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    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Anodizing Removal

    What's the best or the easiest way to remove aluminum anodizing from a component? Thanks...
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    The duda man Knudsen's Avatar
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    It is etched into the metal, you would have to machine it off to the depth of the anodization. It's basically an acid etch.
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    Some oven cleaners will get rid of anodizing apparently.

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    Taking "s" outta "Fast" AfterThisNap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dooley
    Some oven cleaners will get rid of anodizing apparently.
    nah, it doesn't work.
    It's not "etched" into the metal, just sealed into the pores. There is a product made specifically to remove it. Check out the review:

    http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/articles/polishing/
    Carries suspicious allegiance to Brooklyn Machine Works.

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    jur
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    Simple. Soak in sodium hydroxide - it dissolves anodising. Important to experiment how long. You're on your own.
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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    You can just sand it off with a pad sander:

    http://community.webshots.com/photo/...8014369ISyCwl#

    This particular post had a rough finish that had to be smoothed out before it could be polished. I used a cotton wheel and rouge for the final polishing. I taped off the part that would be inserted into the seat tube so I didn't cause a loose fit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jur
    Simple. Soak in sodium hydroxide - it dissolves anodising. Important to experiment how long. You're on your own.
    It sure will. It will also dissolve the underlying aluminum. Bad idea. The oven cleaner recommendation is based (pun unintended) on the same chemistry. Most oven cleaners contain sodium hydroxide (aka lye)

    BTW, anodizing is actually a very thin layer of aluminum oxide formed electrically on the surface. It is not a coating and is not an "acid etch". It's removal will allow the Al to discolor and dull with time so be sure to ptrotect it if you remove the anodizing chemically or mechanically.

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    The duda man Knudsen's Avatar
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    Is anodization not performed with a DC current in an acid bath? Another byproduct of sodium hydroxide-ing the part is production of hydrogen.

    Another thought, if removing the anodization because the color is not liked, the part will be susecptible to corrosion if it is not anodized again.
    Last edited by Knudsen; 05-14-06 at 09:21 AM.
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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    The unprotected aluminum parts on my French road bikes have been that that way since the early seventies with only occasional polishing. Oxidation of aluminum parts is not a problem if you don't leave them out in the weather.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knudsen
    Is anodization not performed with a DC current in an acid bath? Another byproduct of sodium hydroxide-ing the part is production of hydrogen.

    Another thought, if removing the anodization because the color is not liked, the part will be susecptible to corrosion if it is not anodized again.
    Yes, but the oxide layer is electrically formed, not the result of an "acid etch".

    And yes, removal of the anodizing will open the part to corrosion and discoloration if it's not replaced or a protective wax, etc, isn't used.

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    The duda man Knudsen's Avatar
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    That's cool, I'd be cautious here in the salt belt.
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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    The truck wheels are ten years old, bare aluminum, get polished maybe twice a year and is never garaged. I live a quarter mile from the San Francisco Bay. That crankset it stripped and polished too. Don't worry about oxidation of aluminum parts. It's not a problem in the real world.

    http://community.webshots.com/photo/...68014369ZmdEeX

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    Don't ever sand or grind off anodizing. Oven cleaner or sodium hydroxide works fine. I've done this dozens of times with no problems.

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    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcoine
    Don't ever sand or grind off anodizing.
    I've heard that too because it weakens the alloy, or something like that...
    Knowing that, I just spent a couple of hours sanding a headset cup...
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fixer
    I've heard that too because it weakens the alloy, or something like that...
    Knowing that, I just spent a couple of hours sanding a headset cup...
    soaking in oven cleaner would have done a better job in about a minute.

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    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcoine
    soaking in oven cleaner would have done a better job in about a minute.
    The other cups will get the oven cleaner treatment this evening...
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    "Purgatory Central" Wino Ryder's Avatar
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    I've been stripping and polishing bike components for years. You can take the advice of the posters who recommended oven cleaner and benefit from it, or you can sand the part and possibly ruin it. Up to you!

