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How to remove anodizing off of aluminum and change colors


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#1 Squirrel

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 03:26 AM

How to remove aluminum anodizing and change the color of aluminum parts

Anoremoval and polishing video:


Anodize removal-

I was looking into how to do this and asked around. There is the oven cleaner method that takes some elbow grease. Who wants to do that? I found a product called Greased Lightning. Dipping the pieces in the cleaner will remove the anodizing QUICKLY!!!

The quickest results are the lightly anodized parts. I have a video of some shock spring retainers going through. I did some wheel nuts prior and it was quicker. For main chassis pieces it will take longer. I did a engine mount bracket in less than 20 minutes. Either way you go, just be sure to move the parts around every 10 minutes or so.

Once the anodize is off you can then polish the alum and coat it with a clear metal based paint.

What you will need:
-1 bottle of greased lightning ($2.50 at my local store)
-a container that you do not care about
-some fish line or tongs that you do not care about

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Here is a shot of the pieces in the container.

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Finished product:

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Here are two vids of the process. The first one is the bubbling effect of the cleaner eating the anodize. The second one is of me removing some anodize from start to finish.

View My Video
View My Video

Changing color.

Who likes purple? I don’t! I wanted to change the color of my parts from purple to something a little more….masculine?? Once again, I followed another buddy’s advice (Msand) and tried this method. It worked very well.

**Caution!!!** This will involve a oven. The parts will smoke! Make sure that your parents are ok with you baking in the oven and are aware that a smell and smoke will emit from the oven. You might want to open up all of the windows in the house, turn on a fan, and disconnect the fire alarms.

**Caution!!** The paint used in this is no joke. Make sure that its used in a well ventilated area.

**Caution!!** There will be fumes while baking. Keep the windows open after you pull the parts out to keep the air circulating and to help remove the smell.

With all of that out of the way- The idea behind this is to take some grill paint and apply it onto the pieces. Coat the pieces lightly about 3 times. The pain in the butt about this process is keeping the parts from sticking to whatever it is that you have it placed on. So, more coats may be needed. Also, keep in mind that you want to do this on pieces with anodizing on it. If you do it to the pieces without anodizing then the color will come off. If you are using black paint, as an example, then you will have a dark grey piece.

With the pieces painted let them sit over night. The next day turn the oven on to 400 degrees. I put a piece of tin foil down and set my parts on top of that. You will bake them in the oven for 1 hour.

15 minutes into the baking the parts started to smoke. This lasted for about 5 to 10 minutes and then stopped. Again, be sure that there is ventilation.

The advantage to doing it this way is the paint will emerge extremely hard and resist scratching.  Which, once it cools is absolutely true. However, I did have some of the paint rub off that touched the foil in the oven. I had to flip those pieces around and do a second time for them. But, it all worked out!

Here are the parts:
Posted Image

And in the oven shots!
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Anoremoval and polishing video:


#2 moneyshot

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 03:42 AM

thats awsome thanx for the info. what color did you decide on painting them?

#3 Squirrel

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 04:27 AM

Black of course!!!! B)

#4 Frozen72

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 02:02 AM

I'm going to use this on my Detta and paint the parts Green or some other unuasul color.

#5 nordstuff

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 04:01 PM

Hey B,since you have done those parts how have they held up?Is the new finish durable?

#6 Squirrel

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 04:07 AM

I have not ran the kit since November, so keep that in mind. Moving and school and stuff. But, keep the coats even. If it bubbles a little then that will come off. But, that was fixed. The rest has held up well. I would say that cooking times should be lengthened to get the pieces hot. My 5b pieces are thick and huge so they should have gone in longer but the second coat fixed that.

#7 Always Dreamin

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 09:00 PM

I bought the Greased Lightning..  No luck on my aluminum big bores, it made the finish dull, but didn't remove it fully.  Even after I let them sit for at least an hour..  sad.gif

How long do you have to let them sit?  I'm guessing the Big Bores would take DAYS.

#8 Squirrel

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 09:32 PM

It varies. The thicker it is the longer it takes.

#9 Always Dreamin

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 11:48 PM

So you're saying that it is possible?  I could leave it in for a week and see what happens...  Anyone ever try the Big bores?  They are teflon coated, so I don't know if that makes a difference.  I'm not doing the shocks, just the caps.

#10 Squirrel

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 11:51 PM

I honestly do not know if the greased lightning will do that. I am redoing the vid series with other techniques later on. I also know that there is not one universal way of doing this. This is just one way.

#11 Always Dreamin

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 11:56 PM

Yeah, I noticed a couple of different ways.

I will keep trying new things.

Thanks for all of the great videos/reviews/how-to's, very nice to have!

#12 NeoNot

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 01:46 AM

The easiest way to remove anodizing is to use LYE/Caustic s0da (why cant I type Squirrel's slave namea without an edit???).

Check with your local hardware store. They will usually have a tub of LYE/Caustic s0da that you can purchase to fix drain clogs. I prefer the powder but you can also get it in liquid form by the name Red Devil. I usually mix about 1 cup of LYE to every two gallons of warm waters.

