How To Bad Problems While Anodizing Titanium

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Florian., May 1, 2020.

  1. Florian.

    Florian.

    38
    May 1, 2020
    Lately I was trying to figure out how to anodize titanium successfully. But sadly I failed. I watched a lot of YouTube videos and read a lot about this topic on the internet and I still did not find the solution for my problems.

    What I use and how:

    -DC power supply (0-120V, 0-3A)
    -electrolyte: TSP in distilled water or vinegar essence (pure or mixed with distilled water)
    -cathode: stainless steel bowl
    -anode: titanium grade 5 (every part I tested)
    -I do not etch the surface of the titanium before anodizing but I sand the surface before and clean it with glass cleaner.

    The problems:

    1. The pitting:

    Sadly I experience a lot of pitting on the titanium while anodizing. I experience it with vinegar and TSP as an electrolyte, with tiny and big parts and with big and minimal amounts of TSP or vinegar. Through a lot of hours of testing I found out a few interesting things:
    -Always when the pitting starts the titanium does not reach the desired color and the showed amps on the power supply do not drop to 0.
    -The less TSP I use in the distilled water the later the pitting begins. (with "later" I mean higher voltage) Even when I use almost no TSP (1ml of TSP in ~1l of water) I experience pitting in the higher voltages.
    -When the titanium is submerged and I turn up the voltage very slowly the pitting sometimes appears later or not at all. However sometimes it still comes to pitting.
    -I do not see a big difference if the power supply is turned to around 1 or 3 A.

    2. The dull colors:

    An other problem that I experience are the dull colors. The colors from 0 to 40 volts seem to be reasonable. But all the colors above that are a lot duller than they could be. Maybe you think that that happens due to not etching the parts. But that is actually not the case. I know that brighter colors without etching are possible. (more on that later)

    "Mysterious" phenomena:

    -Sometimes when I test anodizing a titanium wire every thing works perfect. Even the colors in the high voltages are bright and beautiful. But later when I test an other piece of the same wire with the exact settings it etches again and looks bad.
    -Sometimes the parts do not etch (but they still look dull) when I slowly turn up the voltage but sometimes the do.

    Hopefully someone has an idea for a solution. I appreciate every little help.
     
  2. rpfarris

    rpfarris

    18
    Mar 19, 2020
    There is a possibility that it could be current related. Maybe the process is going too fast. I see that you turned down the current to 1A, but 9V batteries produce even less. I would experiment by adding a resistor in series with the circuit. I have no idea how much, but I'd probably but a potentiometer in the circuit so I could adjust it. What is the peak current now?
     
  3. Stang Bladeworks

    Stang Bladeworks

    661
    Feb 19, 2018
    Use multi etch, it makes all the difference. It needs to be used hot (170f).
     
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  4. Florian.

    Florian.

    38
    May 1, 2020
    When a potentiometer would be required would not it mean that the power supply is not working good enough? I saw videos where a guy was using the same power supply (wanptek KPS1203D) succesfully. He also anodizes with 3A without problems:
    What do you exactly mean with peak current?
     
  5. Florian.

    Florian.

    38
    May 1, 2020
    My intention was not to etch the parts before anodizing because I want to leave the smooth and reflective finish. It also has to be possible to achieve good colors and no pitting in the higher voltages without using multi etch because some maker are doing this, for example the Grimsmos.
     
  6. Stang Bladeworks

    Stang Bladeworks

    661
    Feb 19, 2018
    In my experience it is not possible. The grimsmos literally have a multi etch tutorial. If you polish a surface prior to etching you will still get a brighter color. Different surface prep still yields different results even with multi etch. You will not get better results without it.
     
  7. Florian.

    Florian.

    38
    May 1, 2020
    Yes, you can get brighter colors with multi etch but as far as i know the colors can be reasonable without it.
    This is what the Grimsmos said when I asked them in the comments if they etch the parts:
    "Usually no. We do have multietch and whink but don't use them that much." ()
    Here they are not etching before anodizing green:
     
  8. Danke42

    Danke42

    Feb 10, 2015
    I found this to be a really good basic how to video.

     
  9. Florian.

    Florian.

    38
    May 1, 2020
    Thank you!
    I already analysed this video and did not find a solution to my problems.
     
  10. Danke42

    Danke42

    Feb 10, 2015
    It sounds like you've reached a peak of what your system can do. Just like mountain climbing you can't just leap to the next mountain in line.

    I would do a complete reset and start fresh and start small until you get the results you want and then move on to more complex finishes.
     
  11. Florian.

    Florian.

    38
    May 1, 2020
    If I understand you right, this is exactly what I try to do. When I take a freshly sanded and cleaned 20mm long and 1.5mm thick titanium rod and try to anodize it, for example at 80V, it does not work. The rod suffers from pitting and looks ugly and dull.
     
  12. razorburn

    razorburn Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2007
    How many amps are you using?
     
  13. Florian.

    Florian.

    38
    May 1, 2020
    I experimented with different settings. I used the least amount of amps that were required to run the power supply and the most amount (~3A). The problems occurred in both situations. However, the power supply does not show the preset amps on the display.
     
  14. razorburn

    razorburn Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2007
    What I understand and heard from some is that this type of low cost power supply is not lab grade.On mine,a black Wanptek 120V 3amps when its turned on it only shows the first two displays for Voltage not Amps.It only when I draw current that the amps display.
     
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  15. Florian.

    Florian.

    38
    May 1, 2020
    It is the same on mine. I have a very similar power supply from Wanptek. Therefore the experience should be similar on both of our power sipplies. What was your experience with this power supply? Did you experience any of these problems? Do you set it to max. A?
     
  16. Sharp & Fiery

    Sharp & Fiery Always Embellish Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 14, 2012
    This is without multi-etch.
    I’d say its pretty vibrant. ;)
    B0673603-9532-45AE-AA0D-DCF926D8DAA7.jpeg

    Edit to add...no pitting. Zilch.
     
  17. Florian.

    Florian.

    38
    May 1, 2020
    That is pretty good!
    Is this the high voltage orange?
     
  18. razorburn

    razorburn Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2007
    I haven't started anodizing as I misplaced my titanium wire but I have tested the voltage and amps on a digital multimeter.
     
  19. Sharp & Fiery

    Sharp & Fiery Always Embellish Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 14, 2012
    Low voltage gold/bronze. Under 20V
     
  20. Korean Hog

    Korean Hog Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 12, 2017
    I'm not usually a fan of the customizing I see going on with folks' CRKs.
    Normally, I think the factory gets it right and the aesthetic simplicity is part of what makes a CRK look so great.
    With that said, this looks DAMN good. It's still simple and clean but with a serious splash of tasteful color.
    Great job sir!!
     
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