    Spray-on oven cleaner like "Easy Off", or some other good brand will make short work of aluminum anodise, and will polish up quick on a motor buffer to the appearance of "show chrome". The finish will be etched slightly, but that will polish out and look beautiful in no time. When you finish, shoot it with clear lacquer, or you can just leave it alone and hand polish it every month or so.

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    I stripped off the black anodizing off a couple of components using Lye (a caustic drain cleaner, probably very similar to the oven cleaners already mentioned). You add some lye to a tub of water and place the part into the solution for about 5 minutes or so. On one stem (an older Ritchey Pro) that was all it took, the part came out very clean, just needed a little washing to remove a couple of stubborn black spots.

    For a Ritchey WCS stem I did the same thing, but I needed to use a sponge with a scrubbing side on it to remove a layer of anodize that seemed to have come off the part, and then reattached itself to the part again while in the solution. Just a little elbow grease was all that was required.

    In both cases I then used some metal polish to sparkle up the piece, and then sprayed some clearcoat over them to protect them a little from the elements.

    WARNING/DISCLAIMER: Lye is VERY nasty. You need to use the correct protection if you are going to work with it! Eye protection and gloves are essential (it will blind you if you get it in your eyes!!!), and work in a well-ventilated area, or preferably outside!

    Here's an example of how the Ritchey WCS stem turned out:

    EDIT: Here is a some relevant link that talk you through the process:
    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/sho...63707#poststop
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by JackTheLadd; 05-14-06 at 04:19 PM.

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    The only reason not to grind or sand off anodizing is the fact that you'll have o remove the grinding marks. Which is only practical if you have accesss to proper polishing brushes and mops.

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    The duda man Knudsen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
    (SNIP) It's not a problem in the real world.(SNIP)
    Ummmm, who's worlds not real here?

    I should post a pic of my wife's aluminum rims on her Grand Marq. Took about two years in the salt belt to look like crap Man, I wish they would just sand the roads...

    Not saying bare aluminum isn't working for what you are doing.
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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dooley
    The only reason not to grind or sand off anodizing is the fact that you'll have o remove the grinding marks. Which is only practical if you have accesss to proper polishing brushes and mops.
    I was about to tell you that you're full of it because I do it all the time without those things, but I suppose it depends on your definition of practical. It took me a week of evenings to strip and polish a crank, and that wouldn't be practical if I didn't enjoy it. I spent two hours Friday night polishing a seat post. Someone else might not think that's practical, but I don't care. The only specialized tools I use are a Porter Cable pad sander, a spiral-sewn cotton wheel and a big Delta drill press to spin it. I could probably get it done faster with better equipment, but I'm not in a hurry. I enjoy the time I spend working in my little garage shop. It beats watching t.v.

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    The duda man Knudsen's Avatar
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    I can relate to that, Dirtdrop. That's when it's fun, when it's just for fun. I can spend hours out in my underfunded shop. Usually the only thing I make is a sore back and a mess, but it sho is fun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
    The truck wheels are ten years old, bare aluminum, get polished maybe twice a year and is never garaged. I live a quarter mile from the San Francisco Bay. That crankset it stripped and polished too. Don't worry about oxidation of aluminum parts. It's not a problem in the real world.
    Interesting. But, why do Al wheel manufacturers warn not to damage the clearcoat or other protective coating on their wheels because corrosion damage will result?

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    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Ok....Easy Off Oven Cleaner worked. Procceeded to strip anoziding off from the remaining Cane Creek Solos headset pieces. I then polished them with some rouge and buffer wheel. The headset looks good...and thanks for all the advice and ideas...
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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    Interesting. But, why do Al wheel manufacturers warn not to damage the clearcoat or other protective coating on their wheels because corrosion damage will result?
    Maybe because they know that most people can't be bothered to keep the corrosive brake dust cleaned off of their wheels.

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