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Thread: Anodizing Titanium

  1. #31

    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Oregon,
    My anodize supply has a 3 amp fuse that has never blown but I have no idea what kind of current is going through the part being anodized or what, if any, voltage drop there is across the part. Presumably the more surface area being anodized, the more power going into the bath. Have you anodized any relatively large pieces and is yes, what kind of current did your bench supply show?
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

  2. #32

    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Guys,
    I need to qualify myself as no artist what so ever beyond having some creative ideas but no technical skills to get them down by hand. (I have found more satisfaction and some rudimentary success in PhotoShop where I can take images I have captured with a camera and then manipulate them). That said, I think and have commented in the past, that a good artist could do some amazing things with titanium as a canvas and altering the surface finish and oxide film as means of creating an image. The resulting image is not only dependent on a light source but also its location relative to the observer. The image changes as the light source or observer move, relative to the image and the other. As a crude example, in the image below what appears as shaddow in the mountains (hope you can figure out which are the montains ) in the photo taken go from shadow to highlight and the highlighted areas go to shadow if you change your orientation to the Ti plate or move the light source.



    The dark blue ocean with light colored wave lines goes to a shiny light blue ocean (polished surface) with darker wave lines (diamond burr etch) as the light orientation changes in the image below of the jewler's loop. Three rubbies were set in the Ti plate I made:



    Heavy wear in contact and abrasion can damage a Ti canvas but beyond that, weather and light will not change it at all. I can't imagine a more permanent canvas or means of holding and retaining a graphic over the long haul.

    of course the image should be one worthy of long term existence!

    My wife and I made Ti earings many years ago and most were formed and cut thin sheets of Ti which were then polished, bead blasted engraved and masked and anodized in steps. I found you could get some really cool and subtle textures and colors using jeweler's polishing and grinding bits as well as tiny wire wheels and buffing wheels and points in conjunction with the anodizing. You can also subject the piece to a light dusting of bead blasting with blasting pens that are the scale of the small airburshes.

    There are the classic mediums of scrimshaw, cloisene, and engraving that artisans practiced over the centuries and I can't help but imagine that if the technologies at the time provided titanium and and the means of anodizing it that some of these artisans wouldn't have embraced it as well. Perhaps someday, it will become a field in jewelery or forms of functional art where some real craftsmen and artists apply their magic!

    In the real crude depiction of the SF city front with golden gate in the background and Alacratraz in the bay, all of the little "lights" are the result of a tiny diamond burr that cut through the anodize. As you move the light source or your viewing angle from left to right, these lights blink on or off and the sky and water go from relative light to dark:



    If you can consider these examples on par with a two year old's crayon drawings but then imagine the same medium in the hands of a master.....
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  3. #33
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    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Now that's very interesting indeed. Cool new media for artists.
    There is a type of perfection that transcends the quest for lumens. Buying a $250 1-cell light for "lum factor" is like buying a $250 single malt Scotch for the alcohol content.
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  4. #34
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    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    Oregon,
    Have you anodized any relatively large pieces and is yes, what kind of current did your bench supply show?
    You can max out your current with a highly conductive anodization bath, which I've done experimentally, but the voltage can't be controlled. A strong lye solution will do this, for example. Not useful to get repeatable colors quickly.

    I want the metal to be more conductive than the solution so I don't just separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. Now I am experimenting with the solutions and prepatory baths in pursuit of bright green. Easier said than done. Anyone have a surefire recipe for green?

    The largest pieces I've anodized are full sized folding knife handles. I've done a number of S2's for a vendor out of Portland (who sells a ton of Kershaws at the various shows). I've got the blues down pretty good.

    My digital power supply gives me volts and amps. I don't intentionally go over 1/2 amp. Its output hits a limit at just over one amp. I can only control the voltage with the dial. If the bath isn't overly conductive the amperage falls as anodization takes place, quickly at low voltage and slowly at higher voltage.

    I need a little sulfuric acid in order to try to reproduce the color spread shown in the link.

