The Advantage of Anodized Aluminum for CNC Machining, Extrusion
Aluminum anodizing is one of the most durable post-treatment methods. The process improves the look and working of CNC machines parts. It also promotes the bond between the primer and glue in die-casted and extruded aluminum parts. Today, anodized aluminum is one of the most popular materials in consumer, industrial, and commercial products. Here is further insight into the pros of anodized aluminum in CNC machining, die casting, and extrusion.
What Is Anodized Aluminum Process?
We anodize aluminum to produce parts with awesome durability. At Creatingway, we use an electrochemical process to produce anodic aluminum oxide. The process entails immersing the metal in a series of tanks. Eventually, the anode layer in one of the tanks ends up growing the metal itself.
Since the anodic layer forms from aluminum, the natural process ends up being quite controlled. This is unlike painting and coating. The anodic oxide coat is thus durable, hard, and does not peel off. Moreover, it does not easily wear out under normal conditions.
Though we can anodize other non-ferrous metals, aluminum is by far the most popular. Anodized aluminum is 60% lighter than other metals like copper and stainless steel. The treated metal is also three times harder than the raw material.
How Do We Anodized Aluminum Parts?
To correctly anodize aluminum parts for CNC machining, die casting, and extrusion, we first clean and rinse the surface. We then dip the aluminum part in an electrolyte containing chromic acid and sulfuric acid. This step promotes the formation of tiny pores on the aluminum surface. Many positive and negative ions also form on the conductive coating.
We proceed to apply an electric current through the medium and adding a cathode. This results in the release of oxygen ions from the acid that combines with aluminum. A barrier layer forms from the combination of the aluminum surface and anions. This layer makes the aluminum part resistant to corrosion.
The usual thickness lies between 0.1 to 1.0 millimeters. If need be, we can apply color at this stage. Regardless, we complete the process by applying a sealant to close the nanopores and any microcracks in the oxide layer. The coloring process entails injecting paint into the holes of the part.
We then seal it to retain the selected color after the pigment reaches the surface. This creates quite a durable color, doesn’t scrape off easily, and doesn’t fade. The color is often very dark, and grinding off the substrate is the only way to remove it.
Anodization for CNC Machining
Machined aluminum parts that have gone through anodization are popular in the consumer electronics industry. It offers excellent strength, durability and is also appealing. Anodizing makes it easier to add color to machined aluminum parts. This is since the anodized outer layer is highly porous. Dyes and colors find their way through the porous sections and are less likely to chip or flake. This is because they embed within the tough exterior of the metal part.
Extrusion of Anodized Aluminum
Extrusion entails forcing molten material through a gap in a die. This produces an elongated part with a continuous profile. Anodized aluminum extrusion is quite efficient in creating functional parts with complex cross-sections and quality surface finishes. It, however, has a limited scope since the cross-section must be consistent across the part.
Aluminum extrusion tends to involve ductile, malleable, and machinable grades of aluminum. We can then machine the extruded parts through CNC machining. Extruding anodized aluminum parts is a great way of creating parts with complex cross-sections.
Die Casting Anodized Aluminum
Die-casting involves forcing molten metal into a mold cavity under high pressure. We mainly use the process of making parts in large volumes. This is since the needed tool steel molds are costly to make. Other than aluminum, magnesium, steel, and zinc are other popular metals for die-casting. Anodized aluminum offers excellent surface finish and dimensional consistency upon die-casting.
These pros add to the pros of CNC machining anodized aluminum parts. By die-casting anodized aluminum and adding further cuts through CNC machining, we create parts with amazing surface finishes. We also get to create parts with more complex geometries.
What are The Benefits of Anodizing Aluminum Parts?
Polar oxidation causes the aluminum base material to change at the molecular level. The anodized part doesn’t peel or chip off easily and offers strong corrosion resistance. Anodized aluminum is 3X harder than normal aluminum.
High Cost, Low Value
Anodized aluminum is lighter than other metals, thus the cost of transportation is lower. It also offers a high-strength to weight ratio thus, its total cost per square foot is lower. Moreover, it has a longer service life than similar sprayed or electroplated parts.
Aluminum is the only metal that is 100% recyclable. Anodization is also an eco-friendly process, unlike electroplating and spraying. Anodizing doesn’t produce harmful waste or interfere with the recyclability of aluminum.
Water, soap, or a mild detergent is enough to remove dirt and restore dirty anodized parts to a clean state.
With our many years of experience in manufacturing precision parts, we consider anodizing a reliable finishing process. Creatingway offers anodized finishes to CNC machining, die-casted, and extruded aluminum parts. Contact us now if you have any inquiries.
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