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Oxidizing aluminum

Aluminum is the only metal that can be dyed. That means that the grain structure of the metal will absorb a dye to a depth of about three thousands of an inch. This ability is what makes anodizing, clear, black, blue, etc so effective. When you want to polish to bare metal, get ready to remove some metal.

You can purchase cold anodizing pens and dyes fairly cheaply but they are not very effective. To get a good black finish like a piece of stereo equipment you need to go through the anodizing process. That involves dipping the metal in sulfuric acid to open up the pores and remove the oxide. Then the metal is dipped in the dye solution with a current running through it. The electric current is what caused the metal to absorb the dye.

This is not something that could be done at home to say the least. Check your area, their should be plenty of metal platers, companies that rechrome bumpers, replete silver pieces and anodize aluminum. The only problem you may have is the fact that this stuff is so environmentally nasty that California may have chased them out of your area. My plater had to move south to the boonies to stay in business.

Your a machinist so you know that aluminum will oxidize once you remove the protective finish. I have bead blasted aluminum, real sexy matte finish, but the material is so active that a thumb print instantly oxidizes it to a nasty gray color. I just spray it with lacquer to seal it, works great.

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