    I ordered a usb microscope today from DX. If it works I might be able to get some insight into what the different baths and prepatory solutions do to the surface of the titanium. I may get a good scale tomorrow in order to better weigh the components of the baths/solutions so that I can reproduce any favorable results and fix the ingredients percentages. I wish I had several feet of the ti wire he used. There is no end to the wants.

    All the best,

    oregon

  5. #35
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    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Close-up of ti rod, washed in lye and anodized in a bath of white vinegar. The anodization spectrum, green on the upper right, goes to bare ti on the bottom left. Note the complete spectrum that forms at the margin between air and liquid bath during anodization when part of the target is out of the bath (bubbling accounts for it I think). The interesting thing here is what you don't see. You're not seeing thickness of coating nor filling up of divits in the metal's surface. The anodization adds oxidation that is millionth's of an inch thick. Not exactly armor plating thickness just enough to dazzle under the right light:



    The above piece without magnification:



    Sidebar, the usb microscope, from DX, the four LEDs can be turned on or off with a switch and you focus with the black wheel, the stand has one knob to work both pivots:





    I am grateful to Dan for his welcome contribution of a large amount of ti wire and sheet for my use. The generosity of the members here at CPF sets a new standard. I owe you 1/2 a beer .

    oregon
    Last edited by oregon; 06-15-2009 at 04:06 AM.

  6. #36
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    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Update on USB microscope: I uninstalled the software that came with the unit because I think that it was causing numerous shutdowns of my computer.

    oregon

  7. #37

    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    where can you get ammonium sulfate?

  8. #38

    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    so baking soda and water work as well and also white vinegar? I rather use something I have int he house vs going to buy fertilizer.

  9. #39

    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    I haven't tried baking soda or white vinegar so I can't comment. I picked up the ammonium sulfate from a local chemical supply house. I am under the impression that it is also available from landscape supply and perhaps nurseries as well. I would try the household items first too. Please let us know your findings.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

  10. #40
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    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    My theory is that any relatively dirty water will work. Tap water, for example. But distilled water may not work well.

    However, I've been using small amounts (much less than a teaspoon) TSP (a cleaning product found dry in a box at Home Depot cheaply), baking soda (teaspoon) and water (a few cups) with good results.

    oregon

  11. #41
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    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Experiment: Two raw pieces of Ti anodized in different baths @ 85VDC until amperage dropped to .10. I prepared the raw Ti in a lye bath, rinsed in well water, scrubbed with dish soap in a 3M surfaced sponge and then rinsed in warm well water (handling via stainless tweezers).

    One bath: TSP, baking soda and well water.
    Other bath: Well water.

    I rinsed off the large Ti plate in the bath between baths but only dried off the Ti rod (connects to the target) on a towel between baths.

    Result: The dirty bath quickly gave the purple anodization with lots of bubbles while the clean bath gave the gold/yellowish anodization very slowly with few bubbles. Clearly, the ingredients of the bath make a different.

    Before:


    After:


    The setup:


    oregon

  12. #42
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    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Battery acid (one teaspoon from an old car battery) & well water bath, same experimental parameters as above (85VDC until amps. drop to .10).

    Result: Extremely quick and fluidic color change as I turned up the voltage (several revolutions of the voltage knob with this power supply) and few but tiny bubbles. Iridescent pink. (note that amps. dropped to .10 instantly, although I need a second pair of eyes because I was shocked/mesmerized by the instantaneous color change in this bath)

    After:


    oregon

  13. #43
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    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Nice job on the purple ano. I like it
    Cheers from the McGizmo state.

  14. #44
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    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    anodized titanium for the most part to be a cosmetic feature
    There are commercial firms that can apply thick film anodizing, primarily to reduce Ti-to-Ti fretting and galling on sliding fits or threaded fits. I've had a few phone discussions with a sales engineer at TFC, one of the larger companies that anodizes. They recommended a (not too pretty) mechanical coating called Ti Fin 400, which they state is very thick relative to the natural oxide layer always present on raw Ti - which has a range of only 50 to 250 angstroms, what I'd call nanoscopic.

