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Re-anodizing a macbook pro? Answered

I am getting an old macbook pro in the mail soon and am going to have to pretty much tear it down completely to repair it. I have seen a few guides on anodizing aluminum, and was wondering if maybe, possibly I would be able to anodize my macbook to a different color! Would this require de-anodizing the aluminum? (the model is a late 08 macbook, so I dont know if that is a powder coated one).  It would be awesome If I could color it a nice matte black (my preferred color)

Has anyone attempted doing something like this before? I have some scrap brushed aluminum to practice on.. would that work? I know this could be easily accomplished with a black case... but I kind of want to go a bit further than that... 



Best Answer 7 years ago

Anodising companies strip back very easily in a mixture of acids which I don't recommend you mess with, one of the best is chromic acid, which doesn't attack the aluminium. Phosphoric works OK too, but isn't as fast as chromic.

If you want a re-anodised machine take it to a specialist in colour anodising, an amateur effort is almost certain to end up patchy and yuck, unless you invest a lot of time and practice in. The actual process is easy.


Etch in caustic soda for a few seconds.


Desmut (some alloys give yucky black snots on the etched surface - its usually HCL I think.

Attach titanium wire to aluminium and immerse in COLD sulphuric acid - and
KEEP it cold, as you make the aluminium the positive terminal WRT a lead electrode in the acid.

Run a few amps through the circuit for 30 mins.



DO NOT TOUCH THE SURFACE. Dry, very, very gently

Immerse in dye. Remove periodically to watch if/ how the dye is penetrating the anodic film.


Now, either boil in "sealer" - usually hot nickel acetate, or, in nice softwater areas, steam for 10 minutes.

Job done.


Answer 6 years ago

I'm thinking about this again. Originally I decided not to go through with it just in case something went wrong... But the computer is giving some signs it is old (It needs a new application of thermal paste, headphone jack goes out randomly and requires restarts.. The entire back plate is finally just giving out, I had to JB weld the hinge screws in to keep the display up, half of the very rear panel screws are stripped). I'm not afraid to take it apart anymore!

I think I want to give it a shot. I mean, I'd buy new panels and a new chassis, I need those anyway. Its mainly the application of dye I would be worried about (getting the right colour and be consistent across 4 different panels.. yeesh). It would mean a lot of work, and keeping an eye the entire time on current and temp. But it would be totally worth it and make a killer instructable. I'm thinking have the bottom panel and back just a nice matte black, and the chassis the closest I can get to electric blue or a bright green. If I do enough tests I might be able to pull off multi colour anodizing- put some stripes on it or something!

Maybe I should go talk to someone who anodizes a lot. I have concerns about the type of aluminum its made of, from what I read most people think its just standard 6061 aluminum but not many people give this a try..

It would be a significant investment (for me at least), as I would go all out and upgrade the entire system.. Blu Ray drive, SSD, new panels and chassis, and glass, plus time. It'd be near $1000 if I got all the fancy drives and such. Plus the cost of professional deox/desmut and caustic soda (lye solution?), as well as professional sealant and dye, it would be around $350 for the entire project. Maybe it would actually be cheaper to have a pro do it.


Answer 6 years ago

Don't get me wrong, you should play with anodising -you don't need to spend 350 bucks to play with it....but for a great look, you'd need a butt load of practice first.


7 years ago

I really, really, really, would NOT do that if I were you. If you want to change the unibody appearance, then purchase (or make) yourself a skin. They come in thousands of styles, patterns/designs and colors. Plus you can switch it out with another if you get bored with it. Then there's no mess, no damage, no worries. ;)

If you are partial to black, then take a look at this option at Amazon.com in a Carbon Fiber design. There are many other options online, as well as in all the major retailers. There is also enough competition now that you can get something you want for probably less money than anodizing the MBP.


7 years ago

De-anodizing should be quite simple, you sand the aluminium (don't really know if this would actually work). As for anodizing aluminium it's a fairly complicated task that requires acid baths, special dye and even soaking it in boiling distilled water... If you anyways want to try, you can look at this page http://www.bryanpryor.com/anodizing.php