Hi All, I’m in need of some help! I’ve just started using niobium and am loving the colours I can create. However some of my pieces turn out all blotchy and uneven. And when I try making a matching set ( pendant and earrings) by the time I get to the third piece the colour is different. Any ideas what is causing these problems.
Reactive metals have an etching compound that will clean the surface of your niobium. That should get rid of the splotches so long as you do not touch the surface with your bare hands. As for the difference, try gang anodizing. Where you clip the leads together in a line, and then dip them all at once into the solution. That way they all are being anodized at the same time for the same amount of time. I’m sure Noel will have further instructions. I got her DVD, and then watched everything Reactive metals had on their website. But be warned that I had experience with anodizing before. It was due to a reactor being given to the local makers space that got me working with it again, so i could show the rest of the people how to do it. It’s fun and easy to do. BUT read and watch the clips before you try blindly to do it. It will answer most of your questions.
I’ve been working almost exclusively with niobium and titanium for a few years. Blotches and uneven color happen when your metal isn’t completely clean. You shouldn’t need to use the etching solution on niobium just to clean it. It’s necessary on titanium if you want bright colors. Clean the metal with glass cleaner. I also use rubbing alcohol. When I want to get rid of color, whether because of a mistake or as part of my design, I use red 3M radial discs on the flexshaft. As for consistency, when using an anodizing bath you need to make sure your voltage is exactly the same if you want to duplicate the color.