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How to Anodize Aluminum Parts: Everything You Need to Know

Views: 13     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-12-13      Origin: Site

The anodizing process is one of the necessary steps in manufacturing a product and is necessary for the beauty and durability of the finished product. While different materials can be used for this process, aluminum is the most common and essential. If you are new to machining, you may need to become more familiar with anodizing or how to anodize aluminum.

Kaiao is a well-known provider of additive manufacturing services, products, and solutions, offering a superior experience in developing additive manufacturing products and solutions.

In this article, Kaiao will take you through everything you need about anodizing aluminum parts. This will examine what anodizing aluminum is, how it is done, and why it is done.

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What is Anodized Aluminum?

It is a popular finishing method that uses non-ferrous metals like magnesium, titanium, and magnesium. Anodized aluminum has undergone special processing to produce an incredibly durable coating.

It requires an electrochemical procedure that changes the outer surface of aluminum and metal pieces into a strong and remarkably corrosion and scratch-resistant coating. This procedure also gives the aluminum parts a more appealing aesthetic. Upon application, It produces a sparkling finish and a selection of colors.

How Does the Anodizing of Aluminum Work?

The first thing you need to know before knowing how to anodize aluminum is to understand how it works. Virtually all aluminum parts can be anodized. Whether it was produced using sheet metal fabrication or has been CNC machined. Anodizing might seem complex because of the series of electrochemical reactions, but it is straightforward and cost-effective. As a result, it is very common across the manufacturing industry.

What Are the Steps in Anodizing Aluminum

No matter how anodizing might seem, the steps are pretty straightforward. These are the two  basic steps in anodizing aluminum:

Step 1

Before anodization can start, the aluminum must be cleaned, which is essential for removing any debris or impurity affecting the process.

Step 2

The second step is the direct application of electric current by placing the aluminum parts into an electrolyte solution bath. The electrolyte plates in the solution and the aluminum acquire positive and negative electric charges, respectively.  Pores are created on the surface of the aluminum part as a result of the electrochemical reaction, which allows the negatively charged oxygen to bond with the aluminum substrate to produce aluminum oxide.

This step explains what anodized aluminum means. The part's surface develops a barrier layer of anodic oxide, and this protective layer is stronger and more long-lasting than the aluminum beneath it.

What Are the Materials for Anodizing Process?

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According to the principles of anodizing, it can only work on conductive materials like metals. However, different metals can be used aside from aluminum. Titanium and magnesium can also be used.

People also ask if it’s possible to use steel or stainless steel for anodization. Well, it is not possible because there is a formation of iron oxide ( rust) on the steel, and the iron oxide produced does not form a tenacious, tight, corrosion-resistant coating on the stainless steel. So this proves it can’t be anodized.

What Are the Types of Anodizing Aluminum Processes?

It is also essential to know the different processes of anodizing aluminum, the most suitable one for you, and their differences. There are three significant types of aluminum, and they all give different aesthetics and functional results. They include:

Chromic Acid Anodize

This is the first type of process, and it uses chronic acid to produce a thin coating on the surface of aluminum parts. However, it is the thinnest form of anodization, but it produces parts with high corrosion resistance. When dyed, it produces parts with the least color absorption. It is suitable for creating pieces with high corrosion resistance, like aircraft parts.

Sulfuric Acid Anodize

This is the second type of anodizing process. Instead of chronic acid, this second type uses sulfuric acid. It produces parts that have slightly thicker surfaces than the first type. Sulphuric acid anodize has a thickness that ranges from 0.0002 to 0.001 inches, and it is the best for dyeing parts. It is suitable for producing kitchenware, aircraft components, architectural components, and finished consumer goods. It is ideal for producing robust metal parts.

Hardcoat Anodize

This is the third type of anodizing process, also known as hard anodizing. This process also uses the sulfuric acid method, but it gives a thicker result (greater than 0.001 inches)

Hard anodizing parts have the best color dyeing potential and abrasion resistance. However, there might be better solutions for products with incredibly precise tolerance.

You might need help deciding which anodizing is best for your project. This is where Ares Prototype comes in. We can quickly take care of such problems by making expert recommendations depending on your project. You can contact us and upload your design files.

Different Color Options for Anodized Aluminum?

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Another point to consider before anodizing aluminum is the range of colors available.  One of the fantastic benefits of anodizing is its wide range of color options. There are four standard anodizing colors for aluminum: clear, bronze, champagne, and black.

At Kaiao, you can choose the color you desire by looking at color cards with Pantone numbers.

Benefits Of Anodized Aluminum

Aluminum is a widely utilized material because of its unique properties. Even though aluminum does not rust, it is sensitive to other conditions like wear and tear due to oxygen exposure. These are some of the top advantages of anodized aluminum:

Improved Surface Effect

Aesthetics is another reason that influences many customers to go for anodization. Metal components can also be colored, and the color options are almost limitless. This comprises an anodized metal that is transparent, black, blue, gold, grey, red, and several other colors.

High Quality

The finishing process greatly improves the quality of the parts' surface, including increasing weather resistance, scratch, and corrosion. Because of the electrochemical process, the barrier layer created with anodizing becomes a part of the component. This implies that, unlike paint coatings, they cannot peel or chip.

Increased Insulating Properties

Anodizing aluminum gives aluminum its insulating properties, which gives it a lower electrical conductivity than it used to.

Tips for Designing an Anodized Aluminum

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It is not hard to learn how to anodize aluminum components. However, a few pointers will make the procedure go more smoothly, especially if you're a novice. These are some of the tips you can use:

Consider Working in Batches

If you want to color your aluminum products or parts, it is better to do them in batches. This ensures a higher degree of color uniformity because it might be difficult to match color ideally from one collection to the next. Anodizing a small set of aluminum components at once is the best option for maintaining color consistency.

Use Other Finishing Steps

Anodizing is electrochemical, so it doesn’t have the same impact as polishing or bead blasting. The surface of an aluminum machined object that is immediately anodized is likely to have some machining scuffs or blemishes still.

As a result of this, it may be better to utilize polishing, bead blasting, or another mechanical finishing procedure if you need a perfectly consistent surface finish. Anodizing will ensure the part's surface will be smoother than before.

Industries Where Anodized Aluminum Finds Its Application

Anodizing is a top-notch and cost-effective finishing process. It is very popular, and it finds its application across various industries. You can’t go a day without coming across one or two of the anodizing products. For example, duct covers, photo Raul, electronic casing, light fixtures, kitchen equipment, and radio equipment are all products of anodization. These are some of the top industries that use anodizing:

● Homeward sector

● Consumer goods

● Architecture

● Automotive

● Automotive

● Aerospace


Anodizing is essential in product manufacturing. This guide has answered all kinds of questions you might have regarding anodization.

At Kaiao, anodizing is one of our essential finishing solutions for metal parts, alongside electroplating, polishing, painting, powder coating, brushing, and bead blasting. Our experienced team is highly knowledgeable in the anodizing process and ensures high-quality aluminum components to our customers. To check if anodizing is the best finishing solution for your item or product or a price, please get in touch with a member of the Kaiao team. We're here to help you!


What is the Cost of Anodization?

One of the main reasons why anodizing is a common finishing technique is because it is very economical. However, several variables affect the process's cost. This comprises color, anodizing type, number, size, and shape of the parts.

How Long Does an Anodized Aluminum Last?

In contrast to paint coatings, they cannot peel or chip away. A correctly anodized component should stay intact over many years.

Similarly, properly sealed colored anodized parts shouldn't fade for at least five years and  even longer. You should also be aware that the anodized layer's thickness (Type III is the thickest) determines how much wear the component will endure.

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