanium all weekend long. Here is a good little place for some info on the science and how to guide.

http://mrtitanium.com/anodizing.html

He uses titanium coiled wire for the cathode, and he also lists that the highest voltage is 110v to get the full spectrum of colors.

Hope it helps.
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  #8  
Old 04-02-2006, 05:46 AM
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I went through many trials when I first started anodizing before I discovered what works best for me. I pretty much started out the same way as TXCwboy. I went crazy trying to get good colors. A little advice from Kelly Carlson and I was on my way.

Your anodizer seems to be set up properly but I think it may be a combiniation of everything else that is hindering your efforts.

I went to Target and bought a plastic canister set. Just the right size vessels for the anodizer setup. They also have tight fitting lids for storage.

At first, I tried TSP in tap water with terrible results. As Ray said, tap water contains many minerals that may effect the colors you are trying to anodize. Go with the distilled water that can be found at many supermarkets and larger drug stores. Instead of the TSP, go to your local plumbing supply store and buy a quart of Industrial strength drain cleaner. It is mainly sulfuric acid. I use about 2 teaspoons per gallon of water.

For the cathode, stainless foil is the prefered material. Cut a sheet out that will wrap about 1/3 around the inside of your container with a tail hanging off that will come up and out of the container. Your alligator clip goes on that tail outside of the container. (if you have no foil, shoot me your snailer and I'll get a piece out to you). To protect the foil, go to your local craft supply store and buy a piece of plastic mesh material. They come in 12x12 squares and cost about 2 bucks. Wrap that around the inside of your container to protect the foil.

For the anode, I bough a Niobium clip from Reactive Metals. A little pricey but works great.

I also bought a gallon of Ti etch from Reactive Metals as well. In my experience, I found that this will make for cleaner colors. The etch is expensive but I have been using the same bottle for two years.

I use this process when anodizing:
Obtain the prefered finish on your Ti.
Wash thouroughly with soap and water to remove any oils etc.
Hang the parts on the anode and submerse into the Ti Etch. (about 30 seconds)
Rinse in another container of plain distilled water.
Submerse into etching solution and etch away. ( I submerse the Niobium clip and everything into the etch with no problems)
Re- rinse in plain distilled water.
Dry the parts.
Assemble the knife and go ooooohhhhhh, aaaahhhhhhh!!

Hope this helps.

Bill


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  #9  
Old 04-02-2006, 11:39 AM
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Wow thanks Bill ! email sent

The anodizer has 1500mf 400 volt cap on it. I was using a glass 2 qt jar and I was standing on my left leg with my tongue hanging out to the right.

Last edited by Txcwboy; 04-02-2006 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 04-02-2006, 01:58 PM
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Thats some great info , thanks for posting that bill.


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  #11  
Old 04-08-2006, 05:28 PM
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2nd attempt made today. Distilled water, SS foil wrapped around and overlapping the inisde of the jar, 2 tbs of TSP to a 3/4 quart water,Heavier wire on insides of anodizer , 2 grounds to cathode and heavy anode with SS 1/8 wire hook to anode. Colors are at the voltage they are suppose to be,got a real nice blue and a real nice purple. BUTTTT it took foreverrrrrrrr ! 8 to 10 min per side.Tried 2 at a time and it was REAL slow. It starts at bottom of liner turns darkest there and moves up slowly. If the very end is purple the top is nothing and middle is a little bronze. Measured the current, its 400 ma under a load.Measured the voltage in the water and its same as at post. I mentioned to my Dad ,the designer of the anodizer , that YALL would say it needs more current. He said its good for atleast 1 amp and its not drawing 1 amp and something about higher current would need higher voltage ... I =e/r blah blah He has been doing electricity for 60 yrs so I cant argue with him. I took pics if it would help. Let me know . So it should all happen in less than a 10 sec? We did run the voltage up to 100 and got a rose color and it did happen a lot faster at the higher voltage but wasnt no way fast.


Dave
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Old 04-08-2006, 07:25 PM
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OK, I'm stumped. I'm not enough of an electrician to be sure what's wrong here . Sounds like you probably have the set up correctly. Obviously, the machine works so the design can't exactly be wrong but maybe it isn't optimal. Has your dad looked at the design info posted on Bob Warner's site or any other site for building an anodizer or did he do it from scratch himself? Possibly if he looked at one of those other designs he might see a difference that would explain the results you are getting. The color change should be almost instantaneous.

You might try a test that I did once. I took two ordinary 6 volt lantern batteries and hooked them up in series to get 12 volts. Apply them to your setup instead of the power source your dad built. You won't get much color at 12v but what you do get should be very fast. If you have 3 or 4 lantern batteries, even better. If the color change is fast, the problem is in the power supply your dad built. If the color change is still slow, the problem is in the rest of your set up ....


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Old 04-08-2006, 07:44 PM
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Dave,

Sounds like everything is on order. The effects should happen almost immediately. Not sure what to reccomend next. I will say that I had terrible results using TSP. I would try the sulfuric acid next. (industrial drain cleaner). Don't use Drano or any of the commercial stuff. Go to a plumbers supply and but the heavy duty stuff.

Bill


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Old 04-08-2006, 07:52 PM
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I work in the alarm industry so I have access to 12 volt batteries. I will hook 3 together and get 36 volts and see what happens. I will check the local plumbers supply. Do you dilute the acid ? Another thing, I got some pretty colors but none of the stuff I did was polished that well. I had jewel 2 sets of liners of my emersons when i was less of a knifemaker and they came out somewhat purple here and bluish here.So i take it they werent polished enough before jewelling.


thanks for all the help
Dave
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  #15  
Old 04-09-2006, 05:14 AM
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Yes, dilute the acid. I use about 2 teaspoons per gallon of distilled water.

Bill


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