    As much as I'd love to try this, I can't bring myself to send the PD-S ...

    http://www.titaniumfinishing.com/page09.htm

    Here's an article on the soda method (which I have not tried):

    http://www.popsci.com/diy/article/20...um-technicolor
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  15. #45

    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Barry,
    When I was into anodizing Ti in making earings, I would often anodize and then take diamond burs to break through the film so that I could then apply a lower voltage and only color that which had been freshly exposed. I found from goofing around that if I zapped the metal with a high voltage (90v I would guess) that the oxide layer didn't really have a color but did have an interesting iridescence to it and this layer was a real challange to break through. Bead blasting really didn't cut it and only the diamond burrs really were effective.

    I think this may have been similar to the finish you have referenced. When there were discussions here about galling of Ti, I recall thinking that one solution would be to anodize one "side" of the threaded couple with just such a film so that you would have a hard VS soft mating. Probably even better with both threads sporting the hard film?

    I qualified the anodize as strictly cosmetic even considering this exception though because at the point you get the hard and thicker film, you no longer have any real color so it is not cosmetic in the sense as the colors would be considered. I believe you can also get a hard surface from some forms of heat treating. When I used to mess around welding Ti, I would get I think it is called an Alpha film or layer on the surface and man, that had to be ground with diamond for sure! Brittle as hell too! I welded up a Ti windsurfing harness hook assembly that looked really cool and weighed nothing compared to the stainless ones. While board sailing between Maui and Molokai, with it on the virgin run, I heard one weld after another snap! Fortunately the way I formed it, none of these welds breaking caused a catastrophic failure. I came to accept the fact hat my welds were cosmetic and not structural.

    There is no welding involved in our lights so these issues of how easily Ti can be contaminated and compromised at elevated temperatures are not considered. For the fun of it, I would like to get a Ti light heat treated sometime. The metal color and surface is really different and unique after heat treatment and the members who talk about how soft Ti is have clearly never messed with a heat treated 6-4 piece of Ti!! (Of course the naysayers would then criticize the metal as being too brittle )
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

  16. #46
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    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    I've gotten Ti, Spyderco Salt series knife pocket clips are Ti, to show color using a strong dose of household drain cleaner and a small amount of water. Is this anodization? I don't know but I was surprised by this iridescent result.

    oregon

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    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    When I used to mess around welding Ti, I would get I think it is called an Alpha film or layer on the surface and man, that had to be ground with diamond for sure! Brittle as hell too! I welded up a Ti windsurfing harness hook assembly that looked really cool and weighed nothing compared to the stainless ones. While board sailing between Maui and Molokai, with it on the virgin run, I heard one weld after another snap!
    Ouch! What gas (if any) were you using to shield the weld? When we were laser welding some CP Ti at work, proper gas shielding made a ridiculously big difference. Never saw any difference from a visual inspection, but the results were very obvious.
    Finning does help dissipate heat. This is why the fins are removed before cooking fish. Otherwise it will throw off the heat and not reach the proper cooking temperature. --Duglite

  18. #48

    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    oregon,

    I would guess you are growing an oxide film thick enough to give you some light interference and hence color.

    th232,

    I have a TIG set up and do and did use argon. To do it right though, you almost need a chamber that is sealed and filled with argon. The other problem I likely had was one of contaminated welding rod and surfaces on the parts being welded. I believe nitrogen embrittlement (sp) is a common problem and perhaps one I experienced.

    I read a story once about some forged titanium struts used either on the shuttle or perhaps a military craft that would fail. It took some serious investigation and it turned out that in the summer time in CA, the local water supply was enhanced with additional chlorine because of evaporation. The forging process used municipal water for cooling and this chlorine reacted with the heated Ti during the forging process and compromised its physicals. If I'm not mistaken, some of the early bike frames of Ti had some unexpected and uncool weld failures. I once met a guy who was a professional welder and he told me of a job he had where he would enter an inert gas filled room wearing a closed air supply suit so he would weld titanium without compromising the welds!
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

  19. #49

    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    this may be a dumb question, but can you use a battery charger to do this, the type you charge car batteries with?

  20. #50
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    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Try it.

    The color is dependent on voltage and the make-up of the bath you use.

    Take a look at the color chart, measure the output voltage of the charger and see what color range you would get. You should get some results around 10 VDC +.

