Picture of Anodize Titanium!
Learn how to anodize titanium at home using only a few simple things that you probably have lying around.

I'll walk you through how I anodized my new titanium cyclocross bike.

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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
0. Titanium

1. Rubber gloves (to avoid/prevent electrocution)

2. Plastic bowl/bucket/container

3. Small piece of sponge (1 x 1 x 1 cm), or a small piece of cloth (e.g. small strip of towel)

4. Voltage source that can be adjusted from 20-120 V. I used a commercial lab bench supply, but most people don't have these lying around the home. A good solution is to buy twelve 9 V batteries and connect them together in series. This allows you to adjust your voltage in discrete 9 V increments, or you can add a couple smaller voltage batteries in series as well.

5. Alligator clips to connect to your workpiece

6. Comet cleaner (I used this because it is cheap, i.e. less than a dollar), baking soda, TSP (trisodium phosphate), ammonium-phosphate, or Borax. Basically, anything similar to these products. Coca Cola or Pepsi will also work.

We'll be using some simple chemistry and electricity to perform magic!

Step 2: Get things ready

Picture of Get things ready
Fill up your plastic container with a few ounces of water.
Pour in about a tablespoon of your cleaning powder.
Stir/shake it up a bit.

Put your rubber gloves on so you don't electrocute yourself.

bowmaster4 years ago
Sweet, I'm going to make my titanium spork blue!!

Did it work? Anything you'd recommend?

I spoke to some metalsmiths at my local makerspace and they told me I could get the bluing effect on titanium with a propane torch, so I think I'm going to go with that method.

EDIT: that is to say, I'm going to do this on my own titanium spork.

I recommend looking around Amazon or Lab surplus stores for old electrophoresis machines. They are lab grade adjustable power supplies, that are available for cheap. Check out Hoefer brand.

where can i buy the power supply? i see a lot of power supplies but most only goes upto 15v and the highest i've found only goes upto 90v. help please. thank you

goldscott (author)  MachineHead10111 year ago

Finding a nice adjustable DC power supply for these high voltages will be expensive. Check out Agilent, Tektronix, etc.

I'd suggest finding a local hackerspace, college lab, etc.

2 questions.

what voltage would I need to get a redish red?

also what type of balisong is that in the picture?
goldscott (author)  Sins of Avarice1 year ago
Look at the chart in step 3. Maybe 90-110V. You'll have to experiment.

I'm not sure about the knife. That is a picture I found online (to show the battery chaining).
xXcAsPaXx1 year ago
You do realize 9v batteries are designed to clip into each other?
nycresistor2 years ago
mastermakoko, you can use anything with phosphoric acid, which is most soda/cola. MiracleGro is primarily ammonium phosphate and works well too. There are several coffee maker descalers that make great electrolytes, TSP (trisodium phosphate), Cafiza, and a few others that have the phosphorus compound.
nycresistor2 years ago
Shazni, you need DC voltage because you need an anode (anodising) and a cathode. You also need a way to protect yourself from high amperage. The circuit will draw several amps at the higher voltages. This can be very hazardous and will fuse the coil on your VariAC or dimmer. There are many commercial DC bench power supplies available that have current limiters built in to keep you safer. It's still a dangerous project even with a good DC supply. Rubber gloves, rubber shoes, no distractions. Put your cell phone on mute.
shazni3 years ago
in my country we use what do i do
do i use ac power with a dimmer switch only or do i need a transformer to get DC power...then what would the Amperage be required? will 1.5 amp or 1 amp be enough? also maximum voltage?
for my Styrofoam cutter i used a 12v 1 amp transformer with a dimmer switch 12 v being the maximum.
please pretty please help as i have fallen in love with this new craft....i would like to try it's cheaper....but i see it's not possible as you have to use chemicals which would probably not exist here and also be very expensive....i now have to check hardware stores and ask if they sell titanium sheets :-) (hopefully they would know what I'm talking about!)
i'm looking forward to your reply.
goldscott (author)  shazni3 years ago
You need DC power. 1 Amp is enough.

You need 30-90 VDC or so.

Titanium is expensive and difficult to find.
Hi. Could you tell me if the voltage is the same to anodize aluminium?

I am going to make 200 leaf of aluminion for a proyect but i dont know how to obtein the same color for all of them.. the idea are 200 yellow, 100 read, 100 bue etc..

What to you sugest for that? thanks..

Steven from Colombia
goldscott (author)  Elcolombiano3 years ago
You cannot anodize aluminum with this method.
Thanks.. :(
squiggy23 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
that's really cool!
Would this work with aluminium as well, or is that a different process.
Also, is the point of the cleaner/borax/pepsi just an electrolyte, ie would salt water work, or are there chemical reactions going on?
Edit: Sorry, I just read the comments about aluminium. question about the electrolyte still stands though
goldscott (author)  squiggy23 years ago
This process will not work with aluminum.

The cleaner/borax/pepsi is just an electrolyte. Salt water should work as well.
so basically i can just use coca cola or pepsi as the anodizing compund?
goldscott (author)  mastermakoko4 years ago
aero0075 years ago
dont you have pics of that ?. btw funny i have a brush like that in the picture. about the alu anodizing, i believe using an acid instead of water would work? have you tried using dyes in the electrolyte solution rather than using those voltages ? it seems a high voltage to use ?
goldscott (author)  aero0075 years ago
I'm sorry I didn't take pictures of it. I know that aluminum anodizing requires dyes, but titanium anodizing does not. You need these high voltages to anodize titanium. I'm not too knowledgeable about the aluminum anodizing process, but it's dye based instead of voltage dependent.
aero0075 years ago
could you expand step 4 ? what is the point with the paint brush ?
goldscott (author)  aero0075 years ago
Basically you have a small piece of sponge (soaked in the electrolytic water solution) in the alligator clip (negative electrode), and you use it as a sort of "brush" to "paint" the solution onto the titanium. The titanium will change color when there is electricity passing through the solution.
arirang7775 years ago
Can we transfer this procedure to Aluminum instead of titanium? Great Instructable by the way
goldscott (author)  arirang7775 years ago
I doubt this method will work on Aluminum, otherwise more people would be doing it. Here's a good page to get you started on your own:
westfw5 years ago
Huh. Last time I attended an anodizing tutorial they were complaining about how hard it was to prep titanium; all sorts of nasty cleansers were involved - but it sounds like you got away with very little cleaning? Neat!

BTW, I think I like your "mottled" pink BETTER than a solid, even color on that size of piece.

Niobium (aka "columbium") can also be anodized like this. Anodized Aluminum colors are produced with dyes rather than optically-active oxide layers, so even if you CAN anodize aluminum with a similar setup, you won't get colors.

A very good reference/supplier is Reactive Metal Studios, although they specialize in jewelry-sized things. Download their catalog; it's good reading!

CameronSS5 years ago
According to Theodore Gray, Diet Pepsi, or any other cola, also works. You just need something with phosphoric acid.
goldscott (author)  CameronSS5 years ago
Oh yes, forgot about cola. I'll update the instructible. Thanks!
Nerdz5 years ago
Will this technique work with any metal other than Ti? It would be cool to be able to do the same to Aluminum.
goldscott (author)  Nerdz5 years ago
It won't work with aluminum, but it may work with other elements in the same column on the periodic table as Ti. But I really don't know; I know very little chemistry. Doesn't hurt to experiment, though.