A guide to Anodize your Titanium on a budget

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ChibiM
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A guide to Anodize your Titanium on a budget

Please only do this at your own risk. It can be dangerous, and harmful!!

A basic budget guide to anodize Titanium!


Do you have a titanium light sitting on your shelf, and give it a make over...

You probably have most of the stuff already at home to do this....

What you need:

  1. A bunch of 9V batteries
  2. Pepsi coke
  3. piece of cloth
  4. Alligator clips
  5. jar/can that will work as a bath
  6. rubber hand gloves
  7. And last but not least, something made of Titanium

(I deleted Tape and Jumpers because of DBCstm`s tips... also, you won`t need the piece of cloth if you dip the whole titanium piece inside the bath)

Here is what I did:

  1. First connect all batteries together, in Series.

 

2. Then connect 1 of the alligator clips on the farthest Positive of the series of batteries, and the other on the farthest Negative side of the batteries..

3. Now connect the positive Alligator clip to the titanium piece. In my case, an ITP A3 titanium.
(I took pictures after playing with it)

4. On the Negative side, attach a piece of cloth/sponge (see above)

5. Now put the piece of cloth into the Pepsi

6. Touch the cloth/sponge to the titanium, and keep it until the color has set..

7. and you are "painting" your titanium.

 

Please only do this at your own risk. It can be dangerous, and harmful!

 

Each color has its own voltage.
I started with only 1 battery, and added 1 each time... Every time you will notice a slight change in color.
Depending on the materials you use, you can use the following picture as a guide line.

Be careful not to touch the Negative alligator clip to the Titanium as it will result in a short.
It happened to me about 3 times... nothing major.
Please wear rubber hand gloves for your own safety.

 

2. Second way of doing it:

You can also dip the light into a jar/glass etc to get an even color all over.
I have only done that for a short time...
See the following picture; very shallow in my case

In that case, just put the wet piece of cloth, that is attached to the Negative alligator clips into the coke.
This will give an more even result.


Here my results of my first try......

  • Another great thing about this style of anodizing is that it is reversible. You can bring it back to its old look, by polishing it or use a metal cleaner.

 With my second attempt, I used tape.. you can use water resistant masking tape, but I used some of my heat resistant tape..

When you do this, you have to start with the highest Volt.. as the lower volts will not change the color of the higher volts! but visa versa they do.

 

I want to thank Guy from MBI for his great tips and ideas and of some helpful links.
He is anodizing titanium professionally, and his stuff looks gorgeous, not done with pepsi. 

Hopefully you will find this helpful, as an alternative to baking aluminum lights Wink

Edited by: ChibiM on 10/07/2014 - 22:37
ChibiM
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Power supply

  • You can of course use a power supply or car/motorcycle batteries, but 9V batteries might be a cheaper and safer option.. on the budget.
  • You can even use heat to "color" your titanium, but the effect will be less controllable.

With better stuff, you could get much brighter colors.. mine are a bit dull in comparison..
and if you want to do it perfect, you can buy a professional setup. but this is especially written for us budgeteers.

Links:

 

DB Custom
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I used a plastic coffee container for a bin, and borax for the solution.

You DO realize that 9V batteries clip together, right? Wink Makes it easy to run as large a series as required and only use the two leads from the opposing ends.

I’ve done this at home with very nice success. Even anodized my Mission Ti folding knife, blade and all! :bigsmile:

Remember that the colors “stack”. You can re-do the color going up in the voltage but you can’t back down for a lesser color without stripping the Ti part and starting over. So if you wanted to paint gold designs on a blue background, for instance, you could anodize the entire part blue, then use the sponge technique at the higher voltage to paint your design, or sign it, or whatever. Pretty cool stuff!

Thanks for the heads-up!

ChibiM
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Thanks for the great tip DBCstm...I wasn`t aware of that,  I should have done that in the first place , as I have the feeling I`m building up some resistance with all those clips.

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Wow very cool, I have seen this done DIY before but never a how to, thank you for typing it up.

