Anodize & Polish Aluminum

Motorcycle parts, if made of aluminum, can be anodized.

Anodizing, the chemical process of coloring aluminum, allows you to put a custom finish on almost any aluminum object. The aluminum object that you wish to anodize needs to be clean and able to fit in a metal pot. Anodizing at home is substantially cheaper than having a professional shop do it for you. It is a common way to add color to paintball guns, aluminum decorations, model cars and aluminum car parts. Once you anodize a piece of aluminum, polishing it will make it look perfect.


Applying Current

1. Cut the aluminum wire to about 4 feet in length and strip the last 8 inches of the rubber casing off. Form a loop with the stripped wire and cover it with aluminum foil to create a paddle shape. Place this in the bottom of the rubber bucket.

2. Attach the other end of the aluminum wire to the negative terminal of the battery charger.

3. Put on your goggles and rubber gloves. Sulfuric acid can burn and blind you if you come in contact with it. Also, be careful to prevent electrical shock since the next few steps will deal with electricity. Never touch any exposed wires while the battery charger is on.

4. Pour two parts sulfuric acid to one part water in the bucket. Create enough solution to fully submerge whatever part that you wish to anodize.

5. Connect the positive lead from the battery charger to the aluminum object you wish to anodize using a clamp. Place it in the acid solution and ensure that it is fully covered by the acid. Do not allow the positive and negative leads to touch.

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6. Turn on the battery charger and allow the current to flow through the acid solution and aluminum part. The aluminum will start to form bubbles, and after 10-15 minutes it will stop. Turn off the battery charger and remove the aluminum piece from the bucket to wash with cold water.

Coloring Aluminum

7. Add a mixture of fabric dye and water to the cake pan. The fabric dye bottle will have directions outlining an appropriate mixture.

8. Place the aluminum object in the cake pan ensuring that it is completely covered by the fabric dye solution. Turn on the stove to a low setting and place the pan on the burner. Move the aluminum piece around every few minutes to ensure even coloring. Once the piece is slightly darker than what you wish the finished product to be, remove it from the cake pan.

9. Put the aluminum piece in a pot of boiling water to seal the anodized surface. This step will lighten the aluminum slightly, bringing it to the intended color and darkness. Remove from the boiling water and allow to cool down. Wash the object thoroughly with soap and water.

Polishing the Aluminum

10. Put the aluminum polish on a soft towel. A dime-size amount will suffice.

11. Rub the polish into the surface of the aluminum in circular motions.

12. Wipe away the polish from the object with a clean towel. This will remove excess polish and make your aluminum object shine.