MAC SST-50 EDC - Aluminum Coating Options - Alodine, Cerakote, HAIII

shomie911

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Jul 26, 2008
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Hey everyone,

I just bought one of Mac's SST-50 EDC Al 6500K 2.8A from the used customs forum and had a few questions about coating options.

I'm in the aviation industry and when we work with bare aluminum components, we Alodine them to prevent corrosion and protect the metal. It also gives the alloy a nice transparent gold hue. It seems to hold up fairly well as a coating for aluminum tools that I've used also, so it might be worth a try. Anyone have any experience with this type of coating on your EDC? Might be a nice alternative to more labor intensive coating options since chromate conversion coatings are just hand-applied from a spray bottle. Might even be an easy thing for Mac to do before he ships the bare aluminum lights to help keep them protected (or until a more robust coating is applied by the end-user.)

Example:

uL0u0.jpg


Cerakote seems to be the most popular option around here, I'd like to hear comments about how that holds up as well. (Those orange ones look great!)

HAIII and more exotic finishes would be great to hear about as well. :thumbsup:

Thanks in advance!
 
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rich297

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Mar 10, 2011
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I don't own a cerakoted light myself and am reluctant to buy one because of several comments from CPFers who have complained about durability issues. Apparently, cerakote has a tendency to wear at sharp edges and rather quickly too if the accounts I've read are accurate. HAIII andozing, from my personal experience is very durable and effective at protecting aluminum flashlights.
 

shomie911

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Jul 26, 2008
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I don't own a cerakoted light myself and am reluctant to buy one because of several comments from CPFers who have complained about durability issues. Apparently, cerakote has a tendency to wear at sharp edges and rather quickly too if the accounts I've read are accurate. HAIII andozing, from my personal experience is very durable and effective at protecting aluminum flashlights.

Most of the flashlights I've owned have been HAIII, with the exception of stainless steel Peak's, and I've never had a problem with them either. Although some of the colored Cerakote lights are pretty nice looking, can't take my eyes off the orange variants.

Wonder if anyone on CPF does that "safety-orange" color in HAII (wish it could be done in HAIII) anodizing?

I'm most likely just going to use Alodine and do the chromate conversion. Still trying to figure out if the aluminum could be sand/bead-blasted and then treated with Alodine. :thinking: Never had to do that for an aircraft before, but it'd probably work since it's similar to the pre-application scoring/prep work. Would make for quite a cool mix between the looks of a bead-blasted Ti, Brass, and Aluminum SST-50 EDC.
 

rich297

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I had never heard of Alodine before and have never seen a light coated with it. I like the way it looks though. If you do coat your Mac with it, please do post a picture for us.
 

whizdumb

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I would be careful about using this type of substance to treat an item that you will carry and handle daily.. I just took a look at the MSDS of Alodine and I noticed that it is pretty hazardous to the skin if you make contact. That and it's an irritant in both eyes and respiratory. No to detract from your skill in using it and applying it, However, you have to think about the context of the item to be treated. Maybe the reason that it is good for aeronautics and the tools you use is that the items that are treated aren't handled often and if they are handled there is a good chance you are wearing gloves. Just my $0.02 go with something a little safer for EDC. Maybe I'm being a little paranoid.
 

shomie911

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Jul 26, 2008
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I would be careful about using this type of substance to treat an item that you will carry and handle daily.. I just took a look at the MSDS of Alodine and I noticed that it is pretty hazardous to the skin if you make contact. That and it's an irritant in both eyes and respiratory. No to detract from your skill in using it and applying it, However, you have to think about the context of the item to be treated. Maybe the reason that it is good for aeronautics and the tools you use is that the items that are treated aren't handled often and if they are handled there is a good chance you are wearing gloves. Just my $0.02 go with something a little safer for EDC. Maybe I'm being a little paranoid.

Not quite as dangerous as it sounds, and contrary to popular belief you'd be hard pressed to find a mechanic using gloves when using their tools (unless working with chemicals, more on that below).

As with most chemicals and coatings, Alodine is hazardous when it is being applied, once the part is coated it takes a chemical bath in acetone and then is thoroughly washed with water, so the end user would never make contact with the hazardous components of the mixture. But yes, proper safety gear should be worn when attempting to chromate convert aluminum because the product itself is pretty nasty stuff. If anyone decides to try this on their own remember to prep your aluminum beforehand with something like Alumniprep to ensure that the Alodine can coat evenly.
 

cmacclel

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I had never heard of Alodine before and have never seen a light coated with it. I like the way it looks though. If you do coat your Mac with it, please do post a picture for us.


Same type of coating I use on my heatsinks. Unfortunately it's not durable enough for the outside of the light.


IMG_1775.JPG
 

shomie911

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Same type of coating I use on my heatsinks. Unfortunately it's not durable enough for the outside of the light.


http://macscustoms.com/images/IMG_1775.JPG

Thanks for the clarification Mac :thumbsup:

Know of any durable clear or semi-transparent coatings for aluminum that would hold up well for EDC? Bare aluminum will corrode in the environment I work, so retaining the sleek bare Al look while adding corrosion and scratch resistance would be ideal.

If I can't figure out how to do that I'll probably just get it Cerakote'd. Blue Titanium or Graphite Black seem to be looking the best to my eyes so far.
 
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seahunt

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Aug 16, 2008
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I've had very good performance with "Gun-kote" on firearms,
any experience on lights?
Regards, Chuck
 
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