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Hard color anodizing and artistic vision
lay on the centuries ...
My family of V-Twin designs feature
alot of billet aluminum machined parts. They offer strength, light
weight, and a visual anchor to the designs.
Now I've laid on an entire new dimension
The process of hard color anodizing
creates a "hard as nails" skin on aluminum. It converts
the outer layer of metal into aluminum oxide. You may recognize
"aluminum oxide" as the grit glued to your sandpaper!
That's tough stuff. That's also a granular product - this is the
conversion of the boundary layer of aluminum into a smooth skin
of aluminum oxide. Not resting on top - the outer layer is actually
"transformed" into the material.
Aluminum oxide itself is clear, however,
it can by dyed - during a very brief window of opportunity before
the pores of the oxide barrier close forever. If done correctly,
the dye pigment is forever locked under the hard oxide layer -
much like the ink of a tattoo is locked under the outer skin layers.
Hard color anodizing is permanent and
tough as nails. The technical process involves nasty acids, electricity,
exact timing, exacting preparation, fanatical cleanliness, specific
chemicals, specific dyes, and a rigid adherence to the math involved.
Yes - I've ruined a number of parts I'd spent days machining and
polishing - that's a serious downer - but the price of the education.
The art side of the equation is in
the vision, timing, color choices, technique, and consistency.
I've chosen to do the billet parts
of this rifle in a pattern which resembles color case hardening
on iron. In a very real way, the two techniques are brother techniques:
Color case hardening on iron creates a very thin skin of
higher carbon content iron (steel) which is very hard and durable.
The process creates the patterns from the carbon leaching into
the material as it flows across the surface or the iron under
high heat. Color hard anodizing on aluminum creates a hard
skin as the surface is converted to aluminum oxide. It may be
dyed during the formation process.
The finished surface is smooth to the
touch - it feels like polished marble.
I've been 15 years developing this
process and understanding it to the point where I can offer it
on more of my work. I'm sold on it. It's the correct look for
many of my projects and extremely hard wearing.
Of course, I guess you recognized that
you have to have the object first. That all starts as a "brick"
(or billet) of aircraft aluminum. It's sawed, milled, filed, drilled,
sanded, buffed, and THEN it can be anodized.
I can simulate the look of age - but
I can't beat the requirements of time the work requires.
Hope you enjoy the pics. Come see and
handle the product at Standing Stone.