Anodizing set-up

Hello there. Does anyone have an easily digestable list of things one
needs for an anodizing station? I’ve done it before and know the
steps, but the particular name of the voltage producing thing and so
forth escapes me. I’ve seen online guides, but they bog me down with
plot filler instead of a short and sweet ingredient list of items.
Any help?

My thanks, A-

OK, presuming you wish to anodize the reactive metals and not

Anodizer - 0-100+ volt DC power supply Plastic bowl a little larger
then the pieces you plan to anodize A strip of titanium or stainless
steel to surround the bowl as cathode. Bottled/distilled water mixed
with TSP (TriSodium Phosphate) or Automatic Dish washing detergent
or straight Coke-A-Cola.

That is the basics.


Thank you, Bill, Deborah, Michele & Sarah
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc.

800/876-3434 - 928/634-3434 - F928/634-6734

Colouring Titanium:

  1. Heat colouring titanium can be controllable - support the work on
    mesh and do it slowly with a cool bushy flame under it.

Colouring Niobium and Titanium:

  1. Anodising. Be very careful when operating the anodiser as it uses
    mains voltage.


DC Power source.

Zero to mains - 0v to 110 (or 220v in UK, Aussie, NZ etc) variable
transformer, 2A fuse, double-insulated.

DC output: 2.5 amp current. Wiring diagram available.

Electrolyte: dishwashing detergent in water.

Container: plastic salad bowl, with strainer inside the bowl.

Cathode: connect a strip of titanium to the black negative (-) lead
above the waterline, submerge the rest of the strip in between the
plastic bowl/strainer.

Anode: connect Ti wire to the red positive (+) lead and fully
insulate all parts that you handle.


About 2 tablespoons dishwash in 2 litres water. Oppi Untracht writes
of the Ti/Nb anodising electrolyte as a mix of phosphoric and nitric
acids but when reality checks in all you need is water with a bit of
resistance in it. To colour properly the current has to travel from
the anode wire (+) to the work, then through the electrolyte, to the
cathode (-).

Put the work piece in the electrolyte and prepare to touch it with
the (+) wire. It won’t scratch the surface.

Voltage setting.

You cannot say that one voltage will produce one colour. The colours
are voltage-dependent to a degree, but not entirely, as size of the
workpiece has a big bearing on the colour at any one voltage. Switch
on power at (say) 25v and watch the colour happen. With the voltage
setting at the one low setting such as 25v the whole piece will
become a colour all over depending on ths size factor. Just wing it
for the colour you want. Raise the voltage and try for another
colour. Watch and see.

It’s not a given that all anodised Ti (and niobium) will come out
even-coloured. Surface quality has a bearing so degrease the piece
well. Parts near the cathode get coloured earlier, and it’s
irrespective of where you touch the anode wire to the work. Pointy
and narrow bits colour up earlier too. Unlike anodising aluminium
where very dangerous currents are used, in anodising the reactive
metals the amperage is lower (way less than an amp), so no arcing
happens where the anode wire touches, except at about 150v up.

I recommend you buy the anodising machine from Reactive Metals. They
sell a lot of other useful stuff - get their paintbrush attachment
and paint your designs.

NO RESPONSIBILITY, the usual riders etc, for all this advice. I
don’t know how competent you are with this sort of equipment.

Brian Adam

B r i a n A d a m a n d R u t h B a i r d
AUCKLAND New Zealand

One of the best anodizing solutions is coca cola, another is to mix
tsp with distilled water.

Thank You,
Eric McCafferty

Two years ago, at the SNAG conference, Bill (from Reactive Metals )
showed me how to get a yellow color on titanium by using 12 Volt (and
just a small glass bowl of liquid). He said I could use an ordinary
car battery to do it. Has anybody tried this yet? Also, I want to
color a bigger piece (about 4"x2"). Will I get a consistant,even
(yellow) color? (Brian Adam seems to suggest it can vary ???). All
input is very welcome (I spent hours on sawing a very intricate
design on these panels and I don’t want to ruin them now!)

Greetings from (sunny !) Belgium,
Linda Savineau

PS: I just visited the titanium-clad Bilbao Guggenheim museum: amazing,
inspiring, exhilarating and more than worth a visit.

Hi Linda, A couple of things will dictate your anodizing. First is
surface finish. it must be even and totally clean. If the back does

not need to be anodized cover the whole area with waterproof tape.
Something like electrical tape. Make sure your connection (Titanium
wire) to the work is very good. Remember this connection can not be
any other type of metal in contact with the bath. You have a good

of surface area when you add in all the edges. So, if you are doing
one side place a cathode(titanium or stainless steel) of equal size
or better facing the work piece. If you use a small cathode off to
the side it may not color evenly. Be patient, it may take some time.
Check your horoscope for proper star alignment and good luck! Bill

Thank you, Bill, Deborah, Michele & Sarah
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc.

800/876-3434 - 928/634-3434 - F928/634-6734