process for anodizing aluminum with limited equipment? Answered
Recently I have learned the basics of anodizing aluminum, and from what I understand the basic process is to clean of the aluminum bit to be anodized, stick it in a bath of a dilute solution of sulfuric acid, and do some electrolysis with the anodizing bit connected to the anode or positive of a supply, then pulling it out some time later and cleaning it off with soapy water and rinsing, and coloring the metal in a thin runny die, then wiping off excess and boiling the part.
So first of all, do I need sulfuric acid? Any substitutes? Will HCL work, or a weak acid like vinegar or even salty water? If the purpose of the sulfuric acid is to allow free ions to flow in the water, I do not see why it would not work. However, I am not a chemist, and my experimentation with electrolysis is limited to 6th grade science and dropping 9V batteries in salty water. (My favorite experiment was at home when using copper and coins as the electrodes and watching blue-green corrosion develop and sink until the copper wire was made brittle and thin. Caused some AA rechargeable batteries to explode in the process though lol!)
Also, will any die work? For really small parts, will it be possible to evenly die them with sharpie, standard paper markers, and/or highlighters? What dies will work well? Should the dies be water based, or based on some other thinner?