The process of anodizing aluminum utilizes a weak acid bath and an electrical current to draw out the aluminum oxide from the raw aluminum. As this oxide precipitates on the surface of the aluminum it produces two valuable consequences. First of all, it creates a porous surface that readily accepts dyes and that also is resistant to further corrosion and scratching. Secondly, the precipitation of the aluminum oxide transitions the raw aluminum into aluminum hydrate, which is significantly harder and more durable than raw aluminum.
1. Prep the raw aluminum to be anodized by soaking it in a hot bath of sodium hydroxide. This will remove impurities from the surface of the aluminum.
2. Heat up your sulfuric acid bath to 68 to 70 degrees F. Charge the solution by placing the ends of your 12-volt charger into the solution. Submerge the cleaned aluminum in this acid bath and allow it to sit for about two hours.
3. Rinse the anodized aluminum in boiling water to stop the oxidation process. If you want to add color to the anodized aluminum, submerge the aluminum in a heated dye solution that has a temperature of about 90 degrees F. The dye solution can be made by mixing one part fabric dye to two parts water. Gradually raise the temperature to between 130 and 140 degrees and keep it at this temperature for about 30 to 40 minutes.
4. Remove the dyed aluminum and rinse with boiling water. Then place it in a vegetable steamer for 30 minutes to set the dye.