    Please photograph your results. Thank you.

    oregon

  21. #51
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    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    you almost need a chamber that is sealed and filled with argon.
    For small parts, it's pretty easy to build a "glove box" where a pair of rubber gloves are sealed to openings in the side of the box ... much like a sand blast box (which can work for bigger parts). Start argon flowing into the box with a small vent allowing shop air to discharge, until an O2 meter reads 10 ppm or less & the welding can begin.

    Ti isn't the worst material in the world to weld, but it is finicky. It does, however, produce beautiful weldments
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  22. #52

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    Barry,
    For a couple years, I had just such a box. I got it surplus and it was designed for bio hazards with a vacuum setup and even a double door entry box on the side. My welds were much better using it but I never depended on any of them for structural integrity. I gave the box to a friend who was a professional welder and he was engaged in doing some serious welds for a mutual friend who was going to sail around the world, single handed.

    Since argon is heavier than air, you can also do a sink type weld system where you have the part and welding tip below the surface and submersed in the argon. Obviously you need still air movement for it to be counted on. I would use a burning match to confirm the presence of the argon.
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  23. #53

    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Quote Originally Posted by oregon View Post
    Try it.

    The color is dependent on voltage and the make-up of the bath you use.

    Take a look at the color chart, measure the output voltage of the charger and see what color range you would get. You should get some results around 10 VDC +.

    Please photograph your results. Thank you.

    oregon
    this is with a 12v car battery, the color is expected at that voltage, now to find some 9v to get a blue or purple....

  24. #54

    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    what would be a good cheap, but permanent source fora power supply that would allow you to anodize in any color? like an ac to dc converter with an adjustable knob to control the current, cant seem to find one anywhere, maybe I am getting the name wrong?

  25. #55
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    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    An adjustable output battery charger (automotive type) will be the low cost option.

    Just need a transformer, two diodes, one capacitor, and a volt and amp meter:

    http://www.electronicsteacher.com/ci...hematics/7.gif
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  26. #56
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    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Quote Originally Posted by exodus125 View Post
    what would be a good cheap, but permanent source fora power supply that would allow you to anodize in any color?
    Here you go, this is what I use, see the pic above, and I can vouch for it (no connection to the vendor): http://www.circuitspecialists.com/prod.itml/icOid/7859

    oregon

  27. #57

    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Quote Originally Posted by exodus125 View Post
    what would be a good cheap, but permanent source fora power supply that would allow you to anodize in any color? like an ac to dc converter with an adjustable knob to control the current, cant seem to find one anywhere, maybe I am getting the name wrong?
    When I wanted such a supply, my first thought was to find an old model train transformer but in talking to some folks at the local electronics supply store, they came up with a 3 amp AC variable transformer that gave you fro 0 to 100% of the AC input voltage. I think I added a bridge rectifier to convert to DC and stuck the stuff in a project box with some banana lead sockets and away I went. I should caution that at some voltage, if you aren't isolated yourself, you will pick up a buzz!

    Any metal exposed to the bath needs to be titanium for good current flow through the part being anodized. I made a couple style Ti clips for holding the part and also use some ti tweezers. Thin Ti sheet metal or straps can be used for the cathode supply to the anodize bath. You can also use ti wire or welding rod.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

  28. #58
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    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Quote Originally Posted by exodus125 View Post
    this is with a 12v car battery, the color is expected at that voltage, now to find some 9v to get a blue or purple....
    Excellent result and photo, thx.

    Add another 12V battery in series for blue/purple.

    Here is the color spectrum/voltage chart for reference: http://www.bme.unc.edu/~bob/titanium-spectrum-web-2.jpg

    However, you can quickly, easily and cheaply create a DC power supply by connecting 9V batteries in series, output is in increments of 9 volts, with ready-made alligator connectors from Radio Shack.



    Or, you could connect the 9V batteries with these:



    oregon
    Last edited by oregon; 07-01-2009 at 11:56 AM.

  29. #59

    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Some of you have seen the pic below but I think it is a pretty clean representation of anodizing and etching a titanium piece. The pocket clip that is:

    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

  30. #60
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    Default Re: Anodizing Titanium

    Nice clip!

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