The warmer your water is the quicker the anodizing will be removed. Make sure you use rubber gloves when touching the parts or solution as Lye/caustic s0da can cause chemical burns.

Once the anodizing is removed use an old tooth brush, running water and some dishsoap to clean the parts.

I stripped all the aluminum parts on my Matrix about mid season and reano'd them from a faded red, looked pink, to a dark blue. I used the above method to strip all the parts and had everything down to shiny aluminum in about 5-10 minutes.
Heres a before, durning and after shots.

Before


Stripped Hard Coated shocks


Most of the stuff reanodized. Needs polished for a nice gloss.


Three of the shocks polished up and ready to be rebuilt.


Hope the above helps getting your parts stripped.

#13 Always Dreamin

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 07:18 AM

Thanks, I will try to get to the hardware store and buy some of that stuff.

What do you use to polish them?  I have a rubber-like attachment for my dremmel that I've used to polish brushed motor cans (shiny), wonder if that would do the trick...

Basically, I just have some big bores that need a bit of a "face lift".  I will let you know if it works.

This greased lightning just doesn't do it for these big bores.

#14 NeoNot

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 07:53 PM

QUOTE(Always Dreamin  @ Nov 22 2008, 01:18 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks, I will try to get to the hardware store and buy some of that stuff.

What do you use to polish them?  I have a rubber-like attachment for my dremmel that I've used to polish brushed motor cans (shiny), wonder if that would do the trick...

Basically, I just have some big bores that need a bit of a "face lift".  I will let you know if it works.

This greased lightning just doesn't do it for these big bores.


I have a 1/2 hp bench grinder I converted into a buffer. It has 6 inch felt wheels on it.
You can use the polishing wheels from a dremel but it will take more work to get a high gloss.


If you cant find powdered lye just get some Red Devil. It will work just as well but it costs more due to the name brand sad.gif


#15 jeremycann08

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 09:55 AM

could you use brake fluid to de anodize? it strips paint so could it be used on alloy? or battery acid?

#16 countryboy19

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 04:37 PM

QUOTE(NeoNot @ Nov 21 2008, 08:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The easiest way to remove anodizing is to use LYE/Caustic s0da (why cant I type Squirrel's slave namea without an edit???).

Check with your local hardware store. They will usually have a tub of LYE/Caustic s0da that you can purchase to fix drain clogs. I prefer the powder but you can also get it in liquid form by the name Red Devil. I usually mix about 1 cup of LYE to every two gallons of warm waters.

The warmer your water is the quicker the anodizing will be removed. Make sure you use rubber gloves when touching the parts or solution as Lye/caustic s0da can cause chemical burns.

Once the anodizing is removed use an old tooth brush, running water and some dishsoap to clean the parts.

I stripped all the aluminum parts on my Matrix about mid season and reano'd them from a faded red, looked pink, to a dark blue. I used the above method to strip all the parts and had everything down to shiny aluminum in about 5-10 minutes.
Heres a before, durning and after shots.

Before


Stripped Hard Coated shocks


Most of the stuff reanodized. Needs polished for a nice gloss.


Three of the shocks polished up and ready to be rebuilt.


Hope the above helps getting your parts stripped.


how did you color the shocks?


#17 jeremycann08

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 12:13 AM

dont leave them in too long, they come out dull sad.gif

#18 sonicj

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 11:13 PM

Squirrel's slave nameium hydroxide (NaOH) is the caustic base in those products that removes the anodizing. i would highly recommend eye protection or better yet face protection, long sleeves, chemical gloves, etc. lye reacts in a nasty way with human tissue!

i've done this with some bicycle parts with amazing results!

#19 NeoNot

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 05:09 PM

QUOTE(jeremycann08 @ Jan 10 2009, 03:55 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
could you use brake fluid to de anodize? it strips paint so could it be used on alloy? or battery acid?

No, brake fluid will not remove anodizing. Anodized parts are not painted they are dyed. When you anodize a part you are actually doing a controlled oxidizing process, aka causing the part to rust. Since we are talking about aluminum it however does not rust it simply creates a layer of crystals called aluminum oxide. These crystals are actually stronger than the bare aluminum surface they are grown from and are transparent which allows us to color them any color we want, except white.

QUOTE(countryboy19 @ Jan 10 2009, 10:37 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
how did you color the shocks?

I anodized the parts and then dyed them. Anodizing a aluminum part requires a part to be suspended in a electrolite bath, usually sulfric acid and distilled water, and a DC Voltage passed through them for a given time. This causes the crystal layer to go. Once the anodizing is done you then suspend the part in a dye solution to give the parts there color.


QUOTE(jeremycann08 @ Jan 10 2009, 06:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
dont leave them in too long, they come out dull sad.gif

This is why you use a buffing wheel when you are done. Stripped aluminum will come out looking very dull do the imperfections in the surface. By buffing the part you are removing the imperfections and giving the part a nice even surface which makes it shine.


#20 Always Dreamin

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 05:47 PM

Just tried greased lightning with some FT dog bones...

I must be doing something wrong...






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