How does it hold up with hard use? I would definitely like to do the lock scale of my edc knife (small Sebenza 21 CF), do you know what the outcome will be starting on bead blasted Ti instead of shiney /partially polished? Guess I’ll need to get some 9v batteries and some scrap Ti to practice on.

 RIP  SPC Joey Riley, KIA 11/24/14. Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

DB Custom
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My only experience with bead blasted came out a deep purple. It’s not actually anodizing, has more of an oil slick rainbow end result, so the bead blasted finish can’t react the same way as a smooth surface.

The Mission MPF is 100% beta Titanium, blade, handles, screws, clip, spacers, all of it.

DB Custom
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Oh, and here’s some actual Ti wires anodized at different voltages to give a better idea of what you’ll get. Still kind of hit and miss though, depending on the solution and power supply.

MRsDNF
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Nicely done. I like the cross pattern.

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

ChibiM
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Cereal_killer wrote:
Wow very cool, I have seen this done DIY before but never a how to, thank you for typing it up. How does it hold up with hard use? I would definitely like to do the lock scale of my edc knife (small Sebenza 21 CF), do you know what the outcome will be starting on bead blasted Ti instead of shiney /partially polished? Guess I'll need to get some 9v batteries and some scrap Ti to practice on.

I don`t actually know.. The first time I`ve heard about anodizing titanium on a budget was last Thursday... so I have no idea how long it will last.

Because you can "sand" the anodizing off, I guess it will hold up quite well, but not perfect.

edit: I also just read that its better to have a nice polished finish before you start doing you anodizing

sinner
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Now i know what i’ll be doing in my free time.

ChibiM
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sinner wrote:
Now i know what i'll be doing in my free time.

yeah... if you can get the right ingredients (better ones than pepsi) you can get even more vivid colors.

this is my last try.. last night..

just at a higher voltage.. some colors diappeared from last time.

 

edit: Im gonna update the OP with the easier battery connection method DBCstm mentioned. Hopefully will do that tonight or otherwise sometime this week.

DB Custom
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Since this isn’t really anodizing, it won’t hold up over time. Titanium is self healing, creating a clear protective layer in a reaction to Oxygen when “injured”. So wear and tear will cause the surface to go back to it’s natural color over time. Trying to put a protective sealant on it will dull the vibrant hues.

On the plus side, it’s easy to do so maintenance is fairly quick and easy.

On this Sinner Ti host, I fully disassembled it and, using large flat fender washers on each end, ran a 3/8” all thread through it to hold it, with a nut on each end. Then I mounted the all thread in my drill press and set it to spinning. The color is from heat. I used a propane torch to heat it and concentrated more on the head for the bolder purple/blue colors. Less heat down the battery tube to the tail cap resulted in a gold that very closely simulates the brass end. Smile

ChibiM
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Updated the pics in the OP with the batteries connected as DBCstm had pointed out in post #2.

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On the Mr Titanium page linked to above by ChibiM it’s said purple is sensitive to fingerprints, I wonder why that is, and what happens? Can fingerprints stick to it so the pattern is vaguely etched into the surface? I will put my money on it being the effects of magic.

will34
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If you leave any fingerprints on the surface prior to anodizing it, it will stay there as long as the color. This happened to me when heating up a ti clip, left a nasty fingerprint on it and had to remove with fine sandpaper, which removed the color as well.

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Interesting. Really came here because of lack of specific results when searching for soldering titanium. Some of you may have tried it already, don't you?

Right now I am to install a new LD-25 driver inside what once was CRX's Thrunite T20T. There's driver shelf, but no retaining ring. Lack of retaining ring is no problem with regards to holding the driver in place, a good deal of thermal glue will do that. Adequate negative ring driver contact to the flashlight body is another question. Besides the thermal glue inside the driver pocket I've thought of setting a layer of solder paste over the negative/ground driver head shelf, to then give it hot air gun treatment… 

If anyone has something worthwhile to say please do so. Thanks.

 

Smile