Author Topic: Aluminium cutting, finishing, and anodising  (Read 1799 times)

Offline kolakidd

Aluminium cutting, finishing, and anodising
« on: October 02, 2021, 12:00:19 PM »
I was wondering if anyone new a place that could do aluminium laser or water jet cutting, finishing (as in de-burring, brushing or bead blasting), and anodising. Probably, the most important bit - by a place that is okay dealing with hobbyists who do one-off pieces, and don't go ape with pricing, and actually care about how they package and hand the stuff over to you - Seriously the last on kills me, the amount of times I have received stuff that has been badly scratched in handling post machining just kills me.

I have professional level skill in industrial design, and providing files and drawings for the process, so I don't need any information on that.

I normally just get water jet cutting done, and then do a hand clean-up and manual brush finish, and spray with a clear coat. The issue that I have though is that it's good, but never perfect.


Offline Skylar

Re: Aluminium cutting, finishing, and anodising
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2021, 07:08:42 PM »
You will probably not find a turn-key solution - as in, all of it done by one company - and to the standards that you expect. So best is to find a few good companies who are experts in their respective fields.

You don't mention where you are located, and I'm a relatively new member here - so wouldn't know automatically. However, if you're not close to JHB, but willing to courier the stuff, I can recommend an excellent anodizing company.

Designed Anodizing is run by owner Derick Espach. www.designedanodizing.co.za
DIY all the way

Online pwatts

Re: Aluminium cutting, finishing, and anodising
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2021, 08:54:06 AM »
With the experience I've had so far, just give up especially on the anodizing. Look at Europe or China.

Offline Schalk

Re: Aluminium cutting, finishing, and anodising
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2021, 02:20:27 PM »
With the experience I've had so far, just give up especially on the anodizing. Look at Europe or China.

True, that's why I have chosen the Ceracote route. Once a piece is ruined during anodizing, you might as well junk it. The surface layer actually modifies slightly due to the current and then it becomes a nightmare. Reworking never gets it to be virgin anymore. Ceracote not liked universally though.

Offline naboo

Re: Aluminium cutting, finishing, and anodising
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2021, 04:20:21 PM »
True, that's why I have chosen the Ceracote route. Once a piece is ruined during anodizing, you might as well junk it. The surface layer actually modifies slightly due to the current and then it becomes a nightmare. Reworking never gets it to be virgin anymore. Ceracote not liked universally though.
Any recommendations for the Ceracote, oom Schalk?

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Online Trompie67

Re: Aluminium cutting, finishing, and anodising
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2021, 04:31:53 PM »
Not sure who Oom Schalk uses, but I can highly recommend Piet from cerakote.co.za based in Centurion.

His work is excellent & the standard of finish is fantastic.
"Trumpets are a bit more adventurous; they're drunk! Trumpeters are generally drunk. It wets their whistle."
Paul McCartney

With thanks to F_D for this pearl of wisdom!

Offline Schalk

Re: Aluminium cutting, finishing, and anodising
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2021, 08:23:40 PM »
I had Piet do two front panels for me which came out fantastic, cost a fair price as Ceracote is not exactly cheap. He however said that this was not really his territory, as doing guns to the delight of peeps all over is his passion. He is well respected even in the States. So I started importing my own stock which is why I know that it is hellishly expensive and not all that easy to get the perfect result every time. It also gets me on the wrong side of my wife as her oven works more for me than for her.

I'll not be doing this as a service, too busy and also not a boffin like Piet. I also think that anodizing when done right, is more durable in the long run, although not always color fast. Black tends to go purple/blueish.

Offline naboo

Re: Aluminium cutting, finishing, and anodising
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2021, 08:36:13 PM »
Thank you Trompie, Schalk.

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Offline kolakidd

Re: Aluminium cutting, finishing, and anodising
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2021, 08:49:13 PM »
Iím kind of bummed that you just can get a local supplier for the full treatment. I really try and support local as much as possible, just wish local took my stuff a little more seriously. Anyway.

The Cerakote looks impressive, the pricing is high, but the kits look comprehensive with lots of application tutorials.

What are your thoughts on powder coating aluminium. I mean obviously not heatsinks, but enclosure panels.


Offline Skylar

Re: Aluminium cutting, finishing, and anodising
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2021, 09:22:13 PM »
I also think that anodizing when done right, is more durable in the long run, although not always color fast. Black tends to go purple/blueish.

Anodizing is very durable. It is an oxide layer, or coating if you will, that is "grown" on the surface of aluminium. When done properly, it is also retains its colour indefinitely. The heatsinks that www.designedanodizing.co.za did for me are just as black today as they were three years ago when it was done. I have no connections to them, btw. Just a happy client.

I wouldn't touch powder coating again. It may be fine for big stuff like a car chassis, motorbike frame or similar items. But the finish is too uneven for audio stuff in my opinion.
DIY all the way

Offline Schalk

Re: Aluminium cutting, finishing, and anodising
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2021, 09:37:45 PM »
Aluminum panels fine with powder coating. There shall always be some spot where they hang it from a hook but mostly not too bad. I usually had a little "tail" cut on a rear corner or unobtrusive spot which it could be hung from. Post powder coat I would just snip it off and cover up with a dab of stove enamel to conceal the cut.

Point taken about the anodizing process Skylar, as I said "done right". I have however been in this trade of mine for just on 30 years and still see some early numbers looking as good as day one, and again some 3 to 4 years old which have to be fixed up. 30 years is a long weary trek when you have to rework stuff which should by default be indefinitely "fine"

I Ceracote even the heatsinks these days as I am fed up. It is after all one of the very thinnest industrial coatings available. I know that all the amps now being built FOR the VA brand are again being anodized and they have my blessing should it come out perfectly every time. Those that are built by me however not. Not a case of once bitten, but many many times bitten. I doubt if anyone else have tried as many different anodizing companies as I have. Think of a name, I've been there.

Offline kolakidd

Re: Aluminium cutting, finishing, and anodising
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2021, 09:53:54 PM »
Not closing off the conversation, but just wanted to say thanks so much for the input - a generous sharing of experience and knowledge. This is exactly what I had hoped for when I posed the question.

Offline Skylar

Re: Aluminium cutting, finishing, and anodising
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2021, 11:31:45 PM »
I recently discovered this gem, barely 10km from me. Eezi Laser in Koedoespoort, Pretoria does sheet metal work, etc. They outsource aluminium machining, anodizing and powder coating which means they can offer a turn-key solution for audio enclosures.

www.eezi-laser.co.za   Speak to Louis Bernhardi.

I had a PSU enclosure made and this is the result. The finish is coarse powder coating, btw.




